Presence and Sales Culture
People who know my work are probably thinking that the idea of Presence sounds a lot like the ideas of “Sales Culture” and “Everyone’s in Sales.” And you know what? These people are right. Maybe the key idea of “Sales Culture” is that every interaction we have with people is an opportunity to create powerful positive impressions and build strong relationships. Those first impressions we make are really important, no doubt about it, because it is through our first interactions with people that we earn the chance to have second interactions. Our work does not end there however.
Every interaction we have with everyone we meet every single time has to create good impressions and build good relationships if we want to succeed. Supervisors and co-workers and employees, customers and clients, family and friends and neighbors. Being Present with people the first time is not enough. We have to be Present with them every time. We can’t choose to opt-out of these engagements either. We can only choose to embrace these opportunities or choose to ignore them.
As a result, we want to be passionate, engaged, committed, confident, relaxed, focused, optimistic, ready to really listen to the other person, ready to hear and understand and respect what she’s saying, ready to find that way we can help her get what she wants, ready to act with honesty and integrity, ready to give our word, ready to follow through and deliver all we promise and more. All the time.
Another way to say it is like this. We always want to offer our best selves to people.
All our knowledge and skills and expertise and insights and wisdom and experience. All our energy and confidence and focus and commitment to genuinely helping them because when we help people, they help us back. When I ask people to embrace the ideas of “everyone’s in sales” and “every conversation is a selling moment” and we all need to sell ourselves better, this is what I’m really asking. That we offer our best selves to people. Because when we do this, we succeed!
This might sound like a big job and a huge goal. It is a big job. And we are putting way too much pressure on ourselves if we say we need to be Present every time or we have failed. We haven’t. Sometimes we don’t live up to our goals. That’s okay. That’s what makes us human. We always want to try to be Present and offer our best selves because this is how we “sell” ourselves however. This is even more important today that it ever was before and it was plenty important before. Let’s talk about why.
Presence in the Age of Constant Digital Distractions
Back before there was email and video chat and shared documents and collaboration platforms in the cloud, back before there were smartphones with social media and messaging and texting – heck, back before there were phones period – there was Presence. Two people sitting in the same room at the same time. Looking each other in the eye. Talking and listening and engaging and persuading and getting things done. Those things getting done might have been a business deal or a job that needed finishing right or a disagreement they wanted to resolve in a way that made everyone happy or a date getting made or a personal relationship getting built. Things got done because people were present with each other little “p” and Present with each other big “P”. And that was the only way things got done.
Today we don’t need to be “present” or “Present” to get things done. We can do everything virtually. Just about literally everything. We can send an email, shoot a text, have a quick catch up on Skype, stream a podcast, watch the presentation on YouTube, share updates, like updates, comment on updates, broadcast our lives “live” holding out our smartphones at just the right angle to make sure we look good, and probably more new fangled stuff that we haven’t caught up with yet. We can connect with people faster and more efficiently than ever before. We can connect with tens and hundreds and thousands of people more than we ever could before. And we can do it dozens of times a day more than we ever could before.
In an age of constant digital distraction, when we are bombarded with hundreds of messages a day from hundreds of people, the new killer app is the old killer app. And that’s being Present with people, taking the time to develop deep and genuine relationships with them, and helping them.
Presence is a choice.
That’s how we make ourselves stand out from all the other people competing with us for the things we want. That’s how we make other people remember us first when their constantly blinking, buzzing, flashing, pinging smartphones are trying to make them forget.
Todd’s dynamic and motivational keynotes and workshops are based on the foundation that regardless of career path or position, everyone is a salesperson. You can also see Todd’s articles on Sales Culture in many magazines, trade journals and the Huffington Post.
Follow Todd on Twitter @SalesLeaderTodd.