Because your job as a salesperson is repetitive when it comes to prospecting, over time you can easily become stuck in a number of comfort zones related to attitudes, techniques, behavior, and performance. If you have read my book, Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word, I generically addressed comfort zones on pages 49-51. Here is an excerpt from that segment of the book:
“What is a sales comfort zone? It’s the routines you follow, the phrases you use, and the closes you attempt. In other words, a comfort zone is the place where everything is second nature and comfortable. Outside this zone is uncharted territory, and although things might work more effectively there, you don’t feel as secure.”
With that in mind, today I want to zero in on some common comfort zones related to PROSPECTING that may be tripping you up.
1. Having nonproductive routines that consume lots of time and keep you from real prospecting
Do you get caught up in spending too much time shuffling paper, cleaning out your car, reorganizing brochures and literature, or hanging around the branch front office? Regardless what the activities are, unless they are directly connected to prospecting, proposing and closing, they should be kept to a bare minimum so you can keep the main thing the main thing.
2. Unwillingness to prospect using methods and resources you are unfamiliar with
As an example, recently I provided a 2-page handout containing 56 off-season prospecting ideas to 3 pest management industry training groups that I conduct online sales coaching for each week. I asked each outside salesperson to choose just 3 of these ideas and commit to try them, recommending that they be ideas that were new and unfamiliar. (These 3 training groups contain a total of 35 salespeople.) But when we discussed their choices the following week most of the reps chose ideas they were already familiar with and/or already using during their off season selling.
31 of the 56 ideas were not chosen by anyone!
You might recall that “if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting,” and most salespeople aren’t satisfied with what they’re getting, especially during the off-season.
3. Proposing only the products or services you have experience with and are comfortable discussing
Are you fearful of talking to residential homeowners or commercial buyers about collateral services simply because you’ve not proposed them before and don’t want to look or sound stupid? Do you avoid talking about these services to certain folks because you’ve financially prejudged them and feel they can’t afford them? This type of comfort zone is costing you more money that you know. Let ‘er rip and give them a dose of everything they need and let them make up their own mind.
4. Calling only on prospects and customers that you think will give you a warm reception
Is it possible that you have a fear of failure with certain age groups, ethnic groups, financial groups, or others you might be nervous about approaching? Does your comfort zone only include folks that look and talk like you? Come on, become an equal-opportunity salesperson and break out of that comfort zone.
5. Believing that your total sales revenue will be less during the off season when leads are scarce
Have you been listening to the “elder statesmen” in your sales room who have informed you that with very few office leads during the off season that it’s just not possible to sell as much as during the “on” season? Has that become your belief and therefore one of your comfort zones?
That’s very interesting, as I was also presented that argument a few years ago when I was a sales coach for one division of a large national services company. So I decided to simply analyze actual company sales reports and discovered that 80% of the reps did sell less during the off season. But 20% sold more! They all had basically the same products and services to offer at about the same prices. The difference was that the 20% realized they had to self-generate more appointments by trying lots of different creative selling ideas…and they did! If 1 out of 5 can do that, 5 of 5 can do that. That’s a comfort zone you must train yourself to work through.
Now I don’t pretend that these five are the only prospecting comfort zones plaguing sales people, but they are certainly common manifestations that I encounter with regularity as I train and coach. So as we close today’s post maybe you should ask and answer for yourself the following questions:
Which of these comfort zones are affecting your sales performance?
How are they sabotaging your sales success and impacting your career?
What will you do to improve your results in these areas?
————–Is This a Coincidence? —————
The 2016 sales results (ranked by growth %) have been released for a large company, where 13 of their franchise owners use me to conduct weekly online sales coaching. In the large branch category, seven out of ten locations, the #1, #2, #4, #5, #7, #8, & #9 growth franchises, all with double-digit 2016 growth, are clients of mine. Take a few minutes and look here to determine if this is a coincidence. Oh, I also coach the #1 growth location in the small branch category!