In sales, it is easy to become blinded by sales disorientation leaving you to crash and burn your deals.

Recently, I finished reading a book written by one of the “Housewives of New York”, Carole Razdiwill. Don’t judge me, I love watching these shows. It’s one of my guilty pleasures.

The book is entitled: What Remains, and it describes the story of four young people who were hoping to grow old together as close friends, just that “fate” wouldn’t have it that way. The book is excellently written, riveting and it takes you on a journey that is both intriguing and sad.

The author is the widow of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ nephew. One of the characters in the book is JFK, Jr. and it goes without saying that the crash of his airplane into the ocean near Martha’s Vineyard is part of the narrative. It was determined that the crash was caused by “Spatial Disorientation”, which is a condition in which an airplane pilot’s perception of the plane’s direction, height, speed, etc. does not agree with reality.

Perception vs Reality

It was at that tragic point of the story where I decided to write a blog about sales and how many practitioners suffer from Sales Disorientation, a condition in which the salesperson’s perception of their sales approach does not agree with reality.

In the situation where a pilot loses accurate perception of reality it requires him to act counterintuitively and rely on objective, measurable criteria (instruments, radar, etc). Only in doing that, can the course be corrected and the plane landed safely. In sales, the disconnect between perception and reality can also have very damaging effects. To my knowledge nobody has died from it, although many sales practitioners might have crashed and burned.

Flying Blind

All too often salespeople go into sales calls without a back-up plan, assuming they’ll be successful. Without really knowing their prospect’s real needs, without understanding what real value means and without a Plan B. These salespeople developing a kind of tunnel vision that blinds them even as things begin to unravel.

Sales professionals who succumb to this Sales Disorientation could easily get themselves out of trouble, but they often continue on blind to other and better options. And should salespeople be occasionally successful in such situations, their habits are reinforced, and they can begin to write off the not successful encounters to reasons that have nothing to do with their approach or style.

A Counter-Intuitive Sales Approach

The key to avoiding sales disorientation is awareness that when things don’t feel right, perhaps it’s time to do the opposite of what instinct is telling you.

  • Rather than a one size fits all approach, try adjusting your approach to each of your contacts based on their behavioral styles and role.
  • Instead of pitching your product, service or software, ask questions that help you understand each contact’s vision and pain points. Then truly listen.
  • Stress VALUE based on the personal win for each individual stakeholder rather than focusing solely on the impact to their business.
  • Position solutions based on specific and personalized outcomes vs what’s in your marketing material.
  • Rather than trying to get a “yes” from your prospects, go for honest responses, even if it’s a “no”.  The sooner you find out where they stand, the better it is so that you can move forward or move on while leaving a good impression.
  • Get other people on your team to give you their honest opinions on where you stand with your deal. Then pay attention. This awareness can help you remain connected to the real world and avoid sales disorientation rather than living in your, often delusional, sales bubble.

Did you know that the Sales Gravy Podcast has been streamed over 100 million times? Join thousands of sales professionals and leaders around the world who learn to Sell More with the Sales Gravy Podcast!

About the author

Monika D'Agostino

I’m Monika D’Agostino, the founder and Chief Sales Officer at Consultative Sales Academy. Born…

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