Stop protecting yourself from “The Scary Unknown”

Published: 09/09/21

Author: Nikki Myles

Protection is not just a great track from Massive Attack… and no, this isn’t another blog about COVID-19…

Just over a year ago, we got a Peloton bike in our house and I have to say that I am now hooked! Gently drawn in by the desire to get fitter, my competitive spirit and the strong sense of community, I now find myself wanting to dive head-first into the Peloton community.

There have been so many unknown benefits to joining Peloton that I would not have known about until I entered the Peloton world, for example, the music you listen to as you cycle gets saved to your music platform of choice. Given the sheer number of classes available every day, you can imagine that my music catalogue is growing incredibly. I am discovering new music that I like every day, which for any music lover, is a joy in itself. It’s opening up a whole new world of artists for me to listen to, as I delve into their back catalogue and find more tracks and new artists as I do. My love of music has certainly been awakened again.

But this isn’t a blog about Peloton – so what has this all got to do with sales and selling? My other passion (and my mission) is to enable salespeople to become sales explorers and jumping into the Peloton world has taught me something game-changing…

If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got.

There’s another saying which I may be paraphrasing, but is still quite apt…

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different outcome.

Where am I going with these sayings?

If your sales team always does the same thing when preparing to speak to a prospect or customer, by and large, you will get the same result…

Always asking the same questions will, by and large, get you the same results…

Always stopping the conversation at the point where you go into unknown territory, will, by and large, get you the same results…

Stop “protecting” your sales conversations

For many salespeople out there reading this, they would call this ‘being efficient.’ They don’t have a lot of time to ‘explore’ with a customer and once an opportunity has been identified, the objective of the conversation has been achieved and there’s no point going any further.

But what if they are simply (consciously or unconsciously) protecting themselves from opening the “Pandora’s box” of unknown potential within that conversation?

That “Scary Unknown” is really a range of opportunities that may lay beyond that salesperson’s comfort boundaries.

But what if a competitor asked all those same questions, answered with all the same responses, but didn’t stop there and kept pushing the conversation further into the unknown? Who is the prospect going to pick?

Walking into the unknown helps your team develop stronger connections with the customer. Even if the honest answer is “I’m not sure” or “I’ll come back to you with an answer on that”, leaving those questions un-asked is one of the greatest ways to remove the possibility of more opportunities.

The other great benefit is that it removes some of that monotony that your team feels as they repeat the same preparations and conversations over and over again. Sales can be a tough industry, especially when staff hear ‘no’ more than ‘yes’. But, inspiring your team to open their conversations to the unknown leads to more memorable interactions that will help them enjoy their roles and develop themselves even further.

So, the next time you’ve checked all the boxes on what you need to know, don’t stop there! Ask more, push yourself and your team out of the comfort zone, into the unknown and see what happens!

Then hit the ‘Share’ button as your customer answers your question (wink wink) … but Don’t Stop (Fleetwood Mac – another great song!), ask another and another and watch it build better relationships and win more sales!

And yes, I would encourage you to listen to Protection by Massive Attack, with the rich voice of the fabulous Tracey Thorn, also with a superb back catalogue!

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