If You Know . . .
If you believe something to be true but don’t act on it, it is the same as not believing it.
The ability to improve your performance depends on two things. First, you have to be able to recognize the gaps in your performance and the truth that underlies improvement; you have to know what you must change. Second, you have to act on that truth.
Here is an example. If you know that your presentations aren’t resolving your client’s dissatisfaction in a way that matches their vision and, as you work to understand how you can improve your sales results you discover that you aren’t doing a killer needs analysis, you will have recognized the gap and discovered the truth that will allow you to improve. The truth is that you are not diagnosing before you prescribe, and so you are violating one of the iron laws of successful selling.
If you believe that it is right to diagnose before you prescribe, then you must complete a good and solid discovery call before you start presenting your solution. Improving means that you have to act differently; knowing does nothing to improve your results by itself.
This means you need to take new actions and you have to adopt new behaviors so that you can get a different–and better–result. You need to ask for more time to diagnose. You need to ask for access to other stakeholders. You need to dig in two or three levels down the organizational chart (or up, as the case may be) to find the truth. Whatever you discover to be the cause of the gap in your performance, you must identify the actions and behaviors that will produce a better result and then take them.
Then Why Don’t You?
For most of us, our problem isn’t that we don’t know what we need to do differently or what we need to do better. For most of us, we simply don’t act on what we know to be true. Why not?
Because doing what is right often requires that you do what is uncomfortable. But that is what it takes better results require: discomfort.
The discomfort is not without it’s reward. As it turns out, the longer you continue to take the actions that are uncomfortable, the more comfortable they become–especially as your results improve (that’s when the new actions and behaviors become downright inspiring). After you have taken the new actions long enough, it becomes uncomfortable to go back to what you were doing before. It becomes difficult to go back to doing what you know to be wrong.
You can never reach this point if you aren’t willing to take new actions based on what you know to be right.
Improvement begins with the willingness to take new actions and to adopt new and better behaviors. To know that what you are doing is wrong and to continue to do so is no better than not knowing.
Change is never easy. If you would be successful in sales, you have to be willing to act on what you know to be right and true when it isn’t easy. You have to hold yourself accountable to a higher standard.
- In what area of sales do you need to improve your results? What are the new actions and new behaviors that you would need to make a part of your practice to produce better results? If you don’t know what you need to do to improve, who could help you to diagnose your results?
- If you know what you need to do to improve your results, what stops you from making the new actions and the new behaviors part of your practice? Doesn’t the cost of not changing make changing necessary?
- What is the discomfort, what is the pain, of not taking the right actions now? Would it be worth a little pain and discomfort now to relieve yourself of the greater pain caused by poor results?
- What have you changed in the past that required you to take actions that made you uncomfortable? What did you gain from going through the period where you were uncomfortable? Would you ever go back to the old actions now that you have taken the new action long enough to make it feel right? What would it feel like now to do what you know is wrong and ineffective?
For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4279.
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