Dad, When Do We Get There?


“Dad! When do we get there?!?!”  

“Stop asking me!  We will get there when we get there!” 

That’s what my Dad used to say to us, sequestered in the back seat of an unairconditioned family truckster heading to Grandma’s Florida retreat.  We wanted answers and didn’t know where else to go for them.

There was a map, folded in a variety of permutations, and a clock on the dashboard that, if it still worked and you were past the seventh grade, gave you the knowledge to combine those two tools into a reasonable idea of just “how long?”

Now where is this going Hippo-man?  Realize what I’m going to say is to the detriment of part of what I do and what many out there clearly make their living doing:  sales enablement, sales coaching, sales coach-sulting. But what I have to say is:  

Stop asking me!  Stop asking any of us “how do we get there?”

Ask your client.  Ask your prospect.  Ask them for directions.

There are a lot of really smart sales professionals out there, much smarter and way more well known than I.  They are the best.  I learn from them just like you do, and what I rarely hear is this: seek your counterpoint’s agenda first.  Find out how they want to move forward with what’s possible for them. 

There are tactics galore about how to ask the right questions, when to make a move in a sales process, where best to connect with an elusive contact, what to send them once you’ve stalked and located them.  Does anyone ever actually just ask them for guidance on how they want to be approached?  How do they want to be treated?  What is their agenda and can you allow it to supersede yours?  Rarely.  

Here’s an idea — I’ve recently challenged some of my emerging sales professionals to ask just two questions at the end of any call when connecting with a prospective or current client:  

“What would have made this call better for you?”

“What would make any call better for you?”

(In fact, I made a short video about it. Check it out here for more details on this concept)

Let’s start with what they want out of a sales or cold call.  Wouldn’t that be cool?  If 58% of buyers say that cold calls are a waste of time and 63% of sales professionals say that cold (warm probably too) calls are the least satisfying part of their job, then how can we ever connect to cocreate really exciting new journeys for each other?  Where do we start?  By asking them!  Your client or prospect may surprise you.  Let’s continue to move this movement forward, let’s create the new sales call.  One that both parties want to be on together because it leads to exciting ideas and change (and maybe exciting vacation destinations?).  Go ahead and get in the car.  You can figure out who gets to hold the map once you’ve decided on where your client wants to go.

I guide emerging sales professionals to build trust, become more relevant, and surpass their competitors, thereby creating the ultimate personal, professional, and financial success for them and their businesses.”  What could your next version of you, the emerging sales professional, be like if your approach was to focus on another’s agenda first? Here’s a link to start creating that discussion right now!

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