How Much Control Do We have

I was reading yesterday morning and getting my attitude on, and I read about control. In particular I read how it is important to recognize what we can control (and focus there) vs. what we can’t control, (great way to get frustrated). And, that led me to think of my chosen profession, selling and business development.

If you think about it, traditionally sales people were hired to control the thinking of others to get them to change their minds and to make a purchase. Yet, how many of my fellow professionals can say, “The buyer is in my control”? I read a quote by Seth Godin the other day talking about surfing (not on the web) that captured the sales process well. It is kind of like riding a wave where you are controlling the board but the wave is a little out of control.

So here is my conclusion, I don’t think we are here to control the sale or the buyer.  (I welcome your letters) We are here to control the process to the extent that we can by controlling our part. (We can’t control what they do). My job is to open the mind, discover the pain or need, help the buyer visualize a solution, and present my products possibilities so that they can change their own mind, while asking for a commitment.  This is high level. In the moment, we are controlling our ego, our curiosity, our ability to stay focused on their solution vs. our sale and so on.

I cannot tell you how many great presentations and proposals I have delivered. Where we had the pain identified, we proposed specifically to that pain, we had a compelling offer and we had rapport; and yet, they chose another solution. (Not always to their benefit, I might add.)

I can’t control the sale – I can only control my part in it. That means staying focused on the behaviors that contribute to the process:

–   Getting their attention
–   Asking good questions
–   Focus on their solutions
–   Listening attentively
–   Clarifying
–   Presenting to their needs
–   Asking for the business
–   Dealing with objections
–   And so on

What are you trying to control that you can’t? What can you control that you are not trying to?

One Comment:

  1. Hi John,

    You can only control certain things. When I believe that a salesperson is trying to control me, I rebel. I do not want to be controlled; and I don’t want to be sold to. The smartest thing that a sales person can do is to truly understand me and my problems, and then offer solutions to those problems. I don’t need a salesperson to buy “off the rack”. I need a sales person to help craft the solution to my specific problem.

    Thanks for another great entry!


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