New Year, New Sight
As I pen these thoughts, I’m sitting on a beach, listening to the cricket, watching the waves crash in front of me, and feeling very grateful for all I have celebrated and experienced throughout the past year. So, what is around the corner, economically, politically, socially and environmentally? I’m not sure. Many of these things are out of my control, how will Brexit impact global trade? When my US sisters and brothers vote in November, who will they elect? And what will the Olympic Games do for the Japanese economy? The question of what is going to happen in 2020 matched with the pun about 20/20 vision is quite alluring but from a sales lens I want to slightly alter this perspective.
What is 20/20 Vision?
Many others have written about having 20/20 vision for 2020 and that is great and timely, but I want to think about this from a slightly different perspective. If I asked my ophthalmologist friend what is actually meant by the term 20/20 vision they would give me an explanation that went along the following lines. 20/20 vision is the standard measure of “normal” visual acuteness, it is the ability to recognise characters of a size on a chart (as in the graphic above) at a distance of 20ft (or 6m). In other words, a person with 20/20 vision can see what an average individual can see on an eye chart when they are standing 20 feet away. However, this is purely a measure of sharpness or clarity. There are many other factors that impact upon ‘perfect vision”, these would include peripheral awareness, depth perception, focusing ability and colour vision.
Changing your vision in 2020
Sales leaders perform exceptionally well in motivating a team, providing insightful tactics and backing this all up with rich data. There is the sharpness of 20/20 vision. My challenge for salespeople is to enhance your ability through three simple suggestions, to improve results and create more insightful business relationships.
- Peripheral Awareness
When we are deep in the mechanics and negotiations of the sales process, often we can have such focussed vison we cannot see how things are changing on the sideline of the field on which we are playing. Ask yourself the following, how deep are your relationships beyond the key buyer? Do you have an executive sponsor, an internal coach, backing from finance, operations, technology and a power user? Many of us in sales have been left powerless in negotiations when our key contact leaves a business or is moved off a project. Ensure you have a multitiered relationship within any business. You need to be aware of what is going on around you at all times.
- Depth Perception
A few years ago, I had an acquaintance who was been negotiating with Australia’s largest taxi company for a significant telephony contract. He had signed a Heads of Agreement and was beginning to roll out the initial test site. One morning he received a call from the CIO telling him the project was on hold, when the crushed salesperson asked why, the CIO replied, “Have you heard of this thing called Uber?”. Be very conscious and aware of deeply understanding the business you are dealing with, the happenings in their (ie the customer’s) industry and any external factors (regulatory, compliance and economic) that could possible impact upon your sale. Salespeople need to be informed broadly on geopolitical and business matters. That is the depth that is required.
- Colour Vision
Occasionally we get caught in our own little world, media organisations discussing politics like to refer to it as the Canberra or Washington bubble. The same thing can happen in the world of sales. We talk to our sales manager, our sales director and our fellow salespeople about a prospect or a deal. However, in every business there is a myriad of other professionals who can provide insight and commentary to assist. Think of utilising marketing teams, customer service, solutions consultants, HR and finance teams. Every person in your organisation has a differing background, a differing network and a differing perspective. Engage broadly, move out of the bubble, learn from the collective wisdom of your organisation. Don’t be colour blind but benefit from the rainbow of experience shining over the business you work in each day.
By adding peripheral view, depth awareness and colour vision to your sales skills – the benefits are significant. We always need to have the skill of being able to read the sales chart from 20 feet away but there is so much more. Keep learning, engage deeply with your prospects, stay abreast of what is happening in the broader business world and connect via LinkedIn with your non-sales peers. Stay focused on the metrics but realise that the professional salesperson needs so much more in a customer-centric, technology driven world.