The Tao of Sales
An Easier Way to Sell in Tough Times
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The Tao of Sales: Finding Without Looking - 1


Start Breathing:

Before each sales call, slow down inside, breathe deeply and release whatever tension and anxiety you may be feeling about whatís happened in the past or what you worry may happen in the future. Otherwise youíll take that tension on the call with you - and give it to the customer.

Itís easy to do in your car (Make sure youíve parked and turned off the engine, however. Bad idea at a stoplight or driving in traffic!) So long as you donít engage in audible chants or mantras, you can do it in a bus, train, lobby, or even a waiting room.

Some salespeople find a relaxation script helpful; others just start breathing slowly, from deep in the stomach area (diaphragm), not shallow breathing from the chest, then empty their minds, and gradually release any physical tension, starting with the forehead and working down to the toes, Iíll usually visualize some place that Iíve been to that relaxed me utterly, and walk around there in my imagination, seeing a ďvideoĒ on the inside of my forehead.

Maximum benefit: visualize how you want the next call to go and then let that set of images guide you to a successful sales call. Do this every day, and ideally, before every call.

Open Your Mind:

Trying to control the sale and "make the sale happen" robs us of the ability to respond strongly and creatively to what's happening in the moment with the customer. Besides, customers don't want to be controlled - and, subconsciously, customers sense the attempt to control them - and then push back. Change your inner agenda from "What can I get from this customer?" or "What can I do for this customer?" to "How can we collaborate to create real, sustainable value for both of us? Make that the agenda you share with your customer.

Listen to the internal voices that may tell you "I can't do this." "I have to make the sale." "This is what I've always been taught." "But my boss insists that we aggressively sell to customers and get orders." Those "voices" are really the expectations that other people have for you. Decide what you believe is right for you, and do it. (Plus you'll get more orders, and make more sales in less time this way.)

Open Your Ears:

The way most of us were taught to sell was to listen for what we want to hear - customer needs, buying signals, or the customer's internal "pain." That's not listening. That's just recording verbal cues in order to pounce on what we imagine might be the opportunity to get our agenda accomplished. It turns selling into a game of "blind men's bluff," groping around blindfolded in a lightless room, searching for a black pig - that doesn't exist. Why doesn't it work? Two reasons: Unless we use questions to explore what the customer means by what he or she says, we won't really understand the actual opportunity; and usually, without that combination of patient questioning and listening, neither will the customer.

Because selling is so stressful, we also listen often for what we fear - rejection, disapproval, lack of trust, hidden agendas (that exclude us), loss of control. In order to step away from those self-imposed limitations, we have to hear them first, and recognize them for what they are, the sound of our own fear in our mind.

Open Your Eyes:

If all you see when you look at the world is what's "bad," "ugly," "disappointing," "wrong," or "hopeless," before long, those things become the landscape of your inner world. Pretty soon you'll feel the need to confirm your belief that the world is a harsh, pressured, hopeless place, so the only things you'll notice are the distressful things you're looking for. And that view of the world can put you right at the center of a "death spiral" of failure, guilt and blame. Who needs that?

The great salespeople are optimists who live in the same world we all live in, but see it differently. They continuously look for, and expect to find, the goodness and possibilities in others - because they trust that same goodness and limitless possibility also exists in them. If you want to find more goodness and potential in yourself, start by looking for it in others. Practice the daily discipline of congratulating or affirming people when they've done something they think is good. (You could start with the people who care about you.) As you go through each day, look for people who are happy, who openly share love or consideration for others, who have a smile and joy response right near the surface. The more you change your outside landscape for the better, the faster your inside landscape will change to. It's like what the old fisherman, who'd weathered more than his share of storms on sea and land said: "If you don't walk out of the house with a smile on your face, you aren't dressed for the day."