If you want to change your results, you have to move out of your comfort zone and away from what makes you feel safe and secure.

Why Staying in Your Comfort Zone Hurts You

  • It created last year’s results and business relationships.
  • It keeps you from making new business relationships at higher decision-making levels.
  • It keeps you from asking the really important questions.
  • It often keeps you from learning and applying new skills.
    And, it keeps your sales results in the same place they’ve always been.

And There’s More

  • Security comes from repeatedly having the same interaction with your prospects that your competition has.
  • It keeps you from experiencing rejection, failure, disappointment, and awkward moments.
  • It delivers more of what you already have.
  • It helps you and your prospects avoid change.

The last bullet point is the most dangerous. Your pursuit of security in a prospect conversation keeps you from asking the questions that will help your prospects challenge the status quo. This might sound harsh, but if that’s how you’re approaching your prospects, you might as well stay home.

A simple step to help your prospects embrace change while you create more financial security in your sales career is to stop thinking you need to know the answer before you ask the question. The best sales calls have several “moments of truth” (even long pauses) where your prospect’s interest is peaked, and they’re thinking in a direction that wasn’t possible before given their mindset and strategy.

Stop Trying to Impress, Prove and Persuade

Many salespeople get so caught up trying to impress the decision-maker that they lose sign of the real value of the interaction. They spend an inordinate amount of time perfecting their product or service knowledge. I’m sure you’ve heard (or thought) it several times yourself: “You should have seen my presentation!”

News flash! With today’s deluge of information flow, presentations are mere cosmetics. If you want fleshy, in-depth change-provoking conversations, you need to welcome insecurity and ask deeper questions—even if you don’t know the answers. A small shift in your mindset will make all the difference. Rather than trying to impress the prospect by knowing it all, your goal should be to challenge your prospect’s status quo (security).

Think of it this way. What value do you get from conversations where someone spends hours “telling” you what you should do? The usual response is an obligatory head nod and a polite, “Great point, I’ll definitely consider it,” before the conversation dies. You’d respond very differently if that same person asked thoughtful questions that opened up a whole new realm of possibility and challenged your status quo. Conversations that help you derive the answer have a much greater impact.

Why Salespeople Back Away from Asking Tough Questions

  1. Knowledge:

    They don’t know what to ask. With training and role playing, anyone can overcome this hurdle.

  2. Ego:

    They know what to ask, but are afraid of offending the decision-maker and jeopardizing the possibility of building a friendship. But prospects aren’t looking for friends, and you shouldn’t be either. For sales professionals, any question that creates a moment of truth is an excellent question.

  3. Human nature:

    They are more comfortable avoiding the answer than uncovering it. They would rather play the sales game under the pretense of having a big fish (prospect) on the hook than be honest with themselves and come up with an empty line (no prospect at all). They convince themselves that there’s valor in the struggle with the “big fish” prospect, even if they become “the one that got away.”

If you want to take advantage of new-found business optimism this year, you’ll need to start feeling comfortable being uncomfortable. If asking a question makes you feel uneasy, there’s a good chance you should ask it.

Tip: Do one thing every day that stretches you outside your comfort zone. That’s roughly thirty things each month that will move you – and your results – forward.