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When we work with sales teams, we often see a split reaction to our training from the sales reps.

Some (group 1) will adopt what we teach right away, and stay very committed to it. Either it just makes sense to them, or they were in enough pain from their “regular” way of doing things. Others (group 2) will reject what we teach outright. Either because what they are currently doing is working fine, or because above all else, they fear change, and the uncomfortable that comes with it. Group 3 will stick their toe in the water, trying some of the tactical approaches we trained them, and maybe even really locking into the psychology of what we taught as a way to guide future tactical approaches. That third group faces the most difficult challenge in embracing change…..sticking to it long enough to have it start working. (BTW, this exactly parallels the 3 reactions of all prospects.)

I ‘ve named these three groups:

Group 1 – TWW – This Will Work

Group 2 – IWW – It Won’t Work

Group 3 – IMW – It Might Work

Any time someone learns a new skill, be it swinging a tennis racket, swimming laps in a pool, or using a new approach to cold calls, it will initially feel very uncomfortable. If you’re in group 1, you’ve already hit the belief threshold of knowing that the new approach is effective, you usually just surf right through that period of discomfort. If you decided up front that the new approach is feckless (group 2), you won’t even try anything uncomfortable. If you land in the third group, you face a leap of faith in trying to get comfortable with the new approach before being fully convinced that it will work.

Typically, no one becomes a member of group 1 for something without having spent some time in group 3 (at that, or something else). Repetition, long enough to get through the period of discomfort makes them a convert. I am a perfect example of this for the sales process that I teach. I was a reluctant experimenter when it was first trained into me. Now, I’m a devout practitioner because of what my experiences taught me. I was wrong to be reluctant, and I was wrong to doubt.

I was wrong.

That’s not an easy thing to admit for most people, even to themselves. It’s much easier to choose to experience discomfort as proof that we were right. It is way harder to push through discomfort long enough to get objective data on efficacy. I wasn’t wrong for having doubts, or needing to see verifiable data to support a new approach. I was just factually incorrect about what was powering the doubts. That’s all.

Being in group 2 or group 3 comes down to a choice. A conscious choice to be open to being wrong that overrides the default or reflex unconscious choice to not risk being wrong.

The right attitude powers us to the correct and most powerful behaviors. I’ve chosen to name this specific attitude the “not about you” rule.

It’s not about you. It’s not about you being comfortable, and it is certainly not about protecting your feelings from occasionally being wrong. It’s about doing the right thing, even if that thing is uncomfortable in the short term, and especially when that thing offers you verifiable data that is in direct opposition to your sense of comfort. The objective data does not care about the particular tint of your rose-colored lenses.And yes, this applies to your client conversations as well. Your comfort level with the topic, your preferences of presentation slides, and your priorities are not the subject of conversation that matters. You are managing a conversation that potentially leads to asking them to trust you enough to part with their money and give it to you. THEIR agenda is what should lead the dance. Not yours. Now you know.