In light of all that is happening today, I am writing a series of blogs on MINDSETS. As sales professionals we recognize the impact of Mindsets when we plan our days, when we consult with customers, and when we provide value. In sales, mindsets are essential, as they signify how top professionals THINK – how they approach their work with customers…. how they “see” things. It is the inner game that is so critical to the impact and results we generate.
This series highlights short messages on the mindsets our research has uncovered are essential in sales. And today's focus is having a CATALYST mindset!
Catalyst - a substance that causes or speeds a chemical reaction without itself being affected. A person or thing that precipitates an event or change.
The world of sales has always been characterized by one’s ability to persuade. While persuasion remains a strong skill in the sales professional’s arsenal, a more distinguishing mindset is how they see change. That is, the very best don't just adapt to change, a critical skill based on what all of us are experiencing considering today’s pandemic. But it is more than that.
Having a Catalyst Mindset today is just as important. The best salespeople help create change in positive ways. They continually ask themselves:
- How do I influence change with my customers?
- How can I help my customer improve their world?
- How can the product or service I offer best serve my customer?
By doing so, they aren't simply being opportunistic, but transformative – they want to help inspire a shift in the way things are done.
I refer to this mindset of top salespeople as one of a "catalyst," or a change agent. Catalysts are always looking for ways to bring about positive change. They are problem finders and idea seekers. They have an intense curiosity around the business dynamics and strategic issues in play. Often, this begins by helping the customer see their situation, or a potential development, in a completely different light.
For instance, you may ask a potential buyer what will happen if they fail to address a key issue, or what the implications of their current decisions will be, or how their future could be different from the reality they are dealing with now. All salespeople do this to a certain degree, but the best ones take it further; they don't just ask questions, but actually challenge buyers in a thought-provoking way.
Catalyst-minded sales professionals have a vision for what the customer can be. They seek to be business advisors. They help the customer anticipate the future and help them plan how to get there. They frame and synthesize ideas wisely, particularly when there are many issues on the table. They bring clarity to complexity. They are mentally nimble, able to process all that they hear and then adapt their thinking real time.
Sales professionals who are change agents also like to be provocative and “edgy.” They like to “stir-the-pot” with ideas and possibilities. They encourage and welcome debate knowing that fierce debate generates better solutions. They are intimate about the customer’s business and are eager to be considered an instrumental part of the team.
Being a change agent requires you to hold a deep yearning to make a lasting impact for those you serve. The best salespeople are action-oriented. They are happiest when they are moving projects and ideas forward, and when they are genuinely serving the best interests of the customer. They aren't afraid to embrace new situations and viewpoints.
Do you exhibit a Catalyst Mindset?