Are You In?

To the casual observer, sales looks to be all about power.

It may look like a bunch of confident, charismatic sellers in command of their material and in charge of the room. The successful seller is the one who can talk a blue streak and who is at ease in any crowd.

But looks can be deceiving.

Many of the greatest sellers I've been privileged to work with are not the 'life of the party' types. Many would probably be classified as introverts. What these sellers have discovered - perhaps by default - is the power of vulnerability. They're willing to own their opinions and feelings, take risks and commit to the moment.

They are present in a way that many of their competitors are not. They're OK with moments of silence and even the occasional awkward pause. It's in that moment that something unusual can happen: something authentic, something meaningful, something real.

A significant number of the people I meet in sales are ambivalent about being in sales. They call themselves account executives, business development people and strategists, and they seem to really gravitate to the word "partner." One reason for this "sales avoidance" mindset is that these introverts have never made peace with the popular notion of what it means to sell.

Now they don't have to. And neither do you.

Start taking risks. Share a little more than you feel comfortable sharing. Take a position in your discussions with customers. Tell them what you think and then ask them what they think about the position you've taken. Be curious. Don't fill up the quiet moments. Be generous. Let things happen.

This is how you get to an authentic place with your customers. You have to get in...all in.

If you're in sales but feel like you're playing a role much of the time, you are not only cheating your customers, you're cheating yourself. This can be a life filled with really terrific moments, but only for those who are truly open to them.

So be open. Be vulnerable. Be real.