The Other Side of Grit

 

brooke-lark

 

This week, Sales Throwdown is talking about grit. Mostly grit in sales, but a little bit in life too. 

And I genuinely loved everything they had to say about it. But…

(There’s always a but.)

There’s another side of grit that they may not be as familiar with. And that’s okay. They’re just four awesome but regular people who can’t possibly speak for everybody. 

When most people hear the term “grit,” they probably think about John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. Or Clint Bigelow honestly. Those stop-at-nothing tough guys that will do what they need to do when they need to do it.

Honestly, that’s what I think about too. I think about mental toughness, not letting things get in your way, and pushing through whatever struggles you might have.

But as I was listening to the episode, hearing them talking about “just getting out of the car” and things like that, it made me think about my brother. 

This is about to get really personal, so if that’s not your jam, I won’t blame you for ducking out now.

So, I struggle with some depression and anxiety. It’s not usually debilitating, and I typically handle it pretty well, but I’ve let it hold me back in my life way more than I’d like to admit to. My whole family has because we all deal with it on different levels.

However, my struggles are nothing compared to what my wonderful, amazing brother has dealt with.

See, his depression started early in his childhood. I’m not sure when, because honestly I was pretty wrapped up in my own stuff, so I didn’t notice. Like a jerk. I thought he was just an adolescent kid dealing with the rigors of puberty and bullies. 

He was still in high school when I moved out, so I started really missing what was going on after that. 

Then our dad died very unexpectedly, and it sent all of us into a tailspin. None of us had any bandwidth left to support each other. We were all just struggling to hold our heads above water. 

After the funeral, I hardly saw him at all. I was busy working and drinking away my depression, and I couldn’t stand walking into the house we once all shared together. And since he couldn’t stand to leave it, we might as well have been in different countries. 

The next time I saw him, he had shed a frightening amount of weight. 

This went on for a few years. He barely left the house. He had no will to learn to drive and was petrified at the thought of getting a job. 

Until therapy. 

My sister, also amazing and wonderful, knew he needed help. And she had the means to help him.

He finally got out of that house and went to live with her for a year. While he was there, he went to therapy regularly. He learned to drive. And eventually, he got his first job.

Yeah, he may have been older than most people are when they do these things, but he did them. And even more important than driving and working, he survived.

And that took SO MUCH grit for him! More than most of us will ever know. 

 

rock

That’s the other side that people don’t think about when they talk about grit. 

Sometimes grit is reaching your hand out and asking for help. It’s making the decision to get healthy. And it’s choosing to change. 

I’m not even just talking about mental health challenges here either. 

When each of the four Throwdown hosts made a decision to take that first DISC assessment, that took grit.

It’s not easy facing your inner self.  And it’s really not easy to decide to make some changes after you’ve faced it. 

But for everybody that has picked up a self-improvement book, made a call to a coach or therapist, or signed up for a class or seminar, that’s also grit. Or just acknowledging your challenges and working through them as you recognize them. Grit.

It’s talking back to your inner demons, setting aside your head trash, and convincing yourself that you absolutely CAN do something that you’ve always thought you couldn’t. Or trying to do it anyway even though you’re not convinced you can.

It’s waking up every morning to homeschool your kids, look for a job, or work from home when you’re not certain what the future holds for them or yourself. 

It’s facing every day with your head held high even when people think you have no right to for whatever stupid, prejudiced reason they have.

All grit. And we all have it in ourselves. But for some of us, we have to dig a little deeper to find it. 

Everybody has vulnerabilities. Even people like Clint or Nannette who seem to be able to face the world head-on. They may not look like yours, and they may not seem as difficult to overcome, but that’s kinda the point here. 

We all struggle with different things. And overcoming them, whether it’s getting out of the car or making the decision that sales just isn’t for you, takes grit.

John talks about an idea, and I’m not sure where he got it from, but it makes a lot of sense to me when thinking about grit.

“Courage is about doing the things that are hard for you.” 

That makes courage, and by extension grit, something that is going to have a lot of unique personality to it.

So if you’re watching this show or these episodes and thinking, “yeah, that’s so not me,” it is. Or at least it can be. It’s just that your grit might look a little different from other people’s. But that doesn’t make you any weaker or smaller. 

Our differences are what make us wonderful. Embrace yours, and recognize and appreciate your grit every chance you get.

Lies and Learning to Trust Again… in Sales

Listening to four salespeople talk about how little they trust other people is unintentionally hilarious. 

 

In case you’re not already aware, there’s an old stereotype about salespeople being sneaky liars, guys who will say anything to get the sale. 

gif1

And although it’s not necessarily true, the stereotype is there for a reason. 

 

And to defend against that, society as a whole has learned how to lie to salespeople so that they don’t have to deal with them. And most salespeople know that.

 

So there’s a lot of distrust and skepticism on both sides. 

 

This episode is so good in so many ways, but it only scratches the surface of these trust issues.

 

If you didn’t read one of my earlier blogs about taking the DISC assessment, I’m right in the middle of being an S and a C. And being 50/50 S and C can be really weird. 

 

On the one hand, I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings when they’re trying to sell to me. So I tell a little white lie to get away quickly. Or, even worse, I stand there, smile and nod, and just take it. The latter is worse because I’m wasting their time as much as I’m wasting mine. I have no intention of buying from them, but I’m too scared to upset them to say something. 

 

It’s a vicious cycle. 

 

Just the other day, I was walking through Walmart, trying to do my shopping as quickly as possible, and somebody tried to stop me to talk about switching electricity providers. With neither a ‘hello’ nor a ‘how’re you doing today,’ he just called out, “excuse me, what electricity provider do you use?”

 

My response: “Oh, I don’t handle the bills, so I don’t even know.” He smiled and I kept walking.

 

I’m a grown-ass woman. Even if I didn’t take care of the bills, I would still certainly know who my provider was. 

 

And here’s the real kicker… my provider is the exact same company he was selling for!

 

But I knew telling him that would still probably lead to, “well, let’s see if we can get you in a better plan,” or something like that. 

NoGodPleaseNooooo

It seemed easier for both of us if I just lied and walked away. And I feel terrible every time it happens. But it just seems like it’s the best way.

 

On the other hand, I am naturally distrustful of everybody. Like John, I don’t know if this is nature or nurture. I honestly can’t say if I’ve always been this way, but I can tell you that it’s getting worse as I get older. Even though I can often be too trusting and I tend to see the good in people overall, I also assume that, at least in sales situations, they lie more than they tell the truth. 

 

Pretty bleak, huh?

“Didn’t you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?” – little speech about lies from one of my favorite movies of all time, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. If you haven’t seen it, go watch it now!

 

And I’m sure it will be the same way (or worse) when the tables are turned, and I’m the one trying to sell to other people. 

 

The Sales Throwdown team talks about building trust, bonding and rapport, and improving overall communication to build better sales relationships in so many of their episodes. And I do think that is the ultimate answer to dispelling all of this mistrust.

 

But how are you supposed to do that when so many salespeople have huge quotas, a never-ending cold call list, and zero time?

 

This is where really taking note of how they talk to their clients can make your selling life so much better. There have been tons of times where they will, word for word, discuss what they would say to a client in a specific situation. 

 

And it usually wouldn’t come naturally to say these things, so you have to really listen for them.

 

For example, take the Walmart situation above. 

 

If he had said something along the lines of, “excuse me, I know you’re just trying to get through your shopping trip, but I have to try and talk to as many people as possible. Could you spare a minute?” I would not have been nearly so quick to lie and brush him off. 

 

So even in the suckiest of selling situations, there are still things you can say and do to make people want to give you at least a little of their time and attention.

 

In that moment, we would have bonded over having to be at Walmart when we don’t really want to be. (Because who ever wants to be at Walmart?) And even if I didn’t buy anything from him, I would have felt compelled to be honest with him, tell him I already use his company, and that I’m really happy with my plan. And who knows? Maybe he did have an even better plan for me. 

 

And now I’ll never know. 

 

So when you’re watching or listening to this podcast, listen for those moments when they give examples of what they would say. They’ve all been doing this long enough that, trust me, those phrases and moments have helped them all a great deal. 

 

And above all else, if we all just tried a little harder to be more honest, more open-minded, and more trusting, (in other words, more like Nannette!), the world would be a much better place.

Salespeople Have Feelings Too

 

In a recent episode, Adapting After Hearing No in Sales, John starts out the show talking about getting a pretty aggressive no from a potential networking connection. 

The person just assumed John wanted to sell him something, and it seemed to really set him off. And it got under John’s skin a bit. 

I’ve known this man for almost 17 years, and he lets so few things get to him that I was honestly a little surprised. I was downright shocked when it affected him so much that he wanted to talk about it on the podcast. 

But it brings up a good point to those of us that aren’t in sales. 

They’re just people doing a job. 

For some reason, people think it’s okay to yell at, be sarcastic with, or walk all over salespeople. 

 

One of my dad’s biggest pet peeves on the planet was when telemarketers would call during “the dinner hour.”

Which, for him, meant any time after 5. I remember listening to him mess with these callers, saying all kinds of crazy stuff. Or he’d just tell them where to stick it and hang up.

As a kid, I thought it was pretty damn funny. And it even made sense; how dare they call when we’re trying to have dinner?

Now that I’m an adult and understand a little bit more about sales and business, it makes sense.

Why would they be calling households at 11:00 in the morning when most people are at work? How could you ever hit quota only calling during the workday?

But even for salespeople, it’s important to remember that those who may not do it as well as you, or work in a job where they have zero freedom to do it in any other way than they’re told, deserve a little kindness and leeway. 

In a different episode, John also talked about a pest control guy that stopped by one day. He was new to the job, and just assumed that everybody wants and needs pest control. That’s probably reasonable, except I’m a weirdo… I actually really like most of the bugs around my house. Bees and wasps pollinate the flowers, spiders eat the bug I don’t want, and pillbugs and snails help fertilize the soil. Also, they’re adorable, all of them. (Okay, I’ll stop talking about my weird love of creepy crawlies.)

Anyway, I’m not really interested in pest control. We recently moved, and I haven’t had any invasions that I would want to remove or prevent yet. 

But I’m terrible at just telling people I’m not interested. Don’t know why. Some ingrained female powerless feeling that I still struggle with. 

So I usually pass off these situations to John. Well, John being John let him get his schpiel out, told him no, and then asked if he wanted some pointers on his sales delivery. (These are the moments when I want to crawl in a hole.)

Jim hiding

He told him some things about finding pain before assuming his services are needed and some of the other basic things they talk about on Sales Throwdown. And, like any good self-promoter, suggested that he look for the show on YouTube or podcast service. 

But as much as it embarrasses me when John tries to educate the masses, I’m also really proud of how he deals with salespeople that maybe haven’t gained the knowledge or experience to increase their skills.  

I’m sure it can be super frustrating spending so much time getting really good at something and then having to deal with somebody who sucks at it. 

But let me echo the wonderful Miss Nannette on this, the answer is kindness and patience, not anger or sarcasm. 

And while dealing with salespeople can be frustrating, intrusive, or difficult depending on the situation, they’re just doing their job. And they’re people, just like you. So if you’re going to turn them down, remember that rejection sucks for everybody. Keep the Golden Rule in mind when you do it.