Take Cara, one of the salespeople I’ve coached for years. When I started coaching her, she could have been the poster child for self-absorbed people, it was killing her sales and she didn’t even know it. She would make statements to me like, “Ultimately, Matthew, I don’t care about the clients, I just want the money and the glory of making the sale!” and “I’m not sure I want to be selfless. Why do I always have to give my attention to the clients? Why can’t they be concerned about me?”
Obviously, Cara constantly met with resistance because she was always more concerned with how she looked, if she was right, what the clients and other salespeople thought of her, and so on. She never even thought of, let alone focused on, serving the client’s needs. She did just enough to make the sale. And people saw and felt that about her. Some people would buy, but most people were hostile and defensive around Cara. Not just her clients, but everyone else, too. Her fellow associates were cordial at best. Her boss was afraid to tell her the truth because she was such a prima donna. If things didn’t go her way she would throw a temper tantrum like a four-year-old. Even Cara’s husband took second place to her desires for attention and glory. Cara always looked for what was in it for her; she never cared about anybody else’s needs.
This isn’t bad … it’s just not effective if your livelihood depends on discovering what people want and helping them get it. Here’s the good news: Cara finally became ready for a change. She felt the resistance all around her and was getting sick of the feelings of frustration and anger.
It only took about six months of coaching before I started breaking through her armor. After many conversations, it became evident to Cara that her selfishness was really her way of protecting herself. Even though no one was attacking her, she was going to make sure she got what was hers before someone had a chance to rob her of it. You can see the problem here, can’t you? Cara attacked first. Yet none of her clients knew it was a battle. And her behavior became self-reinforcing. She would attack people, they would attack back, and then she would say, “Good thing I attacked first!”
Finally I convinced Cara to just test being aware of other people’s needs. She didn’t have to commit to being that way forever, just an experiment. I convinced her that she was going to be rewarded heavily by the universe if she would be willing to put her own needs aside and really be there for the client. She liked the idea of being heavily rewarded by the universe, so she gave it a test.
On sales presentations, she began taking her needs and her concerns about how good she looked or what the clients thought of her out of the forefront of her mind. She began putting the clients’ needs at the top of her mind. Every time she began to judge herself or started protecting herself, she returned her thoughts back to the clients’ needs.
She found herself instantly being more patient with people. Suddenly her prospects were being much nicer to her and people were being far less adversarial. The people in her life responded to the new Cara with kindness, love, generosity, and contribution. Wild dreams that she had been keeping to herself started manifesting everywhere in her life. Opportunities she hadn’t even dreamed about began to manifest. Ultimately (with my coaching) she increased her business 33.3 percent in one year—but surprisingly, she worked 20 percent fewer days!
Start right now dismissing all concerns for your “self” and instead become concerned with your clients’ needs and desires. To do this you must put your focus and awareness on their needs, wants, and desires. This means leaving behind your own concerns. Forget about how you are doing, what they are thinking of you, and all the judgments you are constantly making about yourself. With all that chatter happening, you aren’t paying attention to your clients.
Give up all of your ideas about how your interaction is “supposed” to be. The bottom line is that you will never be able to stop judging yourself, the situation, and the client. Our nature is to make comparisons. As a Conscious Salesperson, recognize that the chatter in your head is almost always designed to protect you—The problem and that no one is attacking. When these thoughts occur, simply thank your mind for sharing its insight and move your focus back to the client. Stop listening and paying attention to the judgments constantly going on in your head.
Once you have practiced ignoring the constant judging and assessing for a couple of weeks, magic happens. The chatter begins to sound different or even disappear.
When the chatter (your concerns, judgments, ideas and comparisons) disappears, true communication becomes possible. You connect with people on a profound level. You will feel like they are communicating with you telepathically. In essence, they will be. When you quiet the mind and just “be,” you will become aware of the thousands of subtle signals emanating from your client.
True communication becomes possible when your awareness of yourself disappears. Only then will your awareness of your clients’ true intentions become apparent. When their intent is clear, you can serve them with the least amount of resistance.