I get it; you’re probably tired of hearing about sales and sales processes. But I can’t help it, I love a good sales strategy.
The thing is, it’s my passion. I want to teach the world to sell better and to sell in a way that helps people trust us more. When companies and consumers value salespeople, it’s a huge benefit to everybody. And a sales strategy that supports that cause is vital.
But guess what. That thing I’ve been talking about, “becoming a Sales Sherpa,” it’s not just about sales.
As a sales strategy, it’s a fantastic, effective, and proven starting point for helping salespeople reach the goals they want to achieve. There’s more to it, though.
At the very base of it, the foundation, it’s about improving your communication skills, enhancing your ability to relate to others, and adopting a new mindset that will help you grow in all walks of life.
When you realize that, it ceases to be a sales methodology and becomes a set of vital life skills.
Communication as a Sales Strategy
Pretty much everybody assumes they communicate well, or at least as well as they’ll ever be able to. Most of us spend our lives just winging it when it comes to having hard conversations with our kids, fights with our partners, and heart-to-hearts with our friends.
Whether the conversation is happy, sad, mad, or anything in between, we just talk. Usually without thinking. Definitely without planning except in rare cases.
And most people also listen without much thought, which means we don’t do it as well as we think we do.
Almost everybody could benefit from being more aware of how they communicate and interact. Even the easiest, lightest conversations become more meaningful when both sides are more mindful of what they’re doing and how present they are.
When I coach people in their sales conversations, I typically use real-life, personal examples from situations with my partner.
We’ve been together for almost 18 years, and like most domestic partners, we’ve had our fair share of fights and arguments. Even though we’ve been together for so long and basically grew into adults together (we started dating when we were 21 and 22), it took sales coaching for me to learn the best ways to talk (and even fight) with her. Then she learned from me, both from me talking about it and from me using it.
I’m not saying we wouldn’t have made it this far without learning everything I have over the last eight years, but it sure helps!
I also talk a lot about my kiddo. Learning how to convey my reasons and beliefs to a 9-year-old while being mindful and listening to her perspective has helped me push my conversational abilities to the max.
Honestly, it’s made me a better dad.
That’s why I push the need to focus on better communication so much. It doesn’t just help you win more deals or reach your quota easier. It helps you have better conversations in all aspects of your life.
- You’ll have more understanding and clearer direction from your boss when you feel more confident questioning them.
- You’ll be able to have more open discussions with your children and have an easier time seeing where they’re coming from.
- You’ll be more prepared to help your friends get through serious issues by asking the right questions and finding the root of their problems.
Even random, casual conversations with you will be more enjoyable to others because of how you navigate those moments. When you listen better and communicate more mindfully, you’re more fun to talk to, plain and simple.
Plus, better communication encourages deeper relationships. Not just the ones between you and your clients, although that will undoubtedly make your professional life easier.
Being more precise and intentional about how you convey your ideas and listen to others’ builds a level of trust and affinity that creates a bond. My partner and I grew so much closer because we finally learned how to convey what we really wanted to say or ask. It also helped that, for the first time, I finally started to understand how she was feeling or thinking when we ran into issues.
Relating to Others
Knowing where your prospects are coming from is an enormous benefit for having great sales conversations. I honestly don’t know how anybody closes a deal without understanding their client’s pains or needs.
The level of empathy that makes a salesperson great also typically makes them an awesome partner, friend, and family member.
When you’re able to put yourself in other people’s shoes, it’s easier to judge less, debate more effectively, and maintain an open mind. It also helps you find common ground we all share in some way that can conquer the divide between a stranger and a friend.
We’ve forgotten how to relate to each other because so much communication occurs at a distance. For example, everybody knows you’re not supposed to judge others, but scrolling through Facebook to judge people’s posts and pictures doesn’t feel like it counts.
Meaningful conversations can only occur when you’re trying to see somebody else’s point of view. I might’ve struggled with this more than some people because the more task-driven you are, the harder it is to empathize with others.
When I realized that and worked towards improving it, it made a massive difference in how I communicate with and react to other people. I don’t judge as much, I strive not to make assumptions as quickly, and I ask better questions to understand what someone else is thinking or feeling.
A New Mindset
Being a Sherpa also means having a ‘mindset of abundance.’ In sales, this means not chasing people down forever, being able to accept a ‘no’ from prospects, and focusing more on the actions you control rather than the results you don’t.
It’s a sales strategy that has made my job so much easier!
Even better, this mindset helps you in all aspects of your life. It allows you to stop focusing on the little things and not to let minor disappointments become tragedies.
Getting through the stress of day-to-day living is hard on the best of us. And it’s difficult not to hang so much importance on everything. But when you’re living in a fixed or limited mindset, one that tells you every opportunity is your last, that makes your life even harder.
On the other side, when you have an abundant mindset, it’s so much easier to take things day by day and live in the moment.
Let’s say you’re up for a big promotion. If you’re in a limited mindset, you’re probably stressing over it every second of the day, even though you know there’s competition that might prevent you from getting it. If you’re not, then you’re probably not overthinking it. At the very least, you’re not letting it affect your work or your mood after you get home.
As it turns out, you don’t get it.
With a limited mindset, you’re crushed. You feel cheated, you contemplate quitting, and you don’t know what your future holds. Worst of all, it’s not likely that you’ll take the time to learn what you could have done differently or what you can do next time to improve your chances.
Too often, people in a limited mindset just give up.
On the other hand, with an abundant mindset, you congratulate whoever did get the promotion because you’re genuinely happy for them. You talk to your boss to find out how they came to that decision, and you keep the lines of communication open about being interested in future promotions. Then you go about your business because you know that there will be other opportunities down the road.
That’s not to say having a mindset of abundance is easy; it’s absolutely not. But when you can achieve it, your life is more enjoyable and peaceful.
Trust me; I’m not fully there every day of my life yet. I’m not sure I know anybody who is. However, I think and journal about it enough that I can maintain that attitude reasonably sufficiently. There are moments when I lose it, but for the most part, I’m pretty good at remembering that there are always more days, more opportunities, and there’s always going to be enough to go around.
I didn’t create Sherpa as some answer to a sales strategy that I believed didn’t work. It’s a process that evolved through my own experience and from reading and learning from many resources.
Yes, other methodologies have influenced parts of it. I wouldn’t pretend otherwise.
But my approach comes from a lot of different places, not just sales. Martial arts, poker, philosophy, psychology. These things have influenced how I practice, the way I think, and the way I communicate. And, of course, the way I sell.
I know it can work for a lot of people because it works for me.
At first, I didn’t realize that, as my methods slowly improved, that they were changing my interactions with my partner, my family, and my friends. They were, though, for the better.
So when somebody asks me if I ever talk about anything other than sales, I just think about the fact that anybody can learn and relate to almost everything I talk about because it goes so far beyond sales. You just have to be open to listening about it and thinking about it on your own terms.
What is SHERPA? Read more about it here:
Helpful: Salespeople are Helpers Too
Empathetic: Empathy in Salespeople
Resolute: The Resolute Salesperson
Practiced: Why We All Need a Sales Dojo
Accepting: Learning to be More Accepting in Sales