To commemorate the 2nd anniversary of publishing my 2nd book, Own Your Greatness in Oct 2015, this is an edited excerpt from chapter 4.
During my career in sales management I had the privilege of working with a team of salespeople ranging in experience from less than one year, to retired and working just for the fun of it. Because of the range of experience levels, there were varying levels of confidence as well.
I recall several situations where Gail, the mature woman on my team, and Sharon, another accomplished professional yet decades younger, were providing feedback and counsel to Carol, our very young, fresh new saleswoman who had recently transferred from another location. Carol had only worked for the company for a year prior to arriving at our location, and was barely old enough to legally drink, so she was still quite new at, well, almost everything having to do with being an adult.
Carol’s transfer was essentially a replacement for Glenda, a more accomplished and consistent sales producer who had been with us for several years and who had transferred to another location. On paper Carol appeared to be an up-and-coming sales producer, but compared to Glenda she still had much to learn, so we were experiencing a bit of a loss with regard to skill level with the transfers going on. [Carol replacing Glenda was NOT an even trade!]
Carol was dismayed that after only a few short months in our store, she was not achieving the sales goals she was hoping to reach, and was expressing her displeasure and disappointment to her fellow colleagues. I had entrusted Gail and Sharon both to provide Carol with some product training, as well as sales technique coaching, and she was very amenable to it. She listened closely to their presentations and picked up some valuable new strategies to incorporate into her own repertoire.
But then one day Carol came in to work with a really aggressive, demanding attitude, whining about how she wasn’t making her sales goals; she was disappointed that the store wasn’t making the collective sales goals, and she regretted transferring. She told me she transferred because it was a higher volume location than where she was previously and she thought she would be able to make more money. Since she wasn’t selling as much, she wasn’t making as much and was financially struggling, so she was stressed out about meeting her bills.
I reminded Carol of Gail’s advice in the not-so-distant past. Gail’s advice to Carol a few days earlier was,
“Act as if you don’t need the sale.”
When I suggested Carol keep Gail’s advice in mind, she snapped that she did need the sale, desperately! Carol was showing up with a desperation mindset, turning off the buyers. She had forgotten to connect with them, and instead was pushing them to buy because she needed the sale. Rather than act as an assistant buyer, putting the wants and needs of the prospect ahead of her own, Carol was thinking only of how much commission she would earn if the customer would just buy, already!
I explained to Carol that her attitude of desperation was showing up in her conversations with prospects. Smartly, yet with frustration, she asked,
“What does that mean? How do I sell without acting like I need the sale when I so desperately do?”
I coached Carol about how her level of confidence affects the energy she is radiating. Because her confidence level had dipped as a result of not selling as much as she was accustomed to selling, the vibe she was giving off had also changed. Instead of vibrating at a frequency of strong personal belief and greatness, she was sending out waves of negativity, worry and frustration. And from the puzzled look on her face, I realized she had not been taught this secret.
As the coaching conversation unfolded, I learned Carol’s previous manager closed a lot of sales for her and she was credited with the sale, when in reality she wasn’t doing the selling OR closing. Ugh. Her sales performance looked good on paper, but closing her own sales in our location was a whole new experience, and the sophistication of our clientele was also quite different.
In contrast, Sharon and Gail had two and four more decades of life experience, respectively, than Carol, making them more comfortable in their own skin. They had both traveled the world, spoke different languages, and experienced other cultures and ways of living at various times in their lives. They had each achieved a level of personal confidence, knowing what they were each great at. This allowed them to show up with open minds and quiet confidence in sales conversations, contributing significantly to their stellar performance.
Carol was still exasperated as I explained these differences to her, and she exclaimed with irritation,
“Then how do I get experience? How do I get comfortable in my own skin?”
I could tell from the furrowed brow on Carol’s forehead that she did not like my answer when I told her the only way to get experience is to get experience. She can’t rush it, she can only take one day at a time and learn the lessons she is supposed to learn along the way.
I told Carol that part of learning is listening and observing others to see what she can take away from their conversational style and experience to integrate into her own approach. She didn’t like my counsel in the moment, but she did hear what she needed to hear [not necessarily what she wanted to hear!], and took ownership for her attitude. She learned that who she was being, and how she was showing up at work was directly affecting her ability to close sales.
Who you are being shows up in every aspect of your life: your work, your personal relationships, your friendships, and your private, inner life. While grammatically it may be correct to state it as “who you are,” the phrase “who you are being” forces you to think about how you’re actually showing up in life, and that’s the point here.
So again, who you are being shows up in every aspect of your life. Are you being a jerk at work? If you are, I’d be willing to bet you’re being a jerk in other areas of your life too. When you show up in life with a negative attitude, you repel people, opportunities, prosperity, joy, happiness and health. So look at yourself and ask the question,
“Who am I being, and how am I showing up?”
Visit my YouTube channel to watch a quick 3.5min video on perception and entrenched behavior patterns that affect how you show up in conversation.