Recently I posted personally in Facebook about a good friend who is 3000 miles away from me, near dozens of other friends of mine. I mentioned how I had just found out that this friend of mine (I'll call her Mary) had fallen - and shattered her left ankle and fractured her right foot. She's on bed rest for seven weeks, and as a single mom to 2 kids, having recently moved and not even unpacked, I couldn't believe what a tough situation she must be in.
I posted about it and then waited for responses - and nothing came in. No one posted to say they don't know Mary but feel bad, or that they are nearby and would like to do something for her. No thumbs up, no comments from anyone. It made me feel isolated that I got no replies.
Later it made me think how we have become a society where we seem to need validation of our ideas and our direction. What ever happened to going with your gut feelings, or making a sound decision based on facts. What happened to doing something anonymously? Soon I realized that it was a vague post - not really sharing how I felt nor being specific about anything. People often won't respond when you communicate this way - sometimes simply because they don't know what to do.
I also realized that I had not asked specifically for what I needed. I was feeling bad for my friend and probably could have asked for:
- suggestions on how I could be so far away yet still do something
- ideas on what a good thing to do might be
- support for just feeling helpless in wanting to do something for a friend
This translates over to our business world because too often people are not clear about what they want, and they sometimes wait until they receive the validation they think they need to make things happen.
Think about it - what are you awaiting a reply from a prospect or client on?
Good news for my friend's situation because I also took it upon myself to privately email a few people I know and one of them offered to go over that same day and drop off a gift basket. The human race came through for me - but notice that I created a "Plan B" - the "what-if-no-one-replies-then-what-are-you-going-to-do" plan.
To be good in sales, you need to have at your core the ability to be clear in your communication, do what you think is right, and have alternative plans of action should you need them. We'll talk about all the other things that are needed another time, but for now:
Do you have convictions about your products and services or are you waiting to be validated further? That might be holding you back.
Are you clearly communicating with prospects, customers, and your internal team?
Do you have alternatives in case you are not hearing back from a prospect? Is there a Plan B? Plan C?
Lori Richardson is recognized as one of the "Top 25 Sales Influencers for 2012" and one of "20 Women to Watch in Sales Lead Management". Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside and outbound sellers in technology and services companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog and the “Sales Ideas In A Minute” newsletter for tips and strategies in selling.