There are a couple Zen principles that apply to sales (or anything else, for that matter). One is Shoshin, or beginner’s mind. I love this concept. What it means is that we need to approach every endeavor with the open mind of a beginner. But, as we gain competence in anything, we tend to believe that we know it (all), and in doing so, we cut ourselves off from other possibilities.
Bruce Lee (yes, that Bruce Lee), used to tell the story of the university professor who went to see the Zen Master to learn Zen. When he arrived the Zen master offered him a cup of tea, which the professor accepted. As they spoke, the Zen master continued to pour the tea until the cup was overflowing. The professor said: “Sorry, but the cup is overflowing.” To which the Zen master replied. “Exactly. To fit anymore in you must first empty your cup.”
What does this have to do with sales? Everything. And it is why I am increasingly sales process agnostic.
I know the sales process was bought and paid for, and I know some really smart guys worked it all out. I am sure it is good, too. But why adhere so closely to something that you cut yourself off from other possibilities? When things are working, fine, follow the plan. But when things aren’t working, why not leave a little room in the cup for new ideas, new methods, new strategies, and new tactics?
Are you like the university professor, cup overflowing leaving no room for anything new? Or, like the beginner, are you willing to look at everything with an open mind, with a willingness to believe there is more to learn.
Turn the cup over, pour some out.
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Filed under: Sales 3.0