I have been interviewing some candidates for some positions I've been asked to help fill. What I've come to decide is that there are 2 things every sales person needs but no one can teach.Read More
Lots of sales calls. Tons of 'em. By myself. Tag-teaming. Coaching a rep. Been there before the doors opened. Stayed after the doors were locked. While eating and watching others eat. Given half a minute and half a day to state my case. At a desk. In a conference room. Next to screaming kids a McDonalds. With people in charge of millions of dollars. For people with no sense at all (nice pun, right?). Needing to hit quota or to wrap up a killer year. I been in them all.
What's the one thing I experience in nearly every successful sales call? Responsive questioning.
Responsive questioning is the ability to listen and think at the same time. It's the acquisition and assimilation of information. It taking the tool being handed to you and building something with it.
Go try it on your wife about her day, on your kids about school, on a friend about the game last weekend. Ask a question, really listen, then use the answer to formulate a great question to gain more insight. Do it again. And again. You'll be amazed at how deep you can dig, how much honesty you'll uncover, and how simple what to do next will be.
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.