While recently leading a webinar I mentioned how creativity, which I consider one of many selling strengths, can work against me. Being creative helps me solve client problems and present ideas in ways that help others understand. Creating is also something that comes naturally. At times though, it can slow me down.
If you don’t know how to tame the selling strengths that work against you, you will end up trying to drive sales with a parking brake on. Let me explain how five selling strengths could be acting as a brake without you knowing about it.
Creativity – I shared with my webinar audience that I create detailed proposals that outline the work I will deliver for a client. The proposal includes milestones, tasks, assignment of responsibility, and what will be delivered. In essence, I CREATE a project plan, which is good. How my creativity can work against me is if I start re-writing the project plan just before the project starts. There are two big problems with this. I’m now doing the same work twice and the client has not signed off on my new approach. I don’t need a new approach, the proposal will work just fine. Being aware does not stop me from starting an unnecessary creation, but it has allowed me to catch myself before things go too far. It’s actually kind of funny when I catch myself.
Perseverance – How in the heck can perseverance work against us? Those of us that have heard our clients and customers thank us for following up with them, know that this is a strength. Keep using it in the right manner. The way perseverance can work against us is when we don’t know when to let go of an unqualified prospect or one that is not ready to buy. I’m not suggesting to stop following up, but you might spend less time calling, emailing and stopping by in hopes that you can speed up a process that won’t be sped up. Spending time with people in hopes of moving a timeline that will not move or create a budget that is not there will keep you from finding a prospect that is ready to buy. Use your automated email messages to keep in touch with your long-term prospects and spend your time on people who are qualified or ready to buy.
Intuition – This one is tricky. There are times when we need that gut feeling to help us take a chance. After analyzing our discovery data, we might need our intuition to help us decide on our next move. When intuition might work against us is when we over-think our feelings or we lean on our intuition instead of doing our job right by collecting objective facts during discovery. Intuition can work against us when we “feel” our main contact will convince everyone on his decision-making team to buy instead of doing our job by meeting everyone and doing our own selling. Another scenario is when deals start pouring in and we stop doing the hard work that led to the selling bonanza in the first place, because we “feel” and “believe” anyone we talk to will buy. We can let our positive feelings keep us from doing our proactive prospecting work during a good run. We are usually brought back to earth when we have a bad selling quarter or two and our paycheck reflects it.
Leadership – Taking the lead in the sales process can help you and the buyer find a decision point. Following your process and leading your prospect along the way is a selling strength. When leadership can work against you, is when you have a controlling leadership style. That can be when things have to be exactly the way you want them to be and you “force” your buyers into your process rather than using your process to guide your buyers’ decision. A sales process is a group of mileposts that help us know where we are along the way to a sale. They are not a set of rules and regulations our buyers must follow to work with us. Utilize humble leadership and allow people to follow along.
Analyzing/Research – I love when salespeople take the time to do their selling research and learn about their prospects and clients. They analyze information to help them take the next step in the sale. When you overanalyze a solution, approach or message you turn this selling strength into a weakness. Use your strength of analytics to gain an objective perspective, then make a decision. Be careful to not be someone that seeks more research than is needed to take your next step. Set a specific outcome when you begin analyzing and researching then stop when you attain it.
Other selling strengths include facilitation, client and team collaboration, communication (written and verbal), patience, urgency, planning and many more. What are your strengths? How are they working for you? Are there times when they might be working against you?
We are privileged to be salespeople. It is an awesome career with a “sky’s the limit” potential. Keep learning and getting better so you can help more people get what they want and experience yourself getting what you want.