My second child, Mary Jane, was born six weeks premature and was quickly placed in an incubator on a different floor than my wife Shelly. They couldn’t wheel Shelly’s bed (along with all the wires and attachments) to Mary Jane and they couldn’t bring Mary Jane (and the incubator) to Shelly. The only way for Shelly to see our six-pound, five-ounce newborn was for her to get up. So that’s exactly what she did—in less than 24 hours after her c-section.
It usually takes several days, as it had with our first child, but this time was different. When Shelly locked on to the idea of seeing our newborn, no obstacle was going to stop her. Not doctors and nurses advising against it. Not her own experience with our first child. Not even her concerned husband.
When you lock on to something, you see everything through that filter and you lock all other information out. You look for supporting evidence and lock out evidence that contradicts your beliefs/goals.
While in Shelly’s case, it caused her to do something extraordinary, it can also have the opposite effect. In new home sales, it can cause a sales pro to lock on to the fact that some of his lots are smaller and back up to a busy road. Because he believes they’re undesirable, he starts looking for supporting evidence from prospects, the news, his wife, etc. He avoids showing those lots, which then confirms what he “knew” all along—they just aren’t sellable.
When your sales professionals lock on and get trapped, you need to present evidence to help them see it differently. Help them focus on what’s great about those lots and why people do choose them. Present evidence they haven’t thought of—such as the fact that many prospects don’t want to mess with maintaining a large lot. To them—less landscaping, fencing, and maintenance is appealing—not appalling.
Sales coaches–in the event that one of your salespeople is so stuck that they won’t hear anything you say, put the ball back in their court. Give them an assignment to do their research and come back to you with a presentation on the other side of the argument. If they can’t or won’t do it, be ready to have a conversation about whether or not you want them on your team.
Locking on can either hinder or push them to excel. So be aware of the concept–either to overcome it or to tap into its power.
The above is adapted from Jason’s upcoming book on sales coaching.
Jason Forrest (named one of 2012′s Top Young Trainers for Training Magazine–a national, industry-wide publication) is an expert at creating high-performance sales cultures through complete training programs. He incorporates experiential learning (rather than theory) to increase sales, implement cultural accountability, and transform builders into sales organizations that build homes. A sales professional at heart, Forrest is the author of Creating Urgency in a Non-Urgent Housing Market and 40-Day Sales Dare for New Home Sales. As a consultant for many of the leading homebuilders in the United States, Canada, and Australia, Forrest’s competitive distinction is his behavior-modification approach (which focuses on people, process, and presentation) and his focus on culture change. Learn about our new home sales training programs at http://www.forrestperformancegroup.com.