I am a language junkie and pay close attention to the way those around me craft their thoughts into sentences. I look for patterns of speech and streams of consciousness, however, it is their word choices that stand out the most for me. In this COVID-19 time frame, certain buzz phrases seem to crop up in the newscaster's reports and then are picked up by the public to be turned into streams of consciousness and then overused in their daily conversations.
One such thought is expressed in the phrase "new normal" and I have heard it so much that now I have begun to question everyone who uses it, as to the way they define its meaning. When I ask, I usually receive a reply like, "You know ... everything will be new on the other side of this pandemic!" This is a very shocking thought to me as I have never allowed myself to experience normal, since I translate it to mean boring. I view my personal and professional lives as one big adventure that is not limited by my being normal. I assure you that my grave marker will not read, "Here lies Bartlett ... a very normal guy!"
Please do not misread my words; I do have typical days where I follow my patterns to win the day, but I promise you they are never normal. My generation was raised with the thought, "question everything" and I have lived that glorious thought every day of my life. It has served me well and has allowed my mind to stretch each day with new possibilities.
When I experience an overly normal period, I start to question my daily patterns looking for ways to make my days more adventurous, and this thinking pervades my personal life as well as my professional selling life. In my sales life, when I analyze the elements of a successful sales process, I arrive at the conclusion that there is no "new normal" for salespeople during this COVID-19 time frame, just a new "typical."
Prior to the pandemic, high performing salespeople spent their days prospecting for new business and then building trust-based relationships that may lead them to an opportunity to make a sale. They found reasons for the prospect to act, dealt with how much money the prospect would have to invest for the product or service and then submitted a proposal during which they negotiated a fair price that satisfied each. Prospecting was conducted on the phone, face-to-face at a networking event or with a referral from a client. Existing clients were serviced and new clients onboarded. The days were full, and salespeople felt connected to the results of their selling efforts.
Therefore, I am puzzled with the "new normal" concept as I cannot see where anything has changed. Salespeople still must hunt for new sources of business, only now it must be accomplished on the phone or virtually. They still must build relationships, only now it is done virtually, which granted is a little trickier. Every duty a salesperson had before the pandemic is still valid, however, it must be accomplished without physical contact.
I believe lower performing salespeople have needed an excuse for their poor performance and the pandemic has given them a perfect one. They have created the "new normal" with the excuses they continuously share with anyone who will listen, while high performers are re-engineering their success without missing a beat.
Listen up Sales Nation, we will never go back to the time we lived prior to the pandemic but we can create a new business world where selling skills must adapt to the new environment. Stop listening to the doom and gloomers who tell you that there is a new normal and realize that you have the power to create your own positive new normal with your beliefs and behaviors. On a side note, my gravestone will read, "Here lies Bartlett ... he conquered his world!"
Go conquer your worlds!
•Bill Bartlett owns Corporate Strategies, A Sandler Training Center. firstname.lastname@example.org Text "salestip" to 35893 to receive Bill's biweekly newsletter.