What have the haunting lyrics of Cyndie Lauper’s 1986 hit True Colours got to do with sales you may ask? Quite a lot as it turns out. It’s a beautiful song with a powerful message that every sales person on the planet should embrace.
Of course the song has universal appeal, which is probably why it has stood the test of time. It could be a conversation between friends, relatives, lovers or colleagues. But I think it is especially relevant to the sales environment, where all too often the complex rainbow of colours that makes each of us a uniquely special human being, are dulled in favour of lockstep and conformity.
Too many sales organisations attempt to control how their people think and behave and too many sales people feel lost and discouraged as a result. The result is many of us are failing to connect and shine because we feel unable to be ourselves.
You can lose sight of it all. And the darkness inside you. Can make you feel so small.
The workplace has never been more demanding, complex and volatile yet at the same time only 13% of employees are engaged in their work (Gallup Worldwide Employee Engagement Crisis) and trust is at an all-time low (AON Hewitt's Workforce Mindset Study). At a time when we need to be at our very best if we're going to navigate the fog and complexity of today's hyper-competitive world, we have never felt more disconnected from ourselves, from each other and from those we're meant to be serving.
In his article "Why 'Modern' Work Culture Makes People So Miserable" published in Fortune Magazine, Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer writes:
What’s missing from the current labor market is a sense of humanity - as contrasted with lots of emphasis on efficiency, costs, and productivity. Human beings are social creatures. We crave companionship, seek to be part of communities, and thrive on social support.
More than just about any other profession sales people need the freedom to flourish and shine. We are at our very best when we can step into who we are and truly connect with our colleagues and clients to create terrific value together. We are in the profession of meeting and connecting with people every day and the more colour we bring to those interactions the more chance we have of bringing a little bit of extra light and optimism to the lives of those we touch. Maybe just maybe we will also inspire those people to do the same. Wow. Now that’s an environment where amazing things can happen.
So don't be afraid to let them show. Your true colours. True colours are beautiful. Like a rainbow.
Of all the decisions you’re going to make in 2017, why not decide to show up as yourself every day? It can be tough to start peeling back the layers in order to rediscover your true authentic self but it’s worth the effort. There’s nothing more attractive than being real because it's so rare, especially in today’s low trust world. The people you work with and meet will sense it and they will begin to feel good about you and be more willing to get to know you and maybe even do business with you.
You have unique value to bring to the world and the more you step into who you are and embrace your unique gifts the more fulfilled, satisfied, engaged and successful you will be.
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: Good Will Hunting movie, 1997 - Miramax