Posts Tagged relationship problems
Top performers do three essential things to be at their peak.
1. Clarify your outcomes for the meeting in hand and how you want the relationship with the person to develop, meeting by meeting, one step at a time. Moderate performers focus less on the latter dimension.
2. Be mindful of the frame of the mind you want to be in and that any meeting (is hopefully a meeting of minds) is ultimately about helping everyone present to frame a congruent viewpoint of what needs to be done.
3. Prepare your strategy, primarily so that you allow yourself to get in the frame of mind you want to be.
Research I’ve come across and my own experience shows that the most important thing you take into a meeting is your frame of mind followed by being clear about the outcomes you seek. Having a strategy is important but, once the meeting has started, it’s factors ‘2’ and ‘1’ above (and in that order) that will determine most how you ‘handle any curve balls thrown your way’.
Paul C Burr
Most sales training I’ve come across focuses primarily on developing a salesperson’s skills or competencies, for example: opening, qualifying, questioning, advocating, presenting, negotiating and closing. The intention is that, over time with experience, the salesperson will get better and better at demonstrating these skills. It follows logically that they’ll become more confident in their sales approach and thus hopefully more motivated.
I haven’t seen much in the way of material that focuses on engendering an ongoing sense of curiosity, for example, how can I be the best, if not better, at what I sell?
The E=MC3 equation implies that an individual’s effectiveness is three parts mental and emotional (motivation, competence and curiosity) to one part intellectual (competence).
Let’s take a first pass at each of the qualities: motivation, confidence, competence and curiosity.
Most salespeople are motivated to win, especially when the selling is relatively easy. Likewise, most are motivated by earnings and win bonuses. Some are motivated by advancing their career.
What motivates top salespeople? The answers from my research fall into three categories:
1. “To be the best I can be” or “…recognised as the best salesperson there is” – not only the best in terms of results but the best at selling too (outcomes + journey).
2. “To deliver customer value above and beyond that expected.”
3. “To create a legacy so that I am renowned for the value I bring to customers and my organisation’s business.”
In all three categories, the top performers are motivated by being (and being seen as) excellent. ‘Moderates’ talk of winning and earnings but talk less of personal excellence.
I worked with a 26 year old CEO of a recruitment firm who had a good reputation for hiring confident as opposed to arrogant people. I was asked to model how he went about the task. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: “How do you differentiate between a confident person and an arrogant one?”
CEO: “Well, I’m not sure; I just get a ‘feeling’.”
Me: “Describe that ‘feeling’.”
CEO: “Well you just sort of know, don’t you? It’s something you sense….. a gut feeling.”
Me: “Okay, imagine you have an arrogant person to your left and a confident to your right. What’s the difference between them?”
CEO: “The confident person asks questions; the arrogant person doesn’t. The confident person probes for where they feel they’ll bring value to the organisation. They look to find out if they will enjoy the role. They seek opportunities for themselves to grow in the role. The arrogant person takes a position that they have the knowledge and wisdom suitable for the job and makes no effort to see how well they’ll fit in.”
Top salespeople exude confidence by the quality of questions they ask as well as the articulacy by which they convey reassurance. (For a framework with which to construct quality sales questions, refer to the INCREASETM model in Number 1 of this series of business guides, Quick Guide – How Top Salespeople Sell.)
If you stacked all the sales training and development materials in the world on top of one another, you’d probably build a mountain higher than Mount Everest. So I’ll attempt to put a different slant on competence by giving you a customer’s perspective. (For completeness, Appendix 1 lists the skills and knowledge demonstrated by top salespeople at, and away from, the customer interface.)
A corporate salesperson spends, on average, 15% of their time speaking directly to a customer. Ergo, 85% of the time, they apply their skills and knowledge to researching, developing and planning; how to be more effective during the ‘15%’ customer interface window when the occasion arises.
Top performers prepare themselves, intellectually and psychologically, to be at their peak when speaking to the customer. They develop appropriate skills and knowledge (the intellectual exchange) and they also prepare themselves to be in the right frame of mind and body (the mental and emotional exchange) with the customer.
Being perceived as ‘competent’ by the customer requires you to be:
1. Prepared: with insightful questions to ask and have answers to potential customer questions, including facts, data and logic so that your proposals are visionary, ‘grounded in reality’ and hopefully compelling
2. Clear about the outcomes: What do you want to achieve in the meeting both in terms of the task-in-hand and your relationship with the customer (e.g. engender trust). It’s also being very clear about the outcomes the customer might want to achieve, in terms of their task-in-hand and from their relationship with a supplier like you.
Illustration: 4 Outcomes to a Meeting
Most of us prepare ‘box 1’ before a meeting. Many ‘moderates’ omit boxes 2 and 3 above from their preparatory work. Most salespeople miss out box 4 altogether – often because of a lack of self-belief and sometimes unconsciously. They don’t visualise themselves in a picture working closely with the customer.
3. In the right frame of mind: If you were to prioritise the three factors: Prepared, Clear Outcomes and Frame of Mind – which order would you place them?
Exercise: Allocate three weighting percentages (that add up to 100%) against Prepared, Clear Outcomes and Frame of Mind respectively – in terms of how important they are to being successful during (not before) a meeting.
The most important thing you take into a meeting is your frame of mind.
This statement often raises a few queries. It doesn’t say that you shouldn’t prepare diligently for a meeting. What it says instead is – the moment the meeting starts, the single most important factor that will determine your success is your frame of mind. You may well feel you have to do a significant amount of preparation to get yourself ‘centred’, for example. BUT it’s not the process the meeting follows that determines success the most; it’s you, your frame of mind and the thoughts that engender that frame of mind.
Specifically, whatever thought you process in your conscious mind passes straight into your unconscious mind and merges with any ‘subconscious programmes’ running there. The aggregate information is then passed directly to your DNA which vibrates at different rates in accord with your temperament. That is:
The vibe you put out determines your success.
I coached a very successful salesperson who never felt at her best in front of a CEO customer. It took a wee while for us to discover a subconscious programme she’d developed from her authoritarian parents, created by a ‘single significant emotional event’ when she was three years old. Once she ‘released’ this programme, her faith-in-self in front of CEO’s increased significantly. Her sales soared.
Research by scientists (e.g. The Biology of Belief, by Dr Bruce Lipton and The Genie in your Genes, by Dr Matthew Dawson) demonstrates the subliminal communicative functioning power of DNA between human beings which can be harmonious (I prefer the term, ‘resonant’) or out of tune (dissonant) – and at its extreme, disruptive.
Allow me to define ‘being competent’ as not only having the capability to demonstrate requisite skills and knowledge at the customer interface, it’s also about being competent at preparing yourself to be at your peak, to achieve the gravitas (sometimes called ‘traction’) you seek.
Author’s note: gravitas is something we can all achieve; it’s a result not a gift privy to a chosen few. Only 15% or so of salespeople achieve the ‘customer gravitas’ they seek, hence this book!
Let me add, the competence that customers attribute to you will also include an element of the perceived competence of the solutions you bring to the table, i.e. an acknowledgement of the potential of your solution’s value proposition. Put another way, if the customer has little faith in what you’re selling, even though they value your personal contribution, to what degree will you be invited to participate in the decision making process?
We’ve covered two of the three ‘Cs’ in the E=MC3 equation. A salesperson not only has to be competent in following ‘top sales processes’ (and have potentially ‘competent’ solutions); they need to be confident in their ability and motivated to follow those sales processes too. And still there’s one further factor that determines how effective you are (by seeing what’s really going on), a heightened sense of…
Top salespeople are unstintingly curious. For example, they love to be coached. They are very willing to learn how to become more effective at selling.
Top performers focus on working smarter, not harder, than ‘moderates’
You might ask, “Curious about what?” Answer: “Everything!”
Top salespeople probe below the surface of what’s going on – especially when forging business relationships. Like a metaphorical iceberg, they acknowledge that you only see about 15% above the surface; the obvious facts and logic by which a customer makes a decision. But they don’t stop there, they’re proactive to find the real passions and fears which will motivate or deter key stakeholders in the decision making process.
Curiosity is the sonar signal you emit to track changes on your ‘sales radar screen’. You track political, economic, sociological, technological and organisational developments as well as your competitors’ manoeuvres. At the deepest level, you’re tuning into changes in customers’ feelings, e.g. inspiration, motivation, confidence, sense of security, anger and most of all – trust and fear.
There’s more. You also need to be proactively curious about what might happen. I return to this later.
To summarise: selling is three parts mental/emotional to one part intellectual.
E=MC3, it’s not rocket science!
Paul C Burr
Image sourced from Moments Count
Paul C Burr
Rather than seeing success as a specific outcome, change your focus to seeing it as a network of ’10 out of 10′ relationships. When everyone who can stop you achieving success is onside – there is no one and nothing to stop you.
Image sourced from Think Holistic, Act Personal
You cannot achieve success without forging equally successful relationships – starting with the relationship you have with yourself.
Think of a business or personal situation that’s important to you right now.
Who are all the people (include yourself) who can stop you from being successful (i.e. they have the power of veto)?
Give your relationship with each person a score out of 10, where 10 means ‘the relationship with this person is exactly where we both want it to be’.
To get the relationship to a 10, what does each person on the list want from you?
Are you willing to give it? (And what might you want in return?)
If so when?
Kids take in everything. Only recently have I discovered the extent to which parents influence their children’s whole lives, way beyond the age they leave home. Kids accept and live the Law of Attraction with full accountability and responsibility.
A child seeks love, security, warmth and touch. When a child receives not love, not security, not warmth or not touch, that child accepts full responsibility for not receiving what they want. Furthermore, it blames itself for having neither the physical nor the intellectual strength to deal with untoward behaviour in a mature adult fashion. It doesn’t know how to channel the negative emotions (shame, anger, sadness or fear) that arise within. How could it?
The child feels helpless about how to cope and so locks away the negative emotions in a shield or ‘bubble-wrap’ of etheric energy. The child develops compensatory behaviours (e.g. remaining silent, denying/blocking negative thoughts about others, blaming self) that shield its conscious mind from the negative emotions hidden within its shadows.
This is not a mature decision and it’s not exclusive to children. How well do we adults react in such situations? Ask yourself, “How often do I…
- …hide my hurt or sadness to avoid confrontation?”
- …resort to anger to get what I want?”
- …manipulate someone emotionally to get what I want?”
- …use brute force to get my way?”
- …harbour ill feeling?”
None of the five strategies are mature acts, I suggest. Let us look at Strategy 1 because that is how many people I know deal with confrontation to begin with. Many adults, including me, when faced with controversy, let things be and say nothing. We either do not have, or choose not to employ, an effective strategy to deal with unwanted or inappropriate behaviour. Instead, we remain silent. We hope the issue will die down, go away and all will be forgotten in time. Let us not confuse weak with meek.
- When weak, you put yourself second, you subsume yourself to someone else with disregard for your own feelings. You place their feelings above your own and you hide behind a veil but the negativity lingers. You feel shame from not speaking or being your truth. You feel shame because you choose not the courage to be meek.
- Meek, I suggest, is putting your honour on an equal status with those around you. You do not need to use brute force to get your point of view across. You do not resort to conflict, anger or threatening behaviour. You do not manipulate or seek to instil anger, sadness, fear or shame in others either. Instead you seek to put your point across constructively, positively and truthfully – so that others understand the impression they make on you. Your seek parity, not to win outright. You speak or act according to your truth. You choose courage to be meek.
Picture courtesy of Doves and Serpents.
If we act ‘not-meekly’, i.e. weakly, how can we expect children, to whom we set an example, to choose courage? Furthermore, kids not only take in every conscious thing that’s going on around them, they take in all the untold, unsaid things as well. They absorb, at a subliminal level, all the endemic family moods, trouble and strife. They register the negative vibrations from their environment and store the information in their Etheric Body (a blog about the Etheric Body will follow). They/we develop compensatory behaviours; one or more of the five strategies cited earlier to cope.
Kids blame themselves for all the feelings of insecurity they endure. They make themselves fully accountable and responsible for the untoward behaviour of their parents, for instance. They convince themselves that they caused it and therefore they blame themselves accordingly. (The very morning of writing this paragraph, a lady who had suffered child abuse appeared on the BBC1 TV morning show. She described the complexity and paradox of how a child can still love a parent who abuses them.)
In her wonderful and insightful book, Your Secret Self, Tracy Marks explains the subtle logic of this childhood dynamic. If the child were to blame their parents for untoward behaviour and place themselves as completely innocent (which they are) without the intellectual or physical ability (which they do not have) to change their environment; they, in effect, relinquish all power (to change things) and hope for their lives.
On the other hand, if they consider their untoward parents or carers to be normal loving people and blame themselves for everything that happens – then at least they give themselves hope. They give themselves the ability to ‘rectify’ themselves in the hope that their parents will show the love and security they seek.
Faced with a no -win situation, the child blames themself, wraps away the negative emotions in their subconscious mind and develops compensatory behaviours. They hide their feelings away. In denial, they pretend that all is okay with their parents. But they can withdraw from wanting or expecting love. Their self worth plummets.
A damaging behavioural subroutine sets in. It can stay with the unloved, insecure child into their adult lives. In their adolescent years they may well seek escape. Their susceptibility to drug addiction and, in extreme cases, self harming increases.
Paul C Burr
 Ref: Your Secret Self, by Tracy Marks, Part Three, The Psychodynamics of Twelfth House Conflicts and Part Four, The Process of Integration: Twelfth House Liberation.
…does not mean ‘do without or prohibit’.
It means balance.
Temperance: Major Arcana card no 14, from the Ancient Tarot Deck of Marseilles by Jean Dodal, 1718.
Remove balance in life and you limit your perspective. The workaholic might not give themselves the time to enjoy a healthy personal life. The addict can’t see outside the control of their habit. The drunkard inebriates themselves from sobriety. In all three cases, the protagonist lives their life in denial.
Should you avoid temperance, not only do you limit your learning, you can do yourself harm – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. As such, you harm the environment you live in and those nearest and dearest to you. Lack of temperance, by definition, means an excess of, or gluttony for, one thing over another. Be it work, alcohol, drugs, mindless TV or computer games – the excess means that you deny yourself health, which has consequences.
Have you ever watched downhill tobogganing on TV? The more often a sleigh hits the wall, the more it slows down through friction. And when it bounces off sideways the team are using their energy laterally to get back on track. Whilst it’s traversing it has to travel farther than a direct descent down the middle of the run. The middle way is the fastest and smoothest.
Study the Temperance card, from the 18th Century, Ancient Tarot Deck of Marseilles, by Jean Dodal. You observe a grounded female angel clad evenly in red (fire, hot, male) and blue (water, cool, female). Her arms are dressed in red, to signify strength and power of Mars. Her blue covered torso signifies the love and beauty of Venus. Water from the higher cup flows into and cleanses that of the lower. Not a drop is spilt or wasted; the flow is steady and harmonious. Her wings reveal she is an angel who may advise, guide and protect us. Her work embraces the harmony of opposites.
The Angel of Temperance teaches us that life’s direction leads eventually to the middle path. We do not need to swing extremely and continually between feast and famine, peace and war, love and hate, mercy and severity, prosperity and poverty, abundance and scarcity, riches and debt, victory and defeat, mine and yours, property and theft. When we embrace both aspects of duality as one, we create oneness. Something is only good for one, when it is good for all. There is no us and them, there is no me without not me. There is only us, together we become oneness.
When we bring temperance into our lives, we exemplify oneness.
(extract from my forthcoming book, from Defrag your Soul, due out next week.)
Paul C Burr