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Lift Consulting, LLC. | Madison, WI

What is the number one disease I see in salespeople? It’s called “creative avoidance.” Through the years of working with sales professionals, I have found that individuals know what they need to do to grow their business from a high-level perspective. Typically, this involves tasks like:
Prospecting for new clients
Asking your client for a referral
Utilizing LinkedIn for prospecting
Attending conferences or networking events
Speaking from stage

Yet for some reason sales professionals choose not to do them. They chose to instead: make a call to a colleague, process an expense report, run an errand, or enter meetings into their CRM.

We receive calls daily from our clients that go something like this: “I know I should be prospecting, but I’m not…” or “I know I need to ask for referrals but I’m not…”.

Why do they call us? It is not because they need to hear what they need to do, they already know the answer. The reason I summarize is twofold:
Creative Avoidance – It is easier for them to pick up the phone and call us to lament on what they should be doing than to do it.
They have a conceptual barrier to prospecting that needs to be broken – They have a high need for approval and are more afraid of a prospect saying “no” to them, than their bank account going to $0.

You may chuckle at point number two, but in many cases, it is sad to say but it's true. We let fear drive our decisions on a day to day basis. We let the fear of the unknown override the fear of the known.

With that said, at Lift Consulting, LLC, we believe that knowledge is not understanding, and understanding is not the application, and application is not ownership.

Just because a sales professional understands what needs to be done, it does not mean that they do it. Think about going to the gym. If you are like me, perhaps you are looking to lose 15 lbs. For those of you that have had a weight loss goal, I would guess that you know just “thinking” about losing weight is not likely to have an effect. You need to get up, go to the gym, and workout for a period consistently to see the results.

It is very rare that you would ever get up and go to the gym one or two times and wonder “why haven't I lost the 15 lbs?". The reason for this is you know that it takes time, effort and energy to lose the weight. It typically is not until you have been working out for a sustained period that you see results.

I am amazed at how many people lose sight of this analogy with sales prospecting, or marketing for that matter. Our company takes many calls from people that have made “20 calls” and been frustrated by the results and call us to ask permission to “give up” and move onto something else “more productive.” The question I ask you is: would you give up after going to the gym after going one time and spending an hour? Of course not. If you were to do that, you are giving up on your goal of losing the weight.

The same goes for prospecting. If there was a magic wand to grow your business, I would spend a fortune for it. Unfortunately, there is no such thing. You can watch as many videos on social media on how to grow your business, read as many books as possible, and participate in as many webinars as you can. But at the end of the day knowledge without action is just "knowledge."

Lesson – THERE IS NO MAGICAL ELIXER! – Get over it!

At some point in time, you must put your knowledge to practice and make a sustained effort. Yes, you must work for it, which starts with the thing that most people hate – being vulnerable.

David Sandler once said, “no one ever stands in line to make a cold-call." Although I agree with the sentiment of this statement, I like to look at it differently. I like to think of it as “everyone will stand in line to make a cold-call if the reward is great enough." So, what is the reward? It all starts with your “why."

I challenge you to discover your why. Take time to truly understand why you struggle to prospect and what you can do about it. Then the next time you think to yourself “I should be prospecting right now”, ask yourself “why aren’t I?”. Do you really have a reason not to be doing so or are you “creatively avoiding” what you know you must do?

If you do not have anything on your calendar during a time, and prospecting is truly the number one thing you can do to drive business for yourself and or your organization, then count backward from 5 to 4, 3, 2, 1 and do it!

No one can force you to do anything, but sometimes you need to decide. Am I choosing to complain and fail? Or am I going to choose to act and win? I’d choose to win, but your choice is yours. Now go out and make it!

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