GRATEFUL: Pays it forward, inspiring all to give more than they receive, making it a better world, one act at a time

We today say goodbye, for now, to the Sales Coach who entered our stories to have conversations with the Sales Enthusiasts, until we see him again another day! He shared his life lessons and insights that helped him blaze a trail with his sales career. And today he has a special farewell gift for you. As we 'eavesdrop' on his final conversation with the Sales Enthusiasts group, we find the Sales Coach introducing ‘a super behaviour’, the highest of the higher order behaviours that can summon all the other positive sales behaviours we have been following. Let’s listen in and claim our gift …

A Sales Enthusiast (SE) said: “Sir, We feel sad that our conversations with you are coming to a close today. We don’t know how to thank you for all the sales wisdom you have passed on to us over these weeks. Is there any one special tip or life hack you can share with us today?”

The Sales Coach (SC) said : “Yes there is one. You said you were wondering how to thank me. Please don’t. Because that’s the thing I want to talk about today.

SE: “We are eager to learn this Sir”

SC: “Let’s start with a fundamental question. Are you all truly, genuinely happy to be in sales?”

SE: “The honest answer is, yes we are happy salespeople, but it doesn’t feel that way all the time. The current pandemic induced crisis and the pressures it has brought on sales, sometimes makes some of us wonder if we have chosen wisely”

SC: “Okay, then that’s where your learning should actually start from. After a life time in sales, I’m convinced that sales is the best place to be in. Let me count our blessings of being in sales, for which we have to be grateful. Here are

5 Top Reasons why Selling is Beautiful

1) Sales gives you skills that make you successful in all areas of life – That ‘everyone is in sales’ is not a cliché. It’s a truth we see acted out every day.

A teenager seeking a larger pocket allowance, a production head trying to convince the CEO to buy new machines or a mall visitor negotiating for a parking space are all trying to ‘pitch and sell’ what they want. Perhaps, if they were in sales, they will possibly do it a lot better.

Sales teaches you, among other things, influencing, negotiating, communication skills, value orientation as in designing, demonstrating, delivering and extracting economic value, empathy and thinking on your feet. Like all people oriented roles, it also helps you learn conflict resolution, collaboration and story telling. All of these go to make you successful in life.

2) Sales is an always-in-demand job – Nothing happens until something is sold. Boom, recession, downturn, whatever be the economic season, businesses require sales professionals to keep the cash register ticking.

3) Sales puts you in a life-long learning mode – Sales demands continuous acquisition of new skills as external conditions and technology keep changing the nature of selling. Yet sales is essentially anchored in timeless fundamentals that don’t change.

Almost every day, you meet new people from diverse businesses, professions and industries, enriching your understanding of human nature and on-ground economic realities,

4) Sales is a life-time mission of helping people – Sales is all about helping Customers and solving their problems. Sales gifts you friendships, connections and a network that last your entire life time.

5) Sales compensates you well, offers excitement and adventure and a path to leadership – Sales is among the best paid careers and many sales leaders go on to become CEOs.

Don't you have a lot to be grateful for, when you are in sales?”

SE: “After listening to you Sir, we’re all so thankful for having picked sales for a career. But you were to tell us how being grateful invokes other positive sales behaviours”

SC: “I’m getting to that. Once you count your blessings and consider yourself lucky to be in sales, something magical happens.

You emit a resonant positive frequency that attracts sales success to you. That sense of positivity empowers you to make sales happen. And success takes a quantum leap when you show your gratefulness by ‘paying it forward’. If you are new to that beautiful expression, here are

4 Illustrative Examples of Cultivating Gratitude by ‘Paying it Forward’

When you ‘pay it forward’ you show how grateful you are for all that you receive from life, by doing good to someone else. And that’s regardless of whether you have received or will receive something from them.

It’s like this... You receive goodness from A. Of course you will do some good in return to A. But serious practitioners of gratitude will go a step further and ‘pay it forward’ by doing good to B, C and D, as a token thanks giving for having enjoyed the good that A did. As B, C and D are inspired do the same thing by ‘paying it forward’ to more people, you have set in motion a ripple of sharing value that is always more than what you receive.

‘Paying it forward’ creates a collective mindset of abundance, of giving more than what one receives. And, as you know, what goes around, comes around.

Some examples of ‘paying it forward’ to

(i) Your Customer – When you build in and demonstrate value in your offer that far exceeds value expected from you, like going the extra mile to arrange for special credit period or out of turn delivery to meet the Customer’s pressing needs.

(ii) Your champions within buyer groups – By sharing information and inputs to help them shine in the eyes of their peers and management, no matter, whether they are likely to buy from you or not.

(iii) Other functions supporting sales – When you share credit for deals won with their support, and give them the benefit of doubt for deals lost, even when they don’t expect you to do so.

(iv) Your sales team, when you head one – You manage your team members by support, raise their capabilities, and help them be their best, instead of using fear or blind hope in managing them. Whatever good your leaders did to you over time, you do the same to your team, even more and to the sales community at large. No expectations. No strings attached.

SE: “Sir, sorry for interrupting you. How can all this make you learn other positive sales behaviours?”

SC: “It does. When you choose to pay it forward to your Customers, you have nothing to feel disappointed, or stressed about. The relationship transcends the mundane average transactional plane, empowering both you and the Customer to rise above your respective routine fears and anxieties.

When that happens, you and the Customer look forward to doing good to each other. That positivity creates a space, in which you fearlessly explore new behaviors you want to learn. Let’s say, you begin by being caring and helpful. 'Paying it forward' gives you that extra positive space, in which you can courageously try being more articulate, and perceptive for example.

And this learning spirals upward into higher order behaviors. ‘Paying it forward’ out of sheer gratitude for your blessings, never fails to create a value surplus that is destined to come back to you. Remember this... When you gratefully ‘pay it forward’ without expectations, your ‘pay backs’ or ‘dividends’ come to you from unexpected sources!"

SE: “That’s very inspiring Sir! Is there any hard evidence that grateful behaviour has tangible sales benefits?”

SC: “There is a study cited by author Shawn Achor writing on Happiness Dividend for Harvard Business Review in 2011 which documented a 37% increase in sales attributable to work place happiness promoted by a sense of gratitude”

SE: “Any tips to incorporate gratitude and ‘paying it forward’ in our work lives?”

SC: 3 Recommended Daily Practices to Experience Gratitude

Among the daily practices Shawn Achor suggests, there are 3 that have to do with experiencing Gratitude: (1) Write down three new things you are grateful for each day (2) Write for 2 minutes a day describing one positive experience you had over the past 24 hours (3) Write one, quick email first thing in the morning thanking or praising a member on your team” You can add your own to this list.

For example, when I was like you, my favorite Gratitude practice was to note down at least one good action or behaviour displayed by each of my team members over a week, and acknowledge them for such goodness in the Monday morning huddles we used to have. Doing this helped us get started for the week on a strong positive not and it showed in our results.

Am a life long learner. I have learnt from many. All the goodness I learn, I practice, and ‘pay it forward’ by sharing it with my team, and with other aspiring salespeople who need them by coaching them in my free time. I can tell you the practice of being grateful is the best wellness tip I have for all ages.

My health parameters have always been normal. I sleep as soon as I hit the bed. I feel young and energetic enough to play with my grand children. I keep ‘paying it forward’ all the time! Is this kind of gratitude practice difficult ? Isn’t it doable?”

SE: “All doable, Sir! The very thought of practicing Gratitude at the level of ‘Paying it forward’ is so inspiring and empowering, we can’t wait to get started!”

SC: “Great! I wish you well. If some one still has questions or doubts, feel free to DM me. These sessions may end here, but our learning can continue!

Every day is a miraculous day, and every moment is a good moment, to ‘pay it forward’.

I’m glad I could share this with you. I’m thankful to all of you for this opportunity. Now, before you start typing “Thank you”s on the chat window, I want you to know, those two words mean a lot more to me, when you practice positive sales behaviors, and when you ‘Pay it forward’.

Giving, after all, is everything. God bless you all!”

Pause to reflect:  When you ‘pay it forward’ you show how grateful you are for all that you receive from life, by doing good to someone else. And that’s regardless of whether you have received or will receive something from them. You set in motion a ripple effect, that creates a collective mindset of abundance, of giving more than what one receives. And, what goes around, comes around.

Action Question: How can you incorporate gratitude in your sales practice?

Related Readings:  Mercuri Mail Sept 2017 Focus feature on What is your Ikigai

Takeaway Quote: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them” – John F. Kennedy

About the series:   With this 100th post, we complete this series of posts that seek to build your Sales Resilience... as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. But our sales learning can and must continue. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.


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