In case you forgot, Mother’s day is only a few days away. If that suddenly caused a feeling of panic in your gut, relax, you still have time for Amazon Prime delivery to make it in time.

Mom’s are pretty great when you think about it. Outside of the amazing miracle of being able to grow a whole new person inside, they also lay down the base line programming and scripts or “rules” that most of us live our lives by. These rules are often “common” knowledge or baseline programming that society requires for a peaceful coexistence with others.

Let me take advantage of this Mother’s day to remind you of a couple of “rules” your mom gave you that might not be a great fit however, if you apply them in sales.

  1. Don’t talk to strangers. This was pretty good advice when you were six or seven. Kudos to your mom for laying in some basic survival programming in your brain. This is an obvious one to delete when you are in a sales position. Strangers might be buyers, but even more likely they might be people who can refer or introduce you to. Talk to everyone you can. Much to my wife’s dismay, I start conversations in elevators. Outside of a restroom (clearly a bad time) I tend to start conversations because conversations are educational and lead to good things.
  2. Don’t talk about negative or painful things. This is still a good rule in a polite interaction. If someone just crashed their car, asking them about it at the chamber happy hour probably isn’t polite. Here’s the thing though, your job as a sales person is NOT to make your clients feel all warm and fuzzy. Your job is to disrupt any status quo that is dysfunctional and unhealthy for their business. They’ve likely become accustomed to things that are broken. If you have a solution you believe will help, then it is your moral duty to help them acknowledge, diagnose and start to address the issues you can solve. If you had a friend who showed every sign of being diabetic, would you not push them to admit it’s an issue and address it with the appropriate treatment? Same thing. Being a sales professional requires the willingness to address the elephant in the room.
  3. Do what you’re told. Yeah, full confession here, I have never been good at following this rule. That’s part of what drew me to sales. One of the things I’ve always had a good sense of, is the fact that most people don’t mean what they initially say. It’s not that the clients are lying usually, as much as the fact that clients have misled themselves into confusing what is important and what is not. I watched a Tony Robbins video online once, where he was helping an adult woman cope with some serious trauma she had experienced while growing up. When he first asks her what she wants help with, she states that she’s got an unhealthy eating issue. Robbins tells the interviewer that humans spend so much time focusing on unimportant things, to distract ourselves from the important things we need to work on, because we are afraid to tackle them. Clients will often tell you that they need help with this or that, but as Sandler Rule #38 states. “The problem the prospect brings you is never the real problem”. In other words, ask questions, because if you just do what you are told you are likely on a wild goose chase. Clients usually need help realizing what needs to be fixed.

Mom’s are great. The older I get, and the older my child gets, the more appreciative I am for my mom and everything she did to raise me. In fact, I really appreciate a lot of other people’s moms. A past colleague of mine shares my weekly emails with her mom, and the nice notes I’ve gotten from her mom make me appreciate the great connection they share and how special that is. Some mom rules have expiration dates though, and some have exceptions for those of us working in sales. Mom’s rule? For sure. But mom’s rules, well…not always.

Now, stop reading this and call your mom.