Selling is the Art of Creating Possibility

If you are focused solely on making a pitch or are pushing for the appointment or the sale rather than conducting a process of inquiry, then consider whom you’re making the sales process about. And that would be you!

I remember talking with one of my clients, Peter, and he was a great salesperson. After working with Peter for a few months, I noticed that his mood or state of mind fluctuated during each meeting I had with him.

It seemed that, like many salespeople, he was allowing himself to be a victim of circumstance. He set high goals and expected nothing but exemplary performance from himself. When he experienced success from his prospecting efforts, he was in a great mood. However, on the days that he felt he wasn’t producing up to his expectations, he really took it to heart and it threw him right into a bad mood. Feelings of disappointment, anxiety, and frustration overcame him. This lasted until he had another productive day cold calling. Peter was allowing external situations, more specifically, his daily productivity to influence or dictate his internal condition or attitude, swinging the “mood” pendulum from one extreme to another.

It’s Time to Reevaluate

It’s one thing to experience good days and bad days. We all have them. However, it’s another thing to allow your prospecting efforts to dictate whether or not you’re going to be smiling at the end of the day. After coaching him around this, we soon realized that he had some unrealistic expectations regarding his performance.

I explained to him that it was wonderful to have a very clear vision of what he was looking to achieve. After all, defining your goals is a great exercise, one that I certainly endorse. However, when your goals begin to consume you and diminish the quality of your life, it’s time to re-evaluate your strategy.

I then suggested to him, instead of being hooked on the expectation of having to generate the result he was seeking during every cold call, what if it was only a possibility that he would generate the desired result? I saw the confusion in his face. I then shared with him the distinction between a possibility and an expectation.

A possibility is something that may exist or what could happen, where an expectation is a hope or an attachment to a specific outcome. A subtle, yet powerful distinction. When you are open to possibility, you are inspired to innovate and create something new while being present in a conversation or with the activity you are engaged in. You feel a sense of choice in the pursuit of your goal. In other words, you can either be gripped with a certain expectation about something; in this case having to sell, or you can simply enjoy the possibility of creating a relationship with that prospect, determining whether there’s a fit and providing value to them, without being attached to whether or not you will sell.

Decongest Your Mind

Some people have an attachment to certain outcomes during a conversation. They are so focused on having the other person see their point of view or attached to creating a specific result that they miss out on the ability to create a new and better outcome simply by listening openly to what the other person was actually saying.

Sometimes we get so attached to having others see our point of view that we exhaust all our energy just to prove a point. We might do this with our prospects, co-workers, boss, family, or friends. The problem is, if you are so attached to your own agenda inside a conversation then how can a new or better possibility ever surface? How can you listen to your prospect’s wants and needs or create solutions to their initial concerns that might get in the way of the sale? It just can’t happen.

A congested mind does not allow for the space to create the best solutions for your prospects during a cold call. Consider for a moment that the person you are speaking with may have a better solution or voice an initial objection, yet you can’t hear it because of your attachment to the outcome.

Think about the sales you have made in your career. Picture your state of mind at the time. Were you relaxed, centered, and connected with your prospects or were you concerned, anxious, and biting at the bit while calculating how much money you would make if you sold?

Gravy and Unfulfilled Expectations

Most salespeople are more inclined to generate the desired result they seek during a cold call when they aren’t concerned about whether or not they will sell. And this feeling; according to them, usually surfaces right after they had a successful cold call or reached their monthly sales quota. In other words, these salespeople weren’t attached to the expectation of having to sell the client because it was no longer a “have to” for them. Since they already reached their daily or monthly goal, in their mind the rest was gravy. The pressure to produce was lifted off of their shoulders and they had nothing left to lose.

Many of us suffer from unfulfilled expectations. If you are attached to the expectation of having to generate certain results when cold calling and you don’t produce them, think about how you feel? Lousy, discouraged, frustrated, dejected, upset, maybe even a bit drained. Not only can this destroy your productivity for the remainder of your day, but you’re also less likely to want to engage in this activity again or call on other people. Setting yourself up to have unfulfilled expectations is a formula that continually reinforces negative feelings, which creates negative experiences.

Now, imagine what would be possible if you believed that every conversation you had with a prospect provided you with the possibility to earn their business? This way, if you don’t generate your desired result, then the possibility is still just a possibility!

When something is possible for you, the process is actually enjoyable. After all, if you’re going to cold call, you might as well enjoy the process. The alternative is being let down or crushed from having unfulfilled expectations.

Consider this truth. What if a surgeon in the ER expected to save every life that he operated on? Chances are, this person wouldn’t be a surgeon for long, even with the best of intentions.

You know it’s a possibility when you’re having fun and you can’t lose. It’s an expectation when you are upset if it doesn’t work out.