How Mindfulness and Enterprise Selling Go Together
Mindfulness. We’ve all heard the term but it’s likely that few of us have spent any quality time learning about it. Jon Kabat-Zinn is a professor of medicine at The University of Massachusetts and an expert on mindfulness. He explains it in simple terms as “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally”. Interesting. And even though the topic has received heightened media coverage of late, most business people remain relatively clueless about it. And those of us in the hectic world of enterprise selling are even less likely to know much about it. I know that’s the case with me. But what I have discovered tells me that it would be very valuable to pay the topic much closer attention. Because the more I learn, the more it’s clear to me that mindfulness plays a critical role in our success and our satisfaction. And its fundamentals align directly with enterprise selling. As such, they’re worthy of a much more comprehensive examination than this article can provide. But, nonetheless, I’d like to start the conversation.
Let’s think first about some of enterprise selling’s unique challenges:
- Extended sales cycles
- Business value focus
- Sophisticated competition
- Wide buyer networks
- Significant investment in pursuits
- Complicated decision structures
- Cross-functional selling teams
- Complex accounts
It’s certainly a complex list, further complicated by human interactions on both the buying and selling sides of major pursuits. Because as we know, people both buy from people and sell to people. And understanding what truly matters to those people is fundamental to your success.
Now, consider mindfulness. One of its key tenets is awareness, in speaking and listening – the aforementioned “paying attention in a particular way, on purpose”. The awareness is moment-to-moment, a state, if you will. Consider the receivers in human interactions regarding that “nonjudgmental” theme. Your ability to wipe out preconceived notions opens the door to understanding. This clarity in reception expands your thinking to welcome other perspectives, free of biases, assumptions and those thoughts that shut the door. And on communication’s sending side, mindfulness emphasizes spending quality time to plan and to carefully choose your words to mean what
you say and say what you mean.
Sound advice that takes practice, right? Sure, but imagine how such awareness, in the moment, would be helpful in communicating with the diverse personalities on your team and the wide array of people in your enterprise account’s buyer network. And how true awareness could build understanding about customized value propositions and complex solutions. Or provide insights regarding Go/No-Go
decisions. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Studies confirm that people who practice mindfulness gain increased attention and focus by sharpening the skills that suppress distractions, those demons that plague us constantly in the crazy world of enterprise selling. Whether it’s the issues that frustrate us over long enterprise pursuits or the endless flow of information connected to a major account, the touchpoints, detail, and administrivia can be overwhelming. And as we well know, the very technologies that are meant to help can actually do the opposite. What if the answer isn’t about apps or devices at all but about learning how to shut down your autopilot? Mindfulness teaches you how to direct your concentration to the matter of the moment. For if something is worth addressing, it’s worth addressing with present focus. And again, you won’t leave a short mindfulness webinar with life-changing benefits. That takes time and effort. But, truthfully, beginning the learning makes for a fine start.
Then, there’s the stress, that constant anxiety that’s part of chasing the numbers in the enterprise world. It comes with the territory, right? High risk, high reward. Pay for performance. But does it have to be that frenzied? Can you be great at what you do and not constantly manic? Mindfulness says you can. Because that moment-to-moment awareness, practiced well, helps diminish the claw-like grip of both dwelling on the past and dreading the future. Directing your focus to the present, to what’s happening now, substantiates real observation and diminishes the impacts of emotions. We all have deep internal resources, many lying dormant, to drive powerful changes in our behaviors and attitudes, positively impacting our well-being and yes, even reducing our stress. Think about the benefit.
As I said, most of us know little about mindfulness. But significant organizations have achieved game-changing results by instituting mindfulness programs. Firms like Google, Apple, Intel, and Accenture. Forward-thinking organizations making strategic decisions to drive meaningful change.
Mindfulness – there’s something there. Something powerful. How powerful, only you can determine. But make a commitment. Take the awareness theme to heart and do a deeper dive. For yourself, your organization and your clients. They’re all worth it.