Instincts are an inner guidance system – a sixth sense, or in popular terms your “spider sense”. Instincts anticipate what may be around the corner, be it opportunity or danger. The survival instinct guides the herd of gazelle to the most fertile source of food – or away from the danger of a predator. The survival instinct functions much the same way in humans, but there are other instincts that we can put to use as well. Surfing anyone? I captured this moment of pure instinct while in Maui back in 2011.
Instincts put all our senses on alert. They marshal all our faculties and skills to a one-pointed sense of purpose. In sales, instincts provide us with signals concerning the quality and value of a lead or prospect inquiry. They guide us through the sales relationship with hints about where and which direction to turn. Everything we can learn or sense about our prospective or existing client, their company, its culture – indeed the whole context that has been presented to us will provide us with signals to guide the response and actions. This is no different than in life itself, but in the field of commerce the context is to explore and move toward a successful exchange of goods, information, and/or services.
When we pay attention to our instincts they speak to us more clearly – they grow and become more available over time. If we ignore them, we may get a slap in the face or a disappointment to wake us up! The more we know and discover about a sales situation, the more active and accurate our instincts will be. Learn your target market segments and their business motivations. Know the key industry players so you will instinctively recognize where to direct your focus. Learn what motivates business stakeholders (hint: it’s not always just money). Ask questions that provide insights into what you would do in their shoes. Then your instincts will tell you how best to proceed — especially if you see yourself in the customer’s shoes and seek to treat them as you would be treated.
Your instincts are a valuable life tool. Listen to them, develop them, use them wisely. You may be amazed at the results!