How to Kick Yourself Out of your Comfort Zone

Recently I did a webinar for sales leaders on “how to kick your reps out of their comfort zone.” Sounds brutal, I know. But it wasn’t. You see, for the past few years I’ve been studying how the brain works and what it means for salespeople.

The good news is that our brains are designed to look for patterns and then systemetize them. The bad news is, that’s when we go into cruise control mode — which means we’re not actively learning new things and adjusting to changing conditions.

The problems are further compounded because our bodies are wired to keep us safe and happy. So, when we step outside our comfort zone, our brain screams at us:

“Wrong way. Don’t go there. It’s not how we do things. You might fail or look stupid in front of your prospects.”

With messages like that swirling in our heads, it’s really hard to change. It takes a conscious effort, over time to seek out new knowledge and to acquire new skills.

What was my message to the sales leaders?

To create an environment of continuous learning and experimentation. It’s the only thing that works. But back to you ..

What can you do to kick yourself out of your comfort zone?

1. Start by exposing yourself to new ideas. Go deeper than you usually do. Read an entire sales book — armed with a marker, pen and post-it notes.

Highlight ideas and strategies that pop out at you. Write notes in the margins, connecting the dots between what you’re reading and your job.

2. Question what you’re doing. Right now, you know one way of selling. Just. One. Way.  There are so many different things you could be doing. You might even be able to get significantly better results, with less effort. You might want to explore questions like these:

Could your prospecting emails be more effective? What would it take to really pique your prospect’s curiosity? Could changing your presentation yield better results? Would it make more sense to eliminate the PPTs entirely?

3. Create sales experiments. There’s only one way to find out if your new ideas might work — give them a try. At first, you’ll be awkward. Probably even screw up. But that’s just part of the experiment!

I’d strongly suggest you practice what you’re doing too — before you go live. It’s much better to make those mistakes and correct them in private. As you get a little bit more competent, observe the results you’re getting.

If you run into glitches, try to analyze why. This is, after all, simply a sales experiment where you’re trying to learn what works and what doesn’t.

In reality, today we can’t afford to stay in our comfort zone. We need to always be learning, growing and getting better.

Personally, I’ve chosen to live at the edge of my comfort zone. I hope you’ll join me there.

Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath is also a frequent speaker at sales conferences and kick-off meetings. Sharing her fresh sales strategies, she helps salespeople to speed up new customer acquisition and win bigger contracts. Her clients include IBM, GE, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, Staples and numerous mid-market firms. Author Jill is the author of three bestselling, award-winning books. Her newest book, Agile Selling shows salespeople how to succeed in a constantly changing sales world. SNAP Selling focuses on what it takes to win sales with today’s crazy-busy buyers. And Selling to Big Companies provides step-by-step guidance on setting up meetings with corporate decision makers. Thought Leader As a business-to-business sales expert, Jill’s ideas and insights are ubiquitous in multiple forums, both on and offline. ◾Widely read. Jill’s newsletters are read by 125,000+ sellers worldwide. Her popular blog has been syndicated on numerous business and sales websites. ◾Sales Fellow. In 2014, Jill was honored to be selected as a Sales in Residence at HubSpot Sidekick, providing insights, guidance and direction to the new Sidekick offering. ◾Accomplished. Jill has been recognized for many achievements. Most recently, InsideView named her to their list of the 25 Influential Leaders in Sales for the third consecutive year in 2013, and she was named to the Sales Lead Management Association's lists of the 50 Most Influential People in Sales Lead Management in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012. She has also won many other awards. To learn more about Jill, you can read about her professional background, personal insights and sales philosophy. Check her out on Wikipedia, and don't forget to connect with her on LinkedIn!

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