There isn’t one right answer. There isn’t one right way. There are effective choices and ineffective choices.
Outside of the iron laws of sales (which you violate at your peril), there are all kinds of ideas that may help you move some opportunities forward sometimes. Being more promiscuous and coming in contact with new ideas can help you improve your sales by providing you with the right idea for the right circumstances.
Not Right Answer. Right Answers.
I write a lot about cold calling. Each and every time I do, I receive comments and email from salespeople who want to explain to me the reasons cold calling is a bad idea. I receive even more comments from marketers who schlep the idea that cold calling is no longer necessary or that you should make warm calls (which we in sales simply call research).
Even though I would never suggest that cold calling must be done to the exclusion of all other prospecting methods (in fact, I have always said quite the opposite), they infer that I believe cold calling is the right answer. Sometimes cold calling is the right answer. Sometimes asking for a referral or an introduction is the right answer. Sometimes LinkedIn is the right answer.
There is more than one right answer, and the determination as to the correctness of the answer is whether or not it is effective. This is true whether or not you like the answer, and it is true even if you don’t like what it requires of you.
This is a simple example, but there are dozens and dozens more.
I believe that you should identify all of the decision-makers, decision-influencers, and stakeholders in your dream client organization, work to understand their needs, and build a coalition to move your opportunity and your solution forward. I don’t believe there is a single decision-maker. Sometimes this is wrong. Sometimes there is a single decision-maker who can impose her will, and the coalition isn’t necessary to move your opportunity or your solution forward (even though I don’t like this, there may be cases when it is the right approach).
Because there are countless variations of sales situations in which you might find yourself, you need the right ideas so you can make effective choices.
Do You Come Here Often?
The Internet is chock full of ideas. You can find ideas that support your worldview, and you can find ideas that reject your worldview and that make you uncomfortable. Coming in contact with both—and all the ideas in between—can improve the way you think about sales and improve the range of choices that are available to you.
When you read a book, a blog post, or an article that supports your view of sales and your preferences, it reinforces what you believe and it may help build your competency around that idea. But you shouldn’t allow a single idea, a single strategy, a single tool, a single technique, or a single tactic prevent you from exploring other possibilities.
When you encounter something that confirms your view or opinion, ask yourself: “When is this not true,” or “When might this not be the most effective choice?”
There is no benefit to being monogamous when it comes to ideas.
When you disagree vehemently with some idea, instead of railing against the idea to entrench yourself deeper in what is comfortable, ask yourself when the idea might be useful. Ask yourself when what the idea recommends may be the most effective choice available to you in moving your sales opportunity forward.
Be promiscuous about coming in contact with lots of ideas.
Not Everything Is an Iron Law
There are some laws that cannot easily be broken. But not everything is an iron law, despite the fact that we write and speak about them as if they are. Getting trapped into believing that some ideas are iron laws when they aren’t will limit the range of choices available to you.
Be skeptical of anything you encounter that suggests that there is only one right answer, only one right way, or that dismisses all other ideas as worthless or wrong—even if you read them here (especially if you read them here!).
If something is sold as an iron law that isn’t, someone is likely building a business framework. You can buy the books, buy the tapes, buy the training, buy the coaching, and buy the consulting, just know that you should use what works for you when it works for you, and you should be promiscuous in exploring other potential ideas.
Are there some ideas that cause you take the same course of action over and over again, even when it doesn’t serve you?
Are you open to new ideas? Even ideas that you disagree with at first glance?
What was the last new idea that you adopted–or even tried–in order to improve your performance in sales?
When was the last time you honestly questioned your long-held beliefs?
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