A while ago I was introduced to an international sales trainer called Tom Hopkins. A friend and mentor of mine, Keith Raniere (www.keithraniere.com), recommended his book “How to Master the Art of Selling” to me. Do you ever read or hear something and it just connects with you? So much so that you almost feel like the person is talking directly to you and understands your problems? That’s what it was like for me when I read Tom Hopkins.
Tom Hopkins is special in my eyes for several reasons, not least because he has devised many highly effective sales techniques, which he teaches in way that is easy to understand. But the main reason I connect with his work is his concern and attention to the ethics of selling: it is this part that speaks to my soul.
It got me thinking about the people in my life that I sell to like my husband and my children. You may have never considered yourself a sales person, and you may even have a negative connotation of a sales person in your head. However have you ever considered that we’re always selling something, but perhaps not always for money? If I want my husband to take me out for dinner, quite often I have to sell the idea to him, usually because I expect him to pay. If I want my kids to start tennis lessons consistently, I have to sell the idea to them first as kids are normally hesitant to start something unless they think they’ll be good at it. If I want my girlfriend to join me in a new yoga class, I maybe have to sell it to her first, if she’s not a dedicated yogi like me.
It got me thinking about the responsibility that comes with being a good sales person and about how much of what I asked of people is about what is good for me, rather than what is good for them. In the past, when I had wanted Ryan to pay for something, or agree with me on something, do you think I instigated a conversation with him based on what his view of the situation was? Not usually. Did I find out what is important to him, so that I could find out if what I wanted from him matched his values? Probably not. How about the kids? Did I ever actually ask them what they wanted to do or did I just assume that I knew best because I was their mother?
Doesn’t it feel wonderful when you speak with someone and you feel like they really get you? Like they truly understand where you’re coming from? Aren’t you more willing to see their side of things, when you know that they have a desire to see yours? Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all took a little time to understand each other, just a little bit more?
When I adopted a new attitude to the people in my life, everything around me changed. I stopped trying to make people do the things I thought were good for them, and started listening a little bit more. I asked myself if what I wanted from them was actually good for them, before I approached them. And you know what happened? I actually started getting more good in my life. When I worked through of the fear of not getting what I wanted, there was less pressure, less stress and more joy and more peace, and ultimately, better relationships.
As always I’d love to hear your thoughts, feedback, comments and suggestions.