We learn our best lessons when it comes to errors and embarrassing situations. The moment of horror can’t be erased, yet we can quickly move past it if we embrace the lessons from what took place.
It was a typical stress-filled day on my first job trying to prove my sales capability. A keen focus was given to charting out my day and listing the names of the people with whom I was to connect. Everything required for the meetings was put in proper order as I prepared to leave the office. But I was stopped in my tracks, Big Time!
I was the only saleswoman on a modest-sized sales team. It was a rarity for anyone to speak to me let alone management. The Sales Director was previously known as an award-winning pitcher for a highly-rated baseball team. He was talking, as usual, with the men while I picked up all the paperwork to leave for my meetings.
But to my surprise, he turned around to ask this question, “Do you like to go to baseball games?”
Focused on my forthcoming appointments, I replied, “Yes, I particularly enjoy half-time!”
The look on his face was indescribable as it turned beet red. He quickly headed to his office and was not to be seen the remainder of the day. And the salesmen looked horrified with what I just uttered. Still focused on potential sales, I left focused on my world. That night, it was my husband who explained what had happened.
It was evident I didn’t listen to what was asked of me as my mind was elsewhere. Otherwise, I would have attempted to say something about baseball instead of football. I wasn’t especially embarrassed because of the overall treatment in the office. However, it was an outstanding lesson to change my habits and future actions.
The number one strategy for effective sales and selling success is active listening. I became a pro at the art of hearing what others say and purposefully omit in any communication. The moment I hear someone speaking to me, I stop to listen. If there is any question about meaning, experience, or why a topic is glossed over, I ask questions. My focus is 100% on the people with whom I am in conversation.
In meetings and at events, I watch for body posture and facial expressions as people speak and as they take in my information. Any look of doubt, moving away from the table, or a glance at another, I will ask what is on the person’s mind. All of the above works for video meetings, too. Phone calls also require active listening for proper inquiries to ensure everyone is on the same page.
The bonus strategy that applies (it’s a bonus due to the effectiveness) is to be enthusiastic and appear genuinely interested in the experiences and insights of others. Should a past trip or a hobby be mentioned, I stop the conversation to inquire about it. Now the dialogue transforms into a personal-professional level and does wonders to build relationships.
In case you are wondering, the business on which I was so keenly focused did become mine. “Focus, motivation and perseverance lead to achieving goals.”
If it weren’t for one of the most memorable moments of my employment, it might have taken far longer to recognize what it takes to sell better and achieve more. When we experience ‘the worst,’ the smart approach is to examine ‘the why’ to move past and excel in the future. The episode becomes a laughable experience and something you may pass on for others to avoid making the same error.
Should you enjoy these stories, more may be found in Nice Girls DO Get the Sale: Relationship Building that Gets Results available on Amazon.
All that follows leads to the Smooth Sale!
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