I recently watched an interview with Daniel Goleman, the social psychologist credited with bringing emotional intelligence out of the academic world and into the commercial one. He always shares great insights and one statement really struck me. To paraphrase Goleman, “Focus has become a very flabby muscle in our 24/7 connected world.”
Sales leaders may not realize that focus — or lack of — is related to achieving sales results. I contend it’s a bigger problem than most companies care to acknowledge.
Lack of focus impacts sales results in several areas of the sales process.
#1. Prospecting. Every sales guru touts the value of customizing prospecting outreaches and messages. But customization takes thinking, which requires focus. A salesperson doesn’t just magically create a great value proposition. It takes focus to really think about a day in the life of your prospect. What problems are the decision makers facing that your services could solve? What new customer demands are they trying to meet?
Lack of focus leads to no deep thinking, which leads to generic prospecting outreaches, which result in no new sales conversations!
#2: Prospect/customer meetings. Lots of great sales advice is dispensed to sales professionals, such as, “It’s important to build rapport with prospects, demonstrate empathy and listen intently.” But salespeople can’t execute any of these influence skills if their focus muscles are flabby.
It takes focus to pay attention and figure out the personality of your buyer in order to build rapport.
It takes focus to read the emotional temperature of your prospects in order to demonstrate empathy.
And deep listening happens only with deep focus.
But none of the above happens because corporate America allows and even trains sales teams to be unfocused!
Observe a group sales meeting. How many salespeople are checking emails and texts during the meeting instead of focusing on what a colleague is sharing or their sales manager is teaching? How many sales managers model unfocused behavior? During a one-on-one coaching session, they interrupt the session because of an incoming call, email or text. “Sorry. Need to take this one.” (Because I lack the ability to focus on you and your needs.)
Sales managers, how focused are you and your sales team? Are you in shape or getting flabby?