Why You Cannot Succeed in Sales and Be Conflict Averse

If you are in sales, management, or leadership, you are going to have to be comfortable dealing with conflict. Success requires that you find a way to work through conflict.

There are going to be conflicts around the commitments you need your dream client to make so they can produce the outcomes they need. The more serious the change, the more opportunity there is for equally serious conflict. When you ask people to make change, it comes with the territory.

There are going to be larger conflicts around what the right solution needs to look like once you bring in additional stakeholders, many of whom have their own wants and needs, and who may also work actively work against you. You can surface these conflicts as you try to help people find a middle way, achieving the outcomes they need while mitigating the challenges that change creates.

There will be conflict when it comes to the investment you need your client to make, and that conflict can be great when there is a lot at stake. Your clients want the outcomes they need, and much of the time, they want those outcomes without having to invest the necessary money. They also want to avoid the conflict that comes from asking for and spending more money than they are presently spending.

Salespeople who are conflict averse have trouble obtaining the outcomes they need because those outcomes aren’t easily achieved without some level of conflict. Salespeople who don’t like cold calling are really afraid of the conflict that sometimes comes with interrupting people.

As a manager, you will have conflict about the work that needs to be done, how much work is necessary, and how fast it needs to be done. This can cause serious conflict. You will have conflict about pipeline integrity, the opportunities being pursued, and whether or not your sales process is being followed to produce the greatest odds of winning. You will have the conflicts that come with providing your sales team with air cover from upper management, and the conflict that comes with selling your own company to do the right thing.

As a leader, you are going to have the conflict that comes with determining strategy and leading your organization to reach its full potential. You are going to have conflicts when people disagree with your vision, when they act outside your values, and when they put the culture you are building at risk.

I was recently asked why I seem to enjoy conflict, and I agreed that I do enjoy it. The reason I enjoy conflict is because the better results is always on the other side of conflict, and you can’t get there until you get through the conflict. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be polite, professional, and collaborative. It doesn’t mean that you can’t actually improve your relationships while engaging in the conflict. But it does mean that you have to be comfortable in conflict.

Filed under: Psychology

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