A couple of years ago I read a book that shifted my thinking around what constitutes a successful business. ‘Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business’ written by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia led me to embrace the term conscious in the business sense and led me to coining conscious selling, and sharing why this concept is so important for business growth moving forward.
Whilst what I read around business ethics generally was inspiring and intriguing, at a higher level I felt something was missing. It was the specific lack of discussion around the sales function. Especially around the capital part of conscious capitalism and how the sales landscape has turned completely upside down over the past decade completely disrupting the sales role.
I believe SELLING should be the key task or role that, if approached from a genuine conscious capitalistic viewpoint, would impact the world enormously – from a profit perspective, a people perspective and a purpose perspective.
Firstly, when I mention ‘conscious selling’ to people there are a couple of assumptions made as to the meaning:
- That people are not unconscious and therefore are with us in mind, body and spirit and as a direct result are alive and able to perform their role from an energetic perspective.
- That people have a consciousness that aligns with either their levels of competence or incompetence and are aware and can adapt to the skills and mind-set gap impacting their results.
Both clearly have their place.
But there is another meaning to the world conscious in the context of business. A meaning with meaning, if you like.
- It is the desire and intention to sell on purpose. To align and adjust to what is important in the cut and thrust of this money-making role – selling a difference!
And a huge part of that is understanding that earning money is important. After all, if you want to make an impact and a difference and you want to light up the world, you need to be able to pay the light bill.
‘Millennials, start-ups and large companies at the top end of town are embracing this whole concept around purposeful and meaningful business relationships’, as stated by USA Today. Those that are are blitzing those that aren’t by the ratio of 12:1 – numbers that are increasing.
So let’s go back and apply this concept of ‘selling on purpose’ to the role of the salesperson.
- How many salespeople are conscious when it comes to truly doing a deal? That have the energy and foresight to be present to the conversation – using the clichéd one mouth for asking curiosity driven criteria questions, two ears to hear what is not just being said but what is not being said as well, and who have what I have added as a third eye poised for intuition, intention and insights?
- How many salespeople are conscious of what their idea, product or service truly means to the end user or their client? Who have the ability to adapt their conversations on the fly realising business conversations are not about what you sell, but the emotional difference you are selling.
- How many salespeople are truly aware of the responsibility they personally hold? Who have understood the problem behind the problem and know how their ‘deal’ might save a business from going under, might help their client stay afloat, might have a ripple effect to the greater community.
- How many salespeople understand that two degrees of separation is not just a cliché but is a truth that we are all connected, that we are just one mouse click away from being seen for the value we provide others, online and offline – or not! Who are open to adjusting their old beliefs in order to provide that value.
- How many salespeople can comfortably lose sight of the commission and detach from ‘doing a deal’ and instead offer what is truly right for the client, the company and themselves? Who have the emotional intelligence to bring a whole of self-approach to the market, aligning to common values.
- How many salespeople take time out to improve their personal leadership skills, learn what their gaps are and can leave their ego at the door at a time where the brand that matters is really their own? Vulnerability, transparency, and engagement are attributes conscious salespeople have in spades and that level of authenticity, relevance and intention oozes out of them creating huge deposits in the trust account of buyers.
- Finally, how many salespeople are not afraid to walk away from an opportunity or scenario that is not aligned to their personal values or those of the organisation? Are not afraid to test their money beliefs for a fair negotiated win/win scenario because their need for respect is stronger than their need to discount, avoid asking the hard questions and be liked?