Are We Innovating Sales?

Check out the video in this post featuring World Champion Yo-Yoer, János Karancz. You don't need to watch the whole thing, but you probably will. Why? You love to see innovation. We all do.

Everyone has played with a yo-yo. Maybe you knew someone good at it, but the guy in this video is in a different universe. I wouldn't even call what he is doing yo-yoing. His innovation is so extreme most of us watch the entire video wondering how the heck he is doing what he does. 

If innovation this drastic is happening in the inconsequential world of yo-yos, it is happening everywhere (or, at least, it has the potential to happen everywhere). But, is it happening this substantially in sales?  

Don't you get the feeling when you go through your Twitter feed filled with "sales gurus" there are less and less Aha! moments to be had. Why are you willing to waste 3 minutes watching a guy play with his yo-yo, but unwilling to watch a 3 minutes video about sales technique? Maybe because, in our society, where the impossible becomes possible daily, the content we consider consuming concerning sales just isn't as appetizing as the much more interesting (and addictive) proof of innovation everywhere we look.

Innovation is not learning how to sell on LinkedIn or Twitter -- that's merely swapping a phone call or an email for LinkedIn Messages or DMs. Sales needs monumental innovation in technique, philosophy, and process on par with what you see in this video.

Just like the inventor of the yo-yo Pedro Flores, János Karancz has fingers, string, an axle, and 2 discs. He is still simultaneously fighting against and taking advantage of gravity, friction, and centrifugal force. However, despite the majority of variables remaining the same, he is achieving astoundingly different results.

Similarly in business and in sales, many of the "variables" are still the same as they have always been. It's time for us to innovate within those parameters in a dynamic way just like this World Champion. Can we, too, get astoundingly different results which cause seasoned professionals to wonder how we are doing what we do?

I think we can. 

We need to take all the lessons and skills we have learned from those that have gone before us, and use them to push further. We need to visualize and formulate things which don't exist. We need to iterate quickly and drastically. We need to ask ourselves what it will take to get results the original trailblazers never dreamed possible (isn't that what they did?). We need to pick up the torch and start running the next part of the race. The content of our training and coaching needs to be innovative enough to get someone to sit spellbound through a 3 minute video about sales.

It's time to innovate.

Bruce Lee Kung Fu Sales

I saw this image on the internet a few days ago and it caught my attention. It made me think for a second.  

Before reading this, I valued cups based on what they contained. I had not consciously decided that was how I would value cups, but it was the incorrect postulate under which I was operating. If the cup is full, it's potential is limited by what is inside it. When a cup is empty, its usefulness is limitless (if you have kids and seen them use your cups as plates, sandbox toys, megaphones, hats, shoes, pyramid building blocks, etc., I know you get what I am saying!).

From a sales perspective, how often do we value what we are doing by the results they yield? It's a cause and effect evaluation, i.e. limiting the cup by what is in it. We know results are king, and we do not want to continue doing things that do not yield results. However, it is easy to incorrectly assign an effect to a cause. Sometimes, an effect is the product of a momentum of causes, and that momentum is lessened when you remove an individual action. 

When you develop a good sales process filled with many sales activities, remember:  

The usefulness of a sales activity, is its execution.  

It's not about finding that one magic cup/activity that will get you the sale. It's through consistent execution results are earned.  

PUSH

You can quit. It's OK. What you are doing is hard. It is the definition of monotony.

Call after call. Voicemail after voicemail. Email after email. How many times today (this week, this month) have you asked a secretary "Can I speak with…"?

It's not just the activity, either. It's the emotional drain. You have to sound happy on the phone, even though you are worn out. You can't tell that gatekeeper what you really want to tell him/her, and holding back emotion is just as taxing as creating it, right?

Then, there's the mental toll. How can you endure another person that just doesn't get it? You know it will happen 100 times today -- they are just going to say "no" so they can move on. And then there is your boss. He's on you again. Doesn't he know you have tried everything you can think of? That you are working as hard as you can? That you, too, hate your numbers?

Those are real barriers to your success in sales.

What do you need to do to overcome them? PUSH.

Push to make the 51st call of the day. Push to leave the 37th voicemail. Push to look up the 42nd email address. Push to sound happy…to actually be happy and excited. Push to hold back frustration. Push yourself to hear "no" another time. Push to find the answer your boss is trying to help you find.

Barriers like the ones above are tall and wide, but they are all paper-thin. If you give the slightest push to get through, you will be on the other side. Your default setting is to stop. Sometimes, you don't even realize you have made a decision to stop until you are already standing still. Be aware of the decision to stop, and rather than letting the barriers kill your momentum, decide instead to PUSH.