Achieving Total Sales Consciousness

I sell, there­fore I am.

OK maybe it’s not really that deep.  How­ever, if you are now and want to con­tinue to be a suc­cess­ful sales per­son there are at least  5 truths as it relates to your per­sonal development

  • Pro­fes­sional sales peo­ple must con­tin­u­ally learn and adapt.
  • Fail­ure to change may mean that we lose  the trust and respect of asso­ciates and customers
  • The inabil­ity to adapt may result in a loss of income or career change
  • Indus­try and eco­nomic change some­times  force dras­tic adaptation
  • Sales man­age­ment is spread thin­ner than ever and may not be able to help, let alone diag­nose per­for­mance problems.

The solu­tion in keep­ing you at the top of your game  most likely comes down to your own self aware­ness and bru­tal hon­esty.  If you’re not com­pletely aware of what you think, how you feel and what you are doing, it is nearly impos­si­ble to improve on your own.

It’s amaz­ing how many very suc­cess­ful sales peo­ple I come across that  have no real idea why.   And con­versely, sales pros that were suc­cess­ful and just can seem to get their mojo back.

Most times when I see sales peo­ple strug­gling it starts as a man­i­fes­ta­tion of that person’s lack of abil­ity to coach them­selves and rec­og­nize their short com­ings on their own.

Let’s break down the stages to see where the role of self aware­ness fits.

  • Uncon­scious  Incom­pe­tent
    • Doesn’t Know how
    • Is not aware of gap in skills or knowledge
  • Con­scious Incom­pe­tent
    • Aware of inabil­ity to do job and why
    • the per­son may be attempt­ing  to use the skill
  • Con­scious Com­pe­tent
    • Knows how
    • Has to think about it
  • Uncon­scious com­pe­tent
    • Knows how and is very good
    • No thought or effort needed

The clas­sic exam­ple of the Uncon­scious– Incom­pe­tent is the star sales per­son (the nat­ural) who is pro­moted to Sales Man­ager. They often don’t have a clue that they don’t know how to coach or lead.

With often dis­as­trous con­se­quences, new man­agers are unaware that new skills are needed to be suc­cess­ful.  We also see folks who are not the nat­ural who are ‘try­ing’ sales. They think any­one can sell and there is no sales process or sell­ing skills in their vocabulary.

The first thing each of us must do is to become aware of our strengths and weak­nesses.  This requires on– going assess­ment with the real­iza­tion that we must always be ready to change and adapt.

Sup­pose there is a new prod­uct that your com­pany launches. You quickly learn the new fea­tures and ben­e­fits. How­ever, you just don’t seem to be able to get the first sale. Per­haps you real­ize that you are not ask­ing good ques­tions. This stage is Conscious-Incompetent.

Your aware­ness that some­thing is miss­ing leads you to ask­ing more ques­tions.  You are open minded to learn­ing and try­ing new skills. At first, you strug­gle with the ques­tions because you never needed to ask these types of ques­tions with your old prod­ucts.  You have moved into Conscious-Competence.

Later – with prac­tice, you become more fluid and are able to lis­ten to the answers bet­ter. You begin to weave what your buy­ers tell you into the solu­tion. Your ‘con­scious’ aware­ness has lead you to the promised land – a new cus­tomer! With new suc­cess, you know how to get cus­tomers inter­ested with­out much effort and you have become a Unconscious-Competent.

Iron­i­cally, the stages of learn­ing sug­gest that an Unconscious-Competent may be the most vul­ner­a­ble to com­pla­cency, over con­fi­dence and lack of self aware­ness.  (See the new manger from the first example)

With every suc­cess comes a big­ger ego and it becomes harder for this per­son to adapt if dras­tic change is required. The para­dox is that we want to strive to become an Uncon­scious Com­pe­tent and yet when we arrive we may think we are God’s Gift to humanity!

The good (and bad) news is that the pro­fes­sion of sales hum­bles all who enter.   If we can han­dle suc­cess in the same man­ner that we embrace chal­lenges, the aware­ness never goes away. If you can hon­estly appraise your strengths and weak­nesses in every sit­u­a­tion, the abil­ity to adapt and grow is lim­it­less. You can get sup­port from peers, coach­ing from peo­ple you respect and knowl­edge from indus­try resources, like Sales Swamis.

So, where do you fall?  As you begin your jour­ney to total sales con­scious­ness as your­self  these questions:

  • Do you know what you don’t know?
  • Are you aware of what you can’t do?
  • Do you have the courage to admit it?

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One Response to “ Achieving Total Sales Consciousness ”

  1. […] Pro­mo­tion! Now What? Posted by Sales Chick in Fea­tured Arti­cles, Sales Chick, Skills on Sep 21st, 2009 | no responses So, I wanted to fol­low up on Tuna’s last post (Achiev­ing Total Sales Con­scious­ness, 9/7/2009). […]

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