Most sales training does not differentiate between a salesperson’s “identity" and their "role." Traditional sales trainers simply teach the material, often in a very entertaining and “motivating” format, but they place the responsibility for using the material on the salesperson.
So what happens after the “entertainment”?
The salesperson goes back to the office with the same personal issues and limiting self-beliefs that they had before the training event. As a result, they don’t put any of the material into practice!
Put simply, they are unable to take any new risks.
They continue to find it difficult to do what they know they’re supposed to do – for example, not being able to get out of their office to make sales and prospecting calls. Pressure, guilt, self-doubt, worry, and fear may eventually immobilise this salesperson.
A sound training methodology teaches salespeople to separate their identity (self-worth) and role. Therefore, the risk factors inherent in a salesperson’s life are reduced.
Since self-esteem cannot be hurt by the rejection of the sales process if the salesperson views it as a role rejection and not a personal rejection, the salesperson will take more risks. More and loftier risks lead to more and bigger sales!
Armed with this important distinction and with a sound understanding of human relations skills, I have witnessed previously risk adverse salespeople develop the self-esteem to be able to implement the new techniques and strategies with greater ease and success.
When I tell people that their identity (self-worth) is always a ten out of ten, some of them argue that it’s impossible because a rating of ten implies they have no room to grow. They sometimes say, “If I was a ten when I was born, and a ten when I was eleven years old, and at twenty-five, and I’m a ten today, then how did I grow?”
I encourage them to imagine that they are going to plant a seed in the ground. The seed is going to grow into a rose. When you plant the seed, what’s the value of the seed and everything in it? Can we agree that it’s a ten?
Now, after a couple of weeks of sunshine and water, a stem wiggles up from out of the seed and appears above ground. What’s the value of that stem? Can it be anything other than a ten? If you say it’s less than a ten, then explain when it lost value. Of course, it didn’t, it is still intrinsically a ten out of ten.
After six weeks, what’s the value of the rose? In fifteen weeks, what’s the value of the rose? It continues to be a ten. So, the rose was a ten as a seed, and it’s a ten now. And yet, didn’t it grow?
Just because your identity is valued at a ten doesn’t mean you stopped growing. You grow all the time.
That’s not to say none of us have limiting and unsupportive beliefs or psychological “trash”. In fact, we all do! It’s part of being human. If you were the only person with psychological “trash”, then you’d have a problem.
The fact is we’ve all got some of it, and in spite of it, we continue to be tens, and continue to grow…. that’s one of the main keys to success in sales.
So, next time you are looking to implement some training or coaching for yourself or your sales team make sure that the trainer understands and spends time addressing not only sales techniques and skills but the key differences between Identity and Role.
Like most things, sales success and improved performance is largely dependent on what is happening in that little piece of real estate that resides between your ears.
Phil Lee is a professional speaker, trainer and sales performance coach.
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