Try solving the exercise below. Without lifting your pen from the paper, connect all the dots using only four straight lines. If you stay within the confines of the perimeter (comfort zone), the exercise is impossible to solve. If you go outside it, the solution quickly becomes clear.
Even if you’ve seen this puzzle before and know the answer, ask yourself how often you actually work outside your comfort zone during sales appointments?
What is a sales comfort zone? It’s the way you work, 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.
Once you’ve settled in for the night and start watching television or reading a book in your easy chair, after kicking off your shoes, how cheerful are you if Honey asks you to run to the store to pick up a missing ingredient for a dish she promised to take to an office breakfast tomorrow morning?
Comfort zones are the natural barriers or roadblocks to your mind. Even when you try to change attitudes or habits, you run smack into them like a retaining wall. Something inside silently says, I like things just the way they are!
Unfortunately, the world of selling is no longer comfortable. Both the marketplace and the economy have changed, and competition is much more intense. Real estate agents must sell rather than just list property and wait for a commission check. Reps who sell services have to make more cold prospecting calls rather than just waiting for sales leads to come to them. Gravity works and continually tugs on everyone!
It appears there are three roadblocks that make it hard for salespeople to change their modus operandi:
Derision or the fear of being ridiculed occurs when you have a lot of discomfort because you fear looking foolish. I know a lady who was assigned a smartphone by her boss to use during working hours, but she couldn’t check her voicemail because she didn’t know the password. She refused to ask the boss, for fear she would be ridiculed, so she asked several colleagues until someone was able to help her figure it out. New technology took her outside her comfort zone, making her extremely uncomfortable, but change is a fact of life. Therefore, when battling derision, how you react to change is more a matter of attitude than anything else.
Disapproval from colleagues and well-meaning relatives is also an obstacle. Those closest to you are sometimes the ones who often discourage you from trying to attain your goals. You might call them dream destroyers since they’re the ones who always seem to find something wrong with your plans. They point out to you all the reasons why something you want to try won’t succeed. You must remember that the bottom line with these folks is that they don’t want you to become more successful than them, so you should affirm to yourself that you refuse to allow anybody to rain on your parade.
Disaster is the third barrier that comes to mind. This fear rears its ugly head when you think about what you don’t want to happen in the future or dwell on what may have happened in the past. If you never fail, it means you’ve never taken any action. Open up your mind, commit to follow through and systematically claw your way over the comfort zone barrier to obtain your objectives. Remember that discouragement and failure are simply two stepping stones to success.
When people are honest, they will admit a willingness to die rather than move from their comfort zones. The newsflash is that often you must operate in unfamiliar territory in order to succeed.
Try making a list of all the things you want to do or improve in your sales career, the results you want to achieve, and how you will go about accomplishing them. Then, begin to take the next step in making those a reality by beginning to break away from the old and rusty sales habits that have built up over time.
Beating a comfort zone is one topic Doug addresses in his book, Sell is NOT a Four Letter Word. The good news is that he also covers 115 other helpful topics, all for only $16. Check out the Table of Contents before you order. And by the way, shipping is FREE.
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