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A Bucket Full of Holes

From time to time, my live chat staff passes me intriguing messages from visitors on our website.

This is one came in from John last week:

   “I have a role play interview coming up on Tuesday. During the role play, I’m expected to make an appointment as a result of a cold call on the phone. My problem is, how do I let go of the agenda of making the appointment, when without one, I’ll be out of the interview without an offer. I understand that uncovering the truth is important, but since this is an ARTIFICIAL situation, I was hoping you could help me with a few suggestions.”

I don’t respond to most of the random messages that come through my website because hundreds come in every week. I spend most of my time with private Unlock The Game clients.

But this message was interesting. As I read it, it hit me that there was an underlying mindset conflict that needed to be addressed head on.

So I analyzed it carefully and came up with some insights.

I hope John reads this email before his Tuesday interview.

I’ll tell you why in a moment.

This poor guy is being asked to pretend he’s making a real call in front of a sales manager. This manager is probably looking for typical “salesperson” characteristics like:

– A strong one-way sales pitch

– A “take-no-prisoners” attitude

– A strong aggressive voice

– A relentless pursuit of the sale

  Oooh, that makes me cringe.

The only way John is going to get the job is if he demonstrates what his interviewer expects.

To his credit, he’s obviously studied some of the free material on my site.

His intuition is telling him that getting to the truth of whether or not there’s a fit makes more sense than just trying to “close” a prospect.

But he doesn’t see the profound clash between his interviewer’s expectations and what his gut is telling him to do.

If he gets this job, he’ll probably be forced to behave in ways which conflict with his new beliefs about approaching people over the phone.

He’ll probably end up chasing prospects and playing the “numbers game”.

He’ll end up having to swallow rejection.

I’ve seen this happened to thousands of well-intentioned sales people.

Let’s look at John’s viewpoint and uncover the issues he’s struggling with.

By asking me for a “few suggestions” John thinks he can put some Unlock The Game “patches” on old school selling and somehow make the combination work.

That kind of thinking is like trying to fill up a bucket full of holes by pouring water into it.

Trying to change conventional sales thinking, with a few “tips or suggestions” just won’t work. To make a fundamental shift in mindset, a person needs to be open-minded and willing to “let go” of entrenched sales habits.

A supportive environment and community of like-minded people who are open to change is needed to make that transformation.

What John Can Do

He could join the crowd and continue clinging to old school sales guru thinking. That’s what most people do.

Alternatively, he could totally root out his old school attitudes and behaviors.

He could be true to himself. If he believes that focusing on the prospect’s truth makes more sense than railroading people into a “yes”, he needs to commit to developing the necessary skills to do just that.

John has to make a living, like the rest of us. I respect that.

If he wants to, he can “play the game” with his interviewer to get the job. Once he’s working, he could use the Unlock the Game approach with his prospects over the phone.

He’d probably have to do it quietly at first. Later on, after he gains more sales traction and proves that what he’s doing is working, he can let his manager and peers know what he’s been doing.

Some people might think I’m suggesting that he be a “phony” on his new job by “going covert” in this new work setting.

It’s just the opposite.

The truth is that “going covert” would allow him to clear a little private space for himself.

Then he could cultivate his new skills in peace. Sooner or later, he’d be ready to play an open hand.

If John wants to master this new approach, he’ll need support.

And we’ll be here to help him.

Thousands of sales people have successfully “come out on the other side” by choosing this path — and their results and peace of mind is proof of that.

To your success,
Ari Galper

Ari Galper

Ari Galper is the world’s number one authority on trust-based selling and is the most sought-after sales conversion expert for Business Owners. His newest book, “Unlock The Sales Game”, has become an instant best-seller worldwide. Ari has been featured in CEO Magazine, Forbes, INC Magazine and the Australian Financial Review. He is considered a contrarian in the sales industry and in his book, everything you learned about selling will be turned upside down. No more chasing, no pressure, no closing.

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  1. Brian Keen

    No doubt about your advice Ari – and it’s not easy to change old ways but one habit I find helps me is to reverse the roles in my own mind for a minute or two before I make the call or have the meeting and immediately I’m in right space – cos I hate those heavy calls we get all the time as well.

    Gold Coast Australia

  2. Alastair Dixon

    Hi Ari, you are definitely on the mark with your advice. Too many old school methods being forced upon new, hungry sales people are ruining the ability to create trust in the sales process.I have long been involved in “sales”, but have managed to avoid the “salesman” tag thanks to your teachings. Ari, long may your forums, newsletters and seminars educate the “old school” like I used to be! Warm regards Alastair

    Perth, Western Australia

  3. Rob Hernandez

    I agree with Ari. I was in the same situation myself a few years back and my experience is once you get past the interview, which is in effect their screening process, you should be fine. Normally, management does not mess with top producers once they are up and running.

    Austin, TX, United States

  4. Dave

    This sums up much of the ‘conventional wisdom’ out there about sales practise. I was thinking about this the other night as I was watching the UK version of ‘The Apprentice’. Several of the candidates on this show were described as being ‘excellent salespeople’ etc…all of them were loud, aggressive, pushy and self-serving….just the types you would not want to be with and would most likely boot out the door if they called on you. It really makes you realise just how misinformed so many people are out there are when it comes to selling practise. When you consider the high attrition rates in the industry, you would think that sales managers might stop to question ‘why?’ I think John should first uncover from the manager, what the managers objectve is. If it is to make appointments but only with qualified, motivated people with a need, he has some room to explain ‘The UTG Mindset’. If the manager’s agenda is to make an appointment at any cost…maybe because some misguided soul thinks that any form of appointments = sales, then John might be in the wrong culture. I’d be looking to understand the company culture first as a prerequisite to taking part in this charade of making a ficticious cold call. A lot of work places that insist on following scripts etc are very low trust cultures where individuals are monitored and governed by stone age rules set up by senior managers or (even worse) trainers who did it themselves many years ago.


  5. Mark Baker

    Ari what you suggest is probably the best route for someone like John who has not yet changed his mindset.

    Personally if and once one does do so there is no way one can even contemplate working for an “old sales style manager/company” as it compromises ones integrity; exactly what we are all about addressing with UTG.

    I speak from first hand experience as I am currently looking for a new sales job. I have had to turn away from ALL the companies I have seen so far for this very reason. It’s hard because before UTG I would have had a job in a few days, now my employer criteria has changed.

    I’m not expecting to find a company who has adopted UTG although I am sure they are out here somewhere. Rather I am looking for an employer who is willing to be open to a different perspective when it comews to sales and who ultimately is willing to give me a chance to put my money where my mouth is. So far all I have seen is how entrenched old style sales is here in the UK.

    When I do find the best fit company for myself I will at least know that I can be true to myself which given how much time we spend working I figure is pretty important.

    Scarborough, Yorkshire, UK

  6. C.J. Ng

    In the first place, John’s interviewer’s objective is to make sure John gets an appointment in the role-play. It doesn’t mean that using the “Unlock the Game” mindset, John will not get the appointment, never mind it being an artificial setting with leanings towards old school selling. Secondly, if John, by being his true self, could not get this job, then he found the truth about this job as well. It’s not for him. Period. Find one that will trust him enough to use his on methods to achieve good results. Last but not least, a lot needs to be done educating sales managers that they need to change their mindsets too, if they want to have better results.

    Shanghai, China

  7. Boris Kapilevitch

    Ari, you are absolutely right.
    Every one is different and every one has different approach to communication.
    To copy somebody is a mistake.
    Listen to ideas is OK. But one must check up how it works and find own way
    in resolving the situation for success.

    Los Gatos, California

  8. Mike Manning

    Ari, thanks for being able to speak the truth about traditional selling and how it eats away at our society. You’re the only sales expert I’ve come across to openly says what everyone is thinking. Well done and thanks for leading the way.