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8 Top Tips To Stop Yielding and Start Earning

September 22, 2011 in Call Reluctance, Coaching, Prospecting, Sales Assessments, Sales Tips, Sales Training, Yielding

Do you experience difficulties asserting yourself with others in a sales context? Is maintaining positive relationships with clients so important to you that you are concerned these relationships may be damaged if you are perceived as pushy or intrusive? Do you hesitate to prospect, sell or self promote due to a reflexive fear of being considered too pushy, intrusive, or selfish?

If you recognise any of these behaviours you might just be suffering from the debilitating behavioural issue known as ‘yielding’ which affects many sales people and keeps them from earning what they are worth.

Despite the fact that selling requires assertive behaviour, ‘yielding’ is the most common behavioural issue for sales people. The result of yielding is underperformance in sales and devastating consequences for the individuals concerned, their teams, customers and managers.

So how do you stop yielding and start earning?

Make no bones about it, selling is an assertive profession.

Selling requires people to ‘push’ themselves out into the market place and put themselves in the right position to work with the right customers.

balanced approach

A Balanced Approach

People who act assertively are:

  • Positive – Rather than negative.
  • Calm – They’re at peace with themselves & others.
  • Enthusiastic – They complete tasks with zest & feel they’ll succeed at them.
  • Proud – They accomplish what they do without stealing ideas from others.
  • Honest – When they give their word that they’ll do something, they do it.
  • Direct – They don’t play manipulative games to get what they want.
  • Confident – They take calculated risks.
  • Satisfied – They know where they’re going & how they’re going to get there.
  • Respect for others – They recognise others have needs & rights.
  • Energetic – Their energy is directed toward achieving their goals.

By contrast, yielding is passive, fear-based behaviour and is usually learned* to avoid dealing with difficult or confronting situations. If practiced too much it can become a deeply ingrained habit affecting many situations in life. Some of these habits include:

  • indecisiveness, non committal or excessively subjective
  • tend to agree with everything, hesitate to challenge or contradict
  • waiting for the ‘right time’ to prospect or sell
  • needing to be liked over making sales
  • sometimes manipulates others through non-confrontational means such as gossiping, pouting, and passive-aggressive power plays
  • super-sociable, a rapport-builder, empathetic, always agreeing on the surface yet can be critical behind others backs
  • conflict-avoidant; and have difficulty speaking when angry
  • have difficulty closing sales and talking about money
  • focussed on rapport-oriented sales presentations rather than having real discussions about clients’ priorities, issues or needs
  • too quick to accept client objections and let them walk all over you
  • give away margins or discount unnecessarily
  • would rather make friends rather than clients

Sadly sales teams have far too many people with yielding behaviour producing poor sales results. This is endemic in sales and service teams. Individuals with yielding behaviours often show a lack of prospecting capability, poor up-selling and cross-selling skills, have issues with quality control because they will not speak up about issues, often undermine the actions of others, which all leads to the erosion of trust in relationships which is the very things yielders do not want. The result is stakeholders and clients not getting what they really need because people with yielding will not ask more in-depth questions, assert themselves or challenge the views of others instead accepting everything on the surface while often disagreeing beneath the surface; and so on.

Often labeling people who act assertively as ‘aggressive’, people with yielding behavior will justify their actions and often resist attempts to be more assertive. What people with yielding behaviour often do not realise is that when they yield other people feel:

  • Irritated – They wish you’d stand up for yourself & make your own decisions.
  • Withdrawn – They avoid you because your negative attitude makes it difficult for them to maintain their own positive attitude.
  • Superior – They lose respect for you as a person, because you aren’t willing to stand up for what you believe in.
  • Tired – They waste valuable energy dealing with their negative reactions to you.

Yielding is not cool. Never has been and never will be.

While building rapport with clients is important, a reluctance to adopt more assertive selling behaviours such as speaking up for yourself, challenging ideas, asking questions, etc. is likely to prevent you from initiating and closing sales. So how do you overcome your yielding tendencies?

Tips for overcoming yielding:

  1. Remember that the price, terms, conditions, and other related aspects of your product and service have been set with a lot of forethought and planning in mind. Try not to fall for the trap of undermining your own product or service before you begin the negotiation.
  2. Negotiate for positive outcomes i.e. win/win outcomes. Quite frequently giving way, for its own sake only serves to damage the longer-term relationships with your clients and others.
  3. If you give something, ask for something back in return.
  4. People respect assertive people who speak well of their products or service. Inject enthusiasm and real warmth into your discussions. Particularly when you have to say ‘No!’ .
  5. Speak up about how you feel and what you really want – we cannot read your mind.
  6. Don’t make assumptions – always ask questions to uncover what people really need.
  7. Challenge yourself by asking some questions about the situation.
  8. Ask yourself ‘What is the worst thing they can say if I ask for what I want?’ The worst answer is ‘No’, however you will be surprised how often they will say ‘Yes’.

You can assess your sales fitness and behavioural tendencies too, including yielding, by taking the world renowned Sales Preference Questionnaire to give you a more accurate diagnosis. If you want to know more about your current sales fitness and get your specific development tips and coaching, talk to us at Barrett on (+61) 03 9533 0000.

*Some people have personality traits which are more passive by nature, this means they will exhibit more of these behaviours. However, they too can learn to be more assertive with training. Most people have learned how to be passive or yielding which means they can unlearn these destructive behaviours.

Remember everybody lives by selling something.

Author: Sue Barrett, MD of www.barrett.com.au

Watch who you let near your mind

February 4, 2008 in Attitudes & Behaviours, Brain Science, Call Reluctance, Emotional Intelligence, Mindful selling, Neuroscience in Sales, Prospecting, Resilience, Wellbeing, Yielding

With the Sub-prime market issue in the US and its effects on countries and the world’s stock markets featuring as a daily major news item at present who can blame people for getting a bit nervous and worried about the future. You can see it with the panic selling of shares and so forth. However if we let this and other issues get to us and allow ourselves to blow things out of all proportion we can, in turn, create our own demise. Whilst it is critical for business owners and sales people to keep abreast of market changes and challenges we can let real and, more often than not, perceived threats get the better of us.

Choosing your state of mind, your attitude, is critical in business and in life, especially in more challenging times.

Now I am not suggesting we ignore real threats, they need to be taken and dealt with seriously, however many people, especially some sales people can let negative comments, tougher market conditions, hearsay, etc. really affect them unnecessarily.

Once they begin to believe the hype and only focus on the negative they can find themselves in a self-doubt spiral which leads to further problems such as:

  • Financial: Loss of revenue; No new sales revenue coming in; Existing customer business drying up; Losing customers to competitors
  • Emotional: Excessive worrying & anxiety about poor sales revenue results; Doubt about doing this type of work; Lack of sleep & exhaustion; Loss of confidence; Self doubt about one’s ability to do anything.

This doesn’t; help anyone. Selling in the good times is easy however being able to pick yourself up and keep moving forward in the tough times is the real test – a test of character.

Take the Mortgage industry or instance. Up until recently you only had to bump into someone in the street and you could almost be assured of selling them a mortgage. Now the market is much tougher and lenders are tightening up on credit. Many mortgage brokers and managers are feeling the pinch. The talk amongst many is negative. Who will make it? Who will survive? It will be interesting to see. Yet people create their own reality. All I know is that complaining and feeling sorry for yourself will not help the situation and is likely to lead to even less sales. Yet if they only looked in the market rather than at their navel they would find there is still business to be had it is just a little tougher to find.

I learnt early on in my sales career to keep on going and put in the effort by doing the activities that count especially in the hard times. Prospecting is key. Without it nothing else happens. I can recall in my recruitment consulting days in the late 80′s and early 90′s when jobs were really hard to find and many recruitment consultants were going out of business that some of my colleagues and I looked at the market and said “just because jobs are harder to find doesn’t mean there aren’t any jobs. Companies still exist. Someone will be in business and someone will want to hire good people so let’s get prospecting and find those companies who still want to hire staff and be in business.” And you know what? By taking that approach and having a positive, determined attitude, my colleagues and I had some of our best results ever. We looked for opportunity and it was there. Whilst everyone else was in despair and whinging about how hard it was, we were getting the work.

So where did I get the determination from to keep on going? Was I smarter than any one else? Certainly not! Upon reflection I think it boiled down to two things for me:

  1. I looked at the market in a more rational manner and saw the evidence for what it was – there was still work out there to be had.
  2. I was also fortunate enough to have to participate in a demanding sport – swimming. I trained 50km+ per week over a 10-year period as a teenager and competed at state and national level in my sport where you were tested mentally and physically everyday. I learnt to be tougher, to get through the pain barrier and to watch out who I listened too. Many a time at race meetings some swimmer would try and get into our heads and scare us to put us off our game. Me, I just tried to shut them out and focus on my own race, my own goals and listen to what my coach said.

Little did I know that I was using some tried and true techniques that still serve me very well today. Years later I would read about and come to realise that I was practicing, amongst other things, the following technique:

Thought Realignment

Thought Realignment is a special adaptation of the self-talk techniques introduced by ancient philosophers. In modern times this concept has been popularised by psychologists Aaron Beck and Albert Ellis, and sensationalised as a modern breakthrough, which it is not. It asserts that most, if not all, of our distressful feelings are caused by the view we take of things and situations in life not the things and situations themselves. How we speak to ourselves can really affect positively or negatively the outcomes of our actions.

We all speak to ourselves every day and what we say has an amazing impact on what we feel and do. Thinking negatively about your market place and seeing only bad things will affect your prospecting and sales efforts. Letting other peoples negative thoughts pollute yours can bring you down as well.

In essence what you say to yourself influences what you feel about yourself or a situation which alters what you do. If you want to change what you do then modify what you feel by altering what you say to yourself. You will be amazed how it can transform your day and your results. If your self-talk is going to be self enhancing it needs to be:

  • Objective
  • Logically consistent
  • Goal supportive
  • Enlightening
  • Releasing
  • Uplifting

A good way to check if your self talk is helping you or harming you is to say to yourself the following: Now say “I want to..” and “I have to..” silently to yourself and feel the difference in energy flow in your body. Which one is easier? Which one feels effortless? You will know what I mean when you do it. I know which one I am choosing.

There are basically two types of self-talk

1. Goal Supporting Self-Talk

“I want to …”
“I’d like to …”
“It would be better if …”
“I’ll try to …”

“…and it’s OK

2. Goal Obstructing Self-Talk

“I have to …”
“You have to …”
“I’d better …”
“I can’t …”

“…or else!”

Now there are some realities we need to face such as I know we have to breath, eat, sleep etc. to survive. And I know we have to prospect to sell however taking an ‘I want to’ approach to these tasks makes life and getting sales a whole lot easier and much more enjoyable. So watch whom you let near your mind (especially yourself) and go get the opportunities that are out there waiting for you.

Happy Selling.

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