In The Matrix movie there’s a particularly memorable scene where Morpheus (Lawrence Fishburne) is explaining to Neo (Keanu Reeves) what the matrix is. If you haven’t seen it or would like a refresher check out the video below. I would like to highlight the following section of the dialogue to share a revelation I’ve had.
“You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system that they will fight to protect it.” Morpheus.
It occurred to me that we, and by we I mean the entire sales profession and our clients both existing and future, are operating within the bounds of our own self-inflicted matrix. We are effectively slaves to our own construct of rules, mindsets and behaviours that by design create dysfunction and drive conflict, with each side of the seller/buyer equation fighting to exert some degree of control over the other. Yet despite its obvious inadequacies, we are all so hopelessly dependent on this system.
Although there certainly no shortage of sales related advice, guidance and training out there. Indeed the bookshelves and this network are chock full of wise words. But it seems little has changed. Sellers are still desperately searching for the latest tool, technique or skill that will help them to make more money; and buyers remain wary and as distrustful as ever about the motivations of money hungry sellers. With good reason it seems. By way of example I saw the post below from global sales training provider Miller Heiman Group recently.
"Making money is our passion and our purpose." Really! If this is the message the biggest sales training provider on the planet is sharing with its disciples, buyers are right to question our intent. And so it goes, around and around!
The key problem, as I see it, is that all of this exists within a system that is in itself broken! We all know it. We all feel it. This nagging sense that something isn’t quite right. That we’re somehow disconnected from ourselves, from our clients and from and each other. That sales has become much harder than it should be. That sales is about so much more than simply making money. That something needs to change.
As Morpheus explained to Neo “Many of these people are not ready to be unplugged”, which is understandable. In the real world so many people and the organisations they represent get their power from the system. So many processes, hierarchies, structures and incentives are geared around it. The prospect of letting all that go is so threatening to them they will fight tooth and nail to protect it.
But what about you? As you set out into the great unknown of 2017 you have a choice to make. Do you have the courage to unplug and free your mind? Are you ready to not only sell more but live more? You absolutely can. There is a better way. Change can be scary but don’t worry, you’re not alone. Your companions include Bob Burg, John David Mann, Mahan Khalsa, Randy Illig, Adam Grant, Simon Sinek and Aaron Hurst:
- Embrace a unique framework of universal principles that focus on always creating value for others: The Go-Giver – Bob Burg and John David Mann
- Make helping your clients to succeed your entire purpose: Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play – Mahan Khalsa and Randy Illig
- Learn how becoming a Giver will accelerate your success in sales, in business and in life: Give & Take – Adam Grant
- Discover your Why and inspire others to do the same: Start With Why – Simon Sinek
- What's your purpose? Purpose transforms individuals, teams and entire organisations. Unlock the power of purpose: The Purpose Economy – Aaron Hurst
Welcome to the sales revolution. Together we can become a force for good in the world.
About The Author
Ian J Lowe is the Founder & CEO of eccoh, a sales transformation, coaching and consulting organisation pioneering a movement to change the way the world thinks about sales. The selling environment has radically changed and yesterday’s attitudes, mindsets and cultures are no longer relevant. To succeed we need to be much more than in the past. Our mission is to harness the collective energies of every salesperson on the planet as a force for good in the world. That's the open effect.
Image Credit: The Matrix movie, 1999 - Warner Bros