The best relationships in life have one clear thing in common.
There is a complimentary toolset that each person brings on the journey.
No one person is better than the other. Sometimes the tools one person has will be used and other times it’ll be the opposite. Oftentimes, the tools will work together to create something useful and generous.
If we think about relationships this way and work to keep them balanced then we’ll be better served as we deepen the connection and forge ahead.
We can certainly take our toolset and go along the journey alone but that doesn’t appear to make for the most fun and exciting adventure.
Those moments need to be shared and we should strive often to seek out those people to share them with.
What is it that makes us feel so sure about some people while others are hard to figure out and they make it difficult for us to bring them into our circle?
It’s about showing up.
It’s showing up with energy and attention.
It’s showing up when they know we need them.
It’s showing up when it’s not convenient.
It’s showing up with acceptance and an open mind.
It’s sometimes showing up and being silent.
It’s trust and respect at its core.
It’s understanding that it’s mutually beneficial for both parties.
It can’t always be one-sided.
We lost the great John Madden at the end of 2021 and it made me reflect on the impact we can all make, not by being an “influencer” or by showing off but just by living life to the fullest and respecting those around us.
John Madden, from what it appeared, was beloved by many because of how gracious he was with his time, how much passion he put into his work and the people he was around, and how he enjoyed it all.
Life can get overcomplicated and we can overwhelm ourselves with things that don’t end up mattering at all. We add unnecessary stress and anxiety where it’s not needed.
Do what John Madden might have done.
Go to the chalkboard.
Go back to the Xs and Os and the foundation of it all.
Keep it simple.
Be kind to people.
Make the most of each moment and each encounter.
Create a positive outlook on life as things could be much worse than they are.
Push yourself to try new things and tackle new obstacles.
Live your happiness, not anyone else’s.
I was dropping in on a CrossFit class in Austin recently and noticed that while we were working out as a group, one of the members of the CrossFit gym arrived and walked by all of us. She was greeted with several hellos and high fives and the mood in the room lightened even though we were engaged in an intense workout.
I don’t know anything about her but I could tell she was respected.
Respect can be earned in many different ways but at its core, it’s based on our character and how the world perceives us. It’s a reflection of many things.
None of us are great in all of these areas but it’s the recognition of those weaknesses and the willingness to improve that might be the most important part of all of this.
Because when we respect ourselves and make a commitment to improving that becomes glaring to the people around us that know us best.
After his life as a consulting actuary to Fortune 100 Companies, David built the world’s largest coaching business, becoming #1 on Google for “life coaching.”
Discovering that Shiny-Object-Syndrome is an epidemic among high performers, David coaches rock-star business owners to double revenue, achieve more in less time, and be a more extraordinary entrepreneur, partner, parent, and leader.
If you enjoyed this interview you may also like my first interview with David on the Just Get Started Podcast –David Wood on Episode #144
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The frustrating thing when you are selling anything is that sometimes the person buying doesn’t always work on the same timeline or priority level you want it to be at.
Although you may think highly of your product it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s high on their list right now.
Empathy and respect for others’ situations go a long way in establishing trust which in turn provides more transparency in our interactions with others.
More transparency means we may not always like the decision or length of time it takes to bring the partnership together but we can at least be confident we’ll get the full story and not be left hanging.
Sales are hard but if we also remember that sales are human it can make it a lot easier to step across the aisle and put ourselves in their shoes for a minute. If we can understand what they might be dealing with we now can take the role of an advisor or friend versus a salesperson.
There are definitely times we need to be alone. Sometimes we need a breather from everyone else. Disconnecting from the world can be healthy for our mental state.
But, we shouldn’t hang out there too long. There are tremendous benefits from being around people who are on our side and support us. We all strive for belonging and we benefit from being able to converse with people that can listen and help us when we need it.
But, ultimately, we have to take the leap and ask for that help because most people may not know that we need it. That can be the hardest thing to do. Asking, reaching out a hand, being vulnerable. We think it makes us look weak but it can be one of the most courageous things we can do.
Next time we are scared, helpless, or feeling off a bit we have to try and take a leap of faith and be courageous. Phone a friend. Ask for help. It’s amazing how quickly they’ll jump to be there for us.
In these circumstances, the opportunities that can come from working as a team far outweigh anything we can do alone.
Some people see a wall color as green. Others see it as blue. The exact same wall on the exact same day standing in the exact same place.
We have only two choices.
We can argue that we are right and the other person is obviously wrong, flawed, and shouldn’t be trusted.
Or, we can agree that our perspectives are different. We may not be sure exactly how they came to that conclusion but either way we respect where they are coming from. Their vantage point may be different than ours because we come from different backgrounds, different experiences, and different belief systems.
It’s not that it’s wrong. It’s just an alternative viewpoint.
It’d be an interesting and curious world if we took the latter option more often.
In any planned first encounter, it can be highly important to spend some amount of time preparing. This can be true on a first date, an interview for a job, a podcast interview, etc.
First impressions are everything as they say. In our world, as it exists today, not preparing is lazy.
Years ago it was perfectly acceptable to take this approach because it might have been uber-difficult to search for any information. The people who went above and beyond and did some reconnaissance work prior often had the upper hand.
There is so much information available that starting at “square one” makes the person receiving our message or question feel like we don’t care as much. Like we didn’t put any work into this relationship. Like we are just treating them like another number.
That doesn’t fly anymore. We know less is more. High-quality conversations with high-quality people are what we are striving for.
Next time, remember that the more we are prepared with knowledge on the person, company, or otherwise, we are getting a head start to help build confidence, connection, and respect on a much deeper level with the person on the other side.
And who knows, maybe they prepared for the conversation with you, too.
You don’t need me to tell you this but this is a TON of information out there on the sales profession and a million different opinions on what you should do and how you should do it. From prospecting new clients to navigating the sales cycle, to follow-ups and referrals, it’s borderline exhausting. It’s a big topic, I get it. But it can also be confusing for a lot of the new people that are trying to sell products whether you are “carrying your own bag” for an organization, are running your own business, or are pitching investors and gaining proof-of-concept in a start-up. I think there is an easier way.
I want to strip that all away for a moment and focus on the key characteristics that I feel are essential across the board for any sales professional to succeed. I’ve seen it first hand and it’s not complicated. It’s just logical and takes time to refine and sharpen. However, if you put the time into each and every one of these I am confident that you’ll be able to reach new heights in your career and start to understand the relationship element that is so vital in any partnership.
We are in a new era of sales with much more information out there for the buyer, and frankly, a much savvier buyer which I love. The reason I love it is because human interaction and relationships matter again. Honesty matters. Integrity matters. Respect matters.
I don’t think these things ever went away but a lot of software products were ahead of their time before the client could actually form an opinion and do thorough due diligence. Now, with much more information at their fingertips and the curve from innovators moving to the early and late majority there is more of a level playing field and buyers are back in control.
Times are changing and I feel this new age of sales is going to weed out a lot of those sales professionals that stick with the old way of doing it and fail to make the shift. You are going to have to have true empathy, you are going to actually put the client first, you are going to be professional and brutally honest in your responses when you can do something and when you can’t.
I think the hardest part about sales is all of the BS and bad habits people have learned for years that they try to wedge, fit, or shimmy into an already broken process. They drive to regurgitate what they learned in a book 10 years ago. It doesn’t work that way anymore. People are too smart. That all changes today.
I don’t have all the answers, far from it, but what I do feel I have uncovered is a clear path that new and old sales professionals alike can be cognizant of and continue to build on as they develop their “in-game’ skills. These are not tricks and tactics but the characteristics that will be paramount to future success. None of these should be a surprise but I hope they make you think a bit more about how you project yourself in your business dealings and where you can find areas to improve.
Here are the main areas I am going to focus on:
Over the next 8-part series I’ll break into each of these areas, share some personal stories, and hopefully get you to focus inward on self-awareness and how we can improve in all of these areas. Like a video game, we all have different levels of each of these, and some rank higher in certain areas than others. I expect you to be strong in some and weak in others. What is important is that we know we can improve in all of these areas and my goal is to get you to think differently about each and every one of these and how it applies toward working through partnerships in your sales career going forward.