Sales conversations are opportunities to connect
Listening is one of the simplest and most effective ways to build connection. This is true for a job interview, a discovery session with a potential client, or a conversation with the manager of an organization you want to work with.
1. Start with your intention to serve
Connect to your desire to contribute to their well-being. Imagine the results you’ll create and visualize the happy faces of the people after they have worked with you. You can almost viscerally feel the relief, excitement and hope they have after they hired you. You are part of the solution, not the problem.
After you have centered yourself in your intention to serve, you are ready to listen to their goals and desires, and the challenges they face.
2. The simplest way of listening comes with silence
Just give your partner space to talk and be heard. This creates a safe space for self-connection. It also conveys the message that you are here for them. You’ll notice when it is time to reflect.
3. Repeat the literal words they used
Repeat the expressions that stood out, that seemed meaningful. This will often encourage your partner to delve deeper into their experience and share more. New facets of the issue come up.
4. Guess feeling and needs, when they seem complete
Some people are uncomfortable with reflection of feelings. They consider that soft, maybe weak, and they might feel vulnerable. If you sense their sensitivity, focus on guessing their needs. Needs are universally shared throughout space and time. We all have needs for connection, belonging, love, acceptance, to name a few (Click here for a list of needs). Many people feel relieved to receive understanding and acceptance of their needs. It helps them explore more deeply the different aspects of their issue.
If you practice listening like this, you don’t need to worry about your response or what to say. You have instant connection, while empowering your partner to find their own solutions. What more can you want?
You want to learn more about having sales conversations that nurture your need for integrity, contribution and connection? Contact me for a complimentary, discovery session. 512-589-0482
I wake up this morning, ready for my conversation with the director of an organization I want to work with.
Ready? Well. Not exactly. I feel grumpy, unmotivated and confused. It takes some effort to get moving. I take a shower and put on my snazzy outfit. My shirt looks shabby, my pants baggy. I put on my mascara. My eyes start tearing, the mascara gets smudged. I work on my eyebrows, they resist and keep hanging like downward dog. I look like a mess. And that’s just the outside.
The inside is even worse. I am anxious. I am sure I’ll screw up. Stutter, talk too much, be too pushy. Forget to ask the right questions. And sweat. Of course, sweat in my arm pits, for everyone to see.
And I need the income. I cannot afford to lose this lead. She has to hire me.
Then I hear this voice in my head “How can I help her? How can I help her help her clients? How can I add value and be part of the solution, how can I focus on serving her needs, instead of mine?”
A peace comes over me. This is not a sales conversation. This is a discovery session. Of two people figuring out if collaboration makes sense. She needs to assess whether she knows, likes and trusts me enough to engage me as a solution. I need to hear what her goals and challenges are to know if my services are a good match for her needs.
I remember an Irish saying “There are no strangers, only friends I’ve never met.”
I always loved that attitude. Just friends I’ve never met. She is not the big judge of my competence. She is a friend I’ve never met. She is a woman who might want my help to achieve her vision, dreams and goals. I am a woman who wants to contribute the best I can.
I left the conversation joyful, excited and honored that she asked me to write a proposal. She thinks I can help.
Do you want help with your team to achieve your vision and goals? Contact me for a complimentary, discovery session. I would be proud and honored to help. 512-589-0482
Trees (Photo credit: @Doug88888)
I venture out in the woods. I walk slowly. Carefully. Joyfully. I feel my feet touch the earth, and let the energy arise through me. Every step a connection to the earth. I enjoy the sun. The bright colors of the leaves: red, green, orange, yellow. My friend told me how rich she feels this time of year. The golden leaves fall on her, fill the streets with it’s riches. It’s golden abundance is available to everyone. I feel cherished and welcomed in the woods. Nurtured.
I have no plan. Just to spend 30 minutes in nature. I see a little creek I have never seen before. The heavy rains created it on the rocky path. Small, tenderly dripping away. It is quiet. Just the sounds of my breath, my footsteps, the breeze.
I hear a tree. It calls out to me. A juniper. It’s branches spread out wide and evenly. Inviting.
I hear my heart. Climb!
I hear my mind. NO!
I climb. One branch. Looping to the other side for the next branch. Avoiding getting stuck in the twigs. A next step. Taking a break.
My heart starts racing. I’m scared. I’m here on my own. I have no belay. If I fall, it might take hours before I’m found. I can’t afford a broken leg. I hug the tree. Lean into it. I feel how solid I am, how strong. I trust my body, myself. I take a next step. I feel fear. I rest, connect to my belly, to my heart. I respect my fear. I treat it with great reverence. It takes minutes. Then I take a next step. I see out over the tree tops. I see the valley, and all the autumn trees celebrating fall in splendid colors.
I rest. I celebrate. My agility. My trust. My strength. My fear. My steps.
This is how I run my business. One step. Feeling my fear. Leaning into life. Finding my balance. My solidity. My trust. Then a next step. Let fear arise, loneliness. Worries. Give them space to talk. Listen. With empathy and compassion. No fixing, reassuring, arguing. Just listen. Listen to life and how it supports me. Then a next step. No fighting the branches for being to far apart. No impatience with my fear. No comparing myself with other, faster climbers. That’s not my path.
My path is to experience what it is like to be me. My path is to experience which conditions support me. Take a step. Connect to what’s alive in me. And then a next step.
Business Plan in a Day book (Photo credit: Raymond Yee)
Do you ever force yourself to chunk along, because you think you have to? Do you ever find yourself on a path, that will probably lead you to the top, while not bring joy climbing it?
I did. With my business. I told my friend about my new business plan. Organized and tidy. Just two marketing strategies. Improving my website presence and finding speaking engagements. No more trainings for organizations, no more workshops, no more tele-classes, no more fun stuff for the sake of it. I felt satisfied. I liked the clarity. No more ambiguity, no more confusion about next steps.
My friend responded surprisingly different: “Elly, the last time you told me about your business, I heard such aliveness and enthusiasm. I heard such tenderness and care for this insecure Elly, taking beginners steps on the path of her unfolding business. Compassionate and accepting of herself. Now you sound forceful -structured for sure-, but not alive and you. It sounds as if your inner critic took over. He compared you with “successful” coaches and trainers and found you the lesser version.”
I love my friend! He is one of these people who see straight through me and embrace what they see with compassion.
I feel an excitement growing. What if I grow my business organically? What if I trust my own intuition? What if I take one step at the time? With a clear vision of whom I want to serve, why, and maybe less how? Just like I climbed the tree? I might never reach the top, but I’ll love the journey. A journey into self-connection. Into my vision and my fears. Into experiencing my business as an experiment. No attachment to results. Just learning. I feel the fear of failure arise in me. “I won’t make enough money. I’ll starve.” Yeah! The experiment is working!
I have a plan for my business. I venture out into the woods once a week. I bring my meditation bell, my crayons and my writing pad. I sit and listen. To the trees, the birds, the grass. To the wind, the silence, God. To my heart, my soul, myself. And then I’ll hear what to do for that week. I’ll do this for six months. Thàt’s my plan!
Want to boost your business? Create a package. Something unique, something special. Offer it at 10x your normal price. Suggested by Patrick Schwerdtfeger. (More suggestions at Write Nonfiction Now!)
What? My heart starts racing. My armpits start sweating, I’m getting excited.
I imagine a retreat center. In the mountains, beautiful and serene. Eagles fly in the sky, trees stand tall. The theme is failure applause. To celebrate our efforts, and accept our failures. To free us of attachment to results, comparison with others and to life now. Building blocks: Individual coaching. Healing work. Group sessions. Silent meditation and creative arts.
And ask $2000 for it? Are you kidding? I don’t think I add enough value to ask that! I don’t think I am better than any of the other fantastic coaches out there! I don’t think I am worth that money!
And yet… Something tickles me. No one needs to sign up for my package. I can see it as play. To play being a successful, confident business woman.
I giggle. I think of a game my sister and I played at my grandma’s house, when we were young.
My grandma lived in a park, opposite a castle. There were trees around the house, a lake, rhododendrons. Visitors strolled on the premises, enjoying the beauty.
My sister and I would get dressed up in long, white dresses. Fancy shoes, lace gloves, brimmed hats. Then walk up and down the balcony, waving at people passing by. Graciously. Self-confident. Happy. We are princesses. We smile, and they smile back. What I never had the courage to do in normal life, I am perfectly happy to do in play.
Life is play. My business is play. I create a unique offer and ask 10x of what I feel comfortable with. Just for fun. I smile. I see people smile back.