~~The Introduction: An Introduction to Introductions or Bob Bolak, Growth in Colorado ~~
Bob Bolak started in Sandler in 2012 and he remembers making dials with no money, no clients, and no friends. He knew absolutely no one and he was scared and worried about his future success. In that fear he took ownership of the Sandler system and as his success grew he went through the process of understanding what are the intangibles that led to his success.
As an introverted dominant individual, Bob had a traumatic rise into Sandler. First, he lost his father. Then in the 100 year flood in Boulder, Colorado they lost a fair amount of their home, then six months later Bob lost his mother. From this—Bob has grown to understand that we’re not socially conditioned as salespeople, salesleaders, or men to be vulnerable. We’re hard wired to hide our weaknesses because we don’t want people to see what we struggle with. But, everyone learns from failure and when someone is willing to demonstrate their struggle and their breakthroughs—that is a gift that says its okay to struggle with this or that. Vulnerability and transparency can be encouraging to others.
~~The Conceptual: What Opened Your Eyes to Vulnerability, or You Mean Openness Leads to Growth?~~
Why might it be difficult for you to be vulnerable? Words might conjure up like fear, shame, grief, uncertainty, risk, exposure, humiliation. The root word humility versus humiliation is where the awareness should be. Humility is not only the acceptance or awareness of the things that I need to improve at; humility is the acceptance and understanding of the things that I’m awesome at. It’s hard to practice vulnerability without acknowledging both sides of humility. Having the ability to share your successes in a way that doesn’t showcase you as the star of the show is the most important piece of the positive side of humility.
Your stories of your own grandeur and successes should not set the bar so high that you speak with the condemnation of the listener. You should share your successes with humility. In Sandler we’re constantly asking ourselves what is the intent, what is the intent of the prospect, what is my own intent. Under all these are the emotional states of our scripting and the objective and non-judgmental state of the adult. If we want to open ourselves to transparency and vulnerability we’ve got to take a step back from our programmed responses and start looking and acting in a more meaningful way.
~~The Role: Where Preprogramming Meets Daily Life, or Wait, You Think I’m Running on Autopilot?~~
We have strengths, we’re not showing them to build ourselves up or break others down. It’s a simple acknowledgment to say I have these strengths and an acknowledgment of reality. When we begin to look at our own positive makeup we can build up our ability to be an authentic person. Instead of following a script, we’re wearing our openness and creating a non-verbal invitation with our prospects to encourage them to be open as well.
People tend to act out a programmed script. 70% of what we do and say in any day is a rehearsed or programmed response as opposed to being in a place of awareness. So what role does this have in managing uncomfortable interactions with other humans?
Essentially, any time we’ve got interaction where there is contentiousness and discomfort or anxiety. We can draw a triangle and there will be three players in the triangle. The left point of the triangle is the victim, the right point would be the persecutor, and the last point would be the rescuer.
For Bob, when he left out his father’s tools, his father would say, “who left this tools out?” Bob would blame his sister and her friends for chasing her, and the dad would say, “that’s no excuse.” And the mother would say, “Oh, stop, he’s just an eleven year-old boy.”
In this drama nothing good is ever going to happen. No truth. No solution. This happens in our sales lives without us ever knowing that this drama is playing out. This drama is pervasive in our work life, our personal life, and sometimes in our mind.
The antidote for this triangle is the winner’s triangle. We must learn to be nurturing, vulnerable, and assertive. Think of this scenario: a sales leader is sitting with a salesperson whose not performing very well and the sales leader is under pressure from their boss for their team to deliver. So there the salesperson is acting as the victim; our product team isn’t giving me things to sell. The sales leader wants to be a persecutor, but instead, they say I think it’s difficult because we can’t get enough traction with the current strategies we have. In fact, I bombed a call last week because I had some negative mental beliefs that really got into my way and caused me to sabotage my own questioning strategies and techniques.
So, let’s do some roleplay and let’s get through those head trash supplementing beliefs and get us ready to get out there to do journaling and those supplemental behaviors to lead to success. A leader can help if they are assertive, vulnerable, and nurturing, but a leader can only help if they establish boundaries that lay out the reality: I will help you accomplish this, but I cannot do it for you.
When you take a leadership role as a persecutor it often is from pressure that you’re feeling. If you take that path that says, I’m counting on you, why didn’t you do, with an accusatory tone it triggers a defensive position from your constituents. Anyone who is defensive hunkers down and bars against all offenses.
To do this we need to watch our tonality and work to not trigger that childlike defensive. Then we need to be vulnerable, hey, I’ve struggled with this and I’m willing to share with you. The last thing we need to do is be assertive. We must state facts straight forwardly wrapped in a nurturing tone to look to resolve something if it is resolvable, as quickly as we can.
We need to make sure when we’re working with people is ask permission to help. “Would it make some sense if you and I worked on this?” Help without the invitation or the agreement for help can be aggressive. When you open yourself up by asking if you can provide, by asking you open the receptivity of the person you’re coaching and mentoring so they actually want help instead of you intruding on their world and superimposing your process to them.
As a sales leader, as a manager, we want commitment not compliance. If we bulldoze in then we will get compliance and that means a resentful following. We want to enable our constituents that we work with to be open to committing to the activities and actions that we are promoting in order to secure and enable future success.
~~The Technical: Vulnerability and Transparency, or You Really Think I Can Change?!~~
Here is revealed some of the vulnerabilities of Jim Stephens where Bob and Jim go in depth of the molding of a vulnerable salesperson. If you think you tend to be a persecutor, a victim, or a rescuer, and would rather emulate the winner’s triangle—then how do you condition yourself to change your ways?
So first, let’s examine how natural humility is to you.
What are three things in your business right now that you’re working on that you’re not very good at and could improve on?
1. Prospecting. I hate it. I don’t like doing it. I find all sorts of things that I can do to avoid it.
2. When I have a meeting I end it with a clearly defined next step, but by the end of the day after meeting to meeting to meeting—at the end of the day I’ve forgotten. But, rather than learn from it, I keep repeating the same mistakes.
3. My emotional expression under pressure is anger. When I get mad it’s not helpful. I tend to vent and after I vent I feel better, but anybody in the crosshairs doesn’t. So learning to control my emotional expression and anger would be valuable.
What are the three things you’re great at?
1. The gift of discernment. It shows up in a meeting when I’m coaching or on a sales call and I’m listening for the underlying issues and the personal impact. I’m good at hearing and helping play back what I’ve heard to help them hear what they desire.
2. My brain thinks in terms of models, so I’m good at seeing behavior patterns or broken systems and it allows me to help people stop broken behaviors or problems that aren’t working.
3. I’m great at speaking. I’m a good trainer and a good storyteller. I listened to hundreds of hours of my dad’s stories and I think he gave me that gift.
How did it feel? How challenging was it to reveal the things that you’re working on?
On a scale of 1-10 I’m somewhere in the middle, maybe a 4 or a 5, it’s painful. Especially when you don’t know whose hearing it and it has the power to go everywhere.
How challenging, or was it not, to go into the gifts that you’re really great at?
The first two were less challenging, but the third was more difficult because it felt self-aggrandizing.
A lot of this is replicated out of the parental scripting. But, the key reminder is that humility isn’t just the negative side. We need to learn how to see both sides of the equation objectively as an adult without the parental scripting or the childlike reaction of emotion.
For Jim, journaling has helped him learn through this process. Take a few minutes and answer these questions for yourself because it is an emotionally engaging exercise and conversation even though it is simply a quick process. As you journal, you should consider walking through this exercise with your sales leader or coach.
Share three things that you’re working on that you want to improve and listen to your inner voices. If they are higher critical these are markers that you can go back to and investigate. Then, think about the three things that you’re really great at.
Use behavioral assessments to understand how you are composed, but most important about this, is to understand the role of ego.
We’ve been taught that high ego means self-absorption, but it really means you are balanced and centered and understand that you do have strengths and being vulnerable won’t kill you because you know you are still a strong person.
If you do this exercise enough you’ll become comfortable to get to a point where you are authentic. Where you can be honest with yourself and with others. To get away from the self-effacing nature of false humility will lead to exponential growth. When people see you as a real person and a healthy person it creates a super strong and healthy interaction between two individuals.