Everyone sells something. Whether realized or not, everybody has to influence or be persuasive in order to attain goals or help others attain their goals. Would you agree? If so, whether you are an entrepreneur, or work within a more formal environment, you probably know that not all situations go your way. There may even be a string of events when it looks like all the doors are closed and no windows have opened yet.
You have choices at this point. Do you give up, give in, go along, or dig in? If you are in sales, rejection often flies in your face, so it helps to cultivate a quality called resilience. Being able to capitalize on resilience may be the difference between keeping you in the game or continuing to bounce around from job to job, never seeming to find your fit.
Moments of doubt can be dark and scary or they can be viewed as opportunities. Your actions during these times are often the subject of clichés: where the rubber meets the road, wheat is separated from the chaff, professionals are set apart from the amateurs and so on. Resilience is a positive, hopeful word; it means to spring back, be buoyant and have the power or ability to return to original form. Perhaps, return to an even better version of the original form. Some find it easier than others to bounce back but the good news is this: resilience can be learned.
I have been challenged by adversity as much as anyone else. Sometimes I’ve handled it better than other times. One thing I have learned is that how you react to something can determine your fate more strongly than the event itself. Resiliency is a key component in getting your horse headed back in the right direction. Comparing this skill to all of the skills needed to be successful in direct sales, resilience is one we all need in abundance.
How to foster resilience
Following a setback, how do you get back on your horse and riding in the right direction? The sales scenarios we could discuss are endless and personal to each, but for brevity let’s say prospects have been difficult to find, hard to get in touch with, or appear impossible to close. You hear “no” more than “yes,” and all you really want to do is give up, crawl under a blanket, or go spend the afternoon at the movies.
Whatever the situation, it has affected your outlook and drive and maybe caused you to question whether you are cut out for this line of work. Before making any rash decisions, give yourself a little break, temper your tendency to be judgmental, and become curious. Curiosity tends to open up a mind while judgment closes it down. With a closed mind you keep making decisions based on facts you already have, while curiosity helps you gain more facts. More facts allow for more information, better decision making, and different actions.
OK, let’s say we are now more open to being open. What happens next? First of all, acknowledge some things are not working well. Realizing there is a problem ensures you are closer to solving it than being unaware of its existence. Next, give yourself some breathing room to process this information. Perhaps part of this breathing space includes making calls on those who do appreciate what you bring to the table. Go where the grass is greener to build your confidence back up. Continue to be curious about what caused your setback as you go about building up your confidence. Do any of the following apply?
- Are you trying to force something before it is time? Are your actions in sync with your buyer’s needs?
- Are you prospecting from many angles to engage your potential clients?
- Do you know how your prospects like to communicate and want to be engaged? Do they use social media, phone, email?
- Do you know others who have been faced with the same issues? How did others you admire handle it? Having mentors is a good thing.
- What makes you, your product or service different to potential clients?
- Are you able to help your clients realize their needs?
Whatever the issues, this is a golden opportunity to think about how to go about your work differently in order to attain a different outcome. In fact, it’s empowering to know you can change your behaviors and get different outcomes. When you were small, what did you hear when you fell off your bike? Get back on and start again. Now that you have some different options you can keep experimenting with what works for you and experiencing different and better outcomes. Build on your positive outcomes and revisit those that aren’t working by being curious as suggested above. Make adjustments and keep getting back on your bike and moving forward.
When the “noes” come knocking, don’t let them stop you in your tracks. Have a curious outlook that keeps you moving forward. This will help build resiliency. Enter resiliency into your repertoire of sales skills, practice, and watch your outlook change. Look out for all the opportunities that start coming your way!
ASTD field editor Shelley Gaynes is the president of Gee Wiz, an Atlanta-based executive coaching and training firm. She has extensive experience in working with sales and customer service organizations and teams. Currently, she serves on the board of directors of The Georgia Coach Association, and is an ACC certified coach; sgaynes@GeeWizWow.com.
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