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New and Ancient Tools for the 21st Century Salesperson


New and Ancient Tools for the 21st Century Salesperson

We are already living in the 21st century and many of us are hanging on to practices, processes and systems that no longer serve us.

When we continue to pile on much of the same, the result is often much of the same. When we focus on setting out to solve problems, we get stuck in the 20th-century scarcity model of fear of not being enough or having enough. We find ourselves competing for a share of the pie instead of baking new pies in an abundance of flavors and shapes to see which ones people would truly enjoy.

Transformation and innovation require us to do work in creating a path that works for us. It is so much more than slogans and programs that need to be implemented. They require us to think deeply, experiment and challenge ourselves in new and ancient ways.

One of the biggest opportunities we have in the business world today brings us to a new mindset when it comes to sales. We need to let go of the current culture of sameness of how things are done. So many people are so busy trying to be like everyone else that we forget who we are, why we are here and who we can create and co-create with. We are obsessed with best practices; we are constantly told about how others are successful in a world where the definition of success is changing. It is helpful to hear other’s stories and learn from them. But how often do we ask if they would work for us? How often do we take the time to think deeply of why we are here and how we can connect deeply with others around the value of what we offer? We get so caught up in the pitch or sales process that we miss opportunities that are right in front of us. And it’s easy to do when everyone around us is blasting information about how to be successful. But do they know you? Do they know what melts your butter?

I am part of a collective that often gets invited to speak with leadership teams and run sales enablement programs. I like to share stories from my soon to be published book about what leaders are doing in the world; not what their company’s best practices are. From the stories of the frontier of 21st century leadership, we then start talking about their own stories and why they are here to create something beautiful with their own business that people will benefit from.

And that is our opportunity in the 21st century. Research (from the Corporate Executive Board global study of over 10,000 customers 2013–2014) shows that while 88% of executive decision-makers want to have dialogue, not a PowerPoint sales pitch, only 15% believe their meetings with sales people are valuable and live up to their expectations. Only 5% of executive and 9% of IT leaders accept the follow-up meetings.


We need to bring back common sense and redefine the sales experience

In the 21st century, we are in the human-to-human purpose and experience driven era, where we can tap into new and ancient tools that are available to each of us. To do this, we need to take a break from our 24/7 busyness and remember our deeper purpose. Over the next 15 years, we have the opportunity to reinvent business as one of the most powerful forces to fuse our global society. To do so, we must awaken to a path that requires us to to rethink how we do business. It goes beyond what we are really good at — shuffling the deck chairs on the sinking ship and focusing on organizational structure.

It starts with conscious 21st-century leaders who have a clear and shared purpose of what they want to create with their business and who they want to create with. Imagine that every person in your organization had a clear understanding of why they are here and how their role benefits the company and the planet. What would your business look like then? What would happen if you tapped into the childlike imagination of every person around you and focused on opportunities? What would the sales experience be like then? How many executives and IT leaders would invite your people back to follow-up conversations; not meetings? How much time do you spend thinking, imagining and creating the 21st-century experience for everyone involved?

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