Selling is the art of creating possibility. So is coaching. If you were ever in a situation where you’ve walked away from a conversation feeling drained or exhausted, chances are there was something you were attached to in the conversation. If you’re trying to control the outcome, then who’s agenda is it?
When cold calling, prospecting, networking or presenting, here are some attachments to be aware of that can grip you and limit your potential.
- The need to be right or look good.
- The need to make the sale (appointment, demo, proposal)
- The need to be understood or prove your point.
- The need to have people agree with you.
- The avoidance of being wrong, looking bad, and hearing “No.”
If you find that you are repeating yourself, pushing to get someone to see it your way, or creating evidence to strengthen your side, you may be caught up in the ego of the situation. The conversation then turns into a struggle for power and control. When prospecting, who do you think is going to win that battle most of the time? The prospect.
Being attached to the outcome during a prospecting conversation:
- limits the ability to recognize or create a new or better possibility, solution, or outcome and respond to an initial objection in a healthy way.
- creates a barrier in your listening that prevents others from contributing to you, which diminishes your ability to learn and grow.
- invalidates the other person by not respecting their feelings or point of view.
- prevents you from adjusting your prospecting approach or strategy so that it is more aligned with that particular prospect and the way they buy. (If you were the pitcher on a baseball team, you wouldn’t throw the same type of pitch each time to every player, especially if that particular pitch wasn’t working. Depending on the player, you would alter the type of pitch you throw.)
inhibits your flexibility and adaptability.
Focus on the Present
In order to let go of your expectations or attachments during the cold calling process, focus on the present.
Consider the three points in time; the past, present, and the future. Sure we live in the present, but is that where you are truly living and responding to moment to moment? Consider that almost 85 percent of your time is spent either living in the past or in the future. (For example, reacting from a past experience or an expectation of the future. Remember the conversation on fear in Chapter 1?) Where is the focus of your energy and thoughts?
If you are living in or reacting from the past, that would sound like:
- “If only I (woulda, coulda, shoulda)[el] I would be much happier/successful today.”
- “I should have done that years ago because I would have reached my financial goal by now.”
- “I remember the last time something like this occurred. I’m sure it will happen again.”
These examples illustrate how you are responding to and “living in the past.”
If you are living in or reacting to the expectations of the future, that would sound like:
- “When I (once I, if only I) buy a house (make more money, find my spouse, lose ten pounds, discover my ideal career, become a master at cold calling) then I will be truly happy and fulfilled.”
If you are hooked on the future, then you are attempting to get somewhere other than where you are now. Where you are today and what you’ve achieved thus far doesn’t seem to be enough for you or provide you with a sense of satisfaction or accomplishment. As such, you’re attached to an end result that hasn’t happened yet.
We often live, listen, and react from the past or are pushing for something to happen in the future. Top producers respond to and are fully living in the present. To be fully present means you are able to focus on a single person, idea, or topic. It means not having any preoccupations with the past or future. The past is gone, and unless you have a crystal ball you have no control over the future.
Expectations are based in the point of time we refer to as the future. Possibilities are happening at any moment in the present. Look at a possibility as a choice where an expectation is a rigid need that must be met in order for you to feel fulfilled and complete.
Jim was a client of mine who believed that he did not think well on his feet. Jim felt that he wasn’t able to respond quickly or intelligently to certain objections or concerns that his prospects presented to him. Interestingly, Jim informed me that this only occurred in a selling situation. During other conversations, Jim stated this was never an issue.
What was it that made Jim freeze in a cold calling conversation but was quick witted and engaging during normal conversation? As we explored this phenomenon in more depth, the reason became evident.
I asked him, “When you engage in daily conversation, is there some specific result that you are looking to achieve in each conversation?” “Not really,” Jim replied. He then added, “If anything, I certainly like to help people.”
“How about when you are cold calling?” I then asked. “Most definitely! I need to sell.” Jim declared.
Jim had an attachment to the outcome. His focus and intentions changed depending upon the type of conversation and whom he was speaking with. When cold calling, Jim was attempting to have a conversation with his focus on a future outcome (the sale), while his prospects are speaking to him in the present moment. Jim was unable to create new solutions or respond effectively to his prospects’ concerns because his mind’s eye was focused more on what he wanted to happen rather than what was occurring in the moment.
Being fully present takes practice, effort, focus, and a willingness to exclude all that is not directly relevant to what you are currently engaged in, especially while speaking with someone. Living in, responding to, and thinking in the moment is both healthy and more productive. If you can practice this, the quality of your communication as well as your cold calling efforts will greatly increase.
What was and what will be never takes precedent over what is.
An attachment is never about what is happening in the present. If you’re hooked on a future, anticipated result, you can’t create any new possibilities in the moment, since creation only occurs in the present. Any attachment is based in the future or the past, with the focus on a specific expectation or result that you are looking to achieve.
Ask yourself, “Am I responding to and living in the present?” (During a conversation, am I focused on an anticipated future outcome or stuck in the past with regrets, beliefs, or events that are really not relevant to creating something new in the present?)
Once you open up your thinking and detach yourself from the outcome during your cold calling efforts or a conversation with a prospect:
- You will notice your energy level will naturally increase.
- You will experience less stress.
- You will uncover new and greater possibilities, solutions and selling opportunities naturally that you would otherwise miss without having to push for them.
Detaching from the outcome frees you to embrace the truth in any situation in order to create new opportunities in the moment rather than being hooked on what you really want, what you think you want or need, or what you expect to happen.