Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Business in the Days of Awe, Step 1: How Nothing Connects You To Your Prospect

By Mark Silver

Job Vacancies, Employment Jobs, Employment

Tuesday night was a rare confluence of events: Rosh Hashonah, the Jewish new year, ended, heralding the beginning of the Days of Awe- a holy time of introspection for Jews.

At the same time, it also marked the beginning of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims the world over, serving the same purpose.

And, just to have fun, the Divine threw a solar eclipse into the bargain.

As a "Jufi"- born Jewish, practicing Sufism, I've celebrated both Ramadan and Rosh Hashonah-Yom Kippur many times. I'm going to take a risk and write a series of articles over the next three weeks about the sales conversations you have with your prospects.

Isn't that a bit profane? Umm.... no. Not in my eyes. You see, the peace process and the sales process are essentially the same thing. And rather than profaning this holy time, I want to elevate your business practices into the sacred. I want you to realize what a holy task you have in front of you when you are talking to a prospect.

So, here's the first article: How nothing connects you to your prospect.

Someone has emailed you that they are interested in your work. Or, you have a list of potential contacts from your leads group. Or maybe you're thinking about someone you want to cold-call, because they could really use what you are offering.

You are headed towards a conversation, which will end, you hope, with the other person saying "Yes, I'm buying!"

These conversations can be very painful, because they end, more often than not, with an "Ummm.... I'll think about it." I think the pain of this conversation ranks right up there with bone marrow transplants. Well, maybe not that bad. But, Lord it ain't good.

The pain of these conversations goes beyond awkwardness. It's so bad, because you really do want to help and be of service. I know I do. When I'm left feeling as if I'm bothering someone, I just want to quit. I didn't get into business to bother people- and if that's what I'm doing, I'll go back to being a paramedic.

Both Ramadan and Yom Kippur have an amazing process. It's called "fasting." Fasting is the process of abstaining. Abstaining from food, yes, but more than that. It's also an abstention from judgement, from "impure thoughts," from anything that fosters disconnection from your heart and from Spirit.

The reason sales conversations are so awkward, is because there is an inherent inequality. Your prospect has a problem, and you have a solution. This puts you in a "superior" position.

And, the other side of the coin is that your prospect has money to pay you, and you don't have that money. This puts her (or him) in a "superior" position.

If you choose to be superior, they will choose to be superior, too. And, you end up butting heads. "I've got the answer!" "I've got the money!" And both of you trying to be superior, means everyone loses.

Take your cue from these Days of Awe- empty yourself. Have as close to "nothing" inside as possible. Abstain from superiority. Abstain from inferiority. The "nothing" of being empty, means that you have space to receive who your prospect truly is. You become the glass that can be filled, and your prospect can feel truly received.


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