We love the democratic mantra of every voice matters. But this just isn’t true and don’t believe it. It makes us all feel good to think an open atmosphere of participation creates better ideas and that we’re better off because of it. It doesn’t and we’re not.
Seth Godin wrote a killer post the other day and said this:
Don’t buy into the false expectation that in an organizational democracy, every voice matters. Every voice doesn’t matter–only the voices that move your idea forward, that make it better . . .
He’s spot on.
In sales we are constantly bombarded with those who have something to say, but aren’t moving things forward. Their goal isn’t to get us closer to solving the problem. It’s to simply stop keep the idea on the table from moving. These “vampires” as Seth calls them suck the blood out of all your efforts; whether it be procurement, IT because it doesn’t meet some obscure policy, or finance because it means they have to change. There are a lot of voices in sales that don’t matter.
Not every voice matters when your trying to sell, but any voice can fuck up the sale and it’s your job to keep it from happening. When a voice becomes noise it is no longer moving things forward and you have to figure out how to get around it or turn the noise back into a voice.
Sales is about movement. It’s about change. Inherent to change is resistance, and when there is resistance, there is noise. Noise is the weapon of choice for the resistant. When a voice becomes noise, it’s goal is to stop everything. Unlike other situations where you can just avoid, delete, or cut them out, when you’re trying to sell, that’s not an option. When a voice becomes noise, find out why they are making noise and solve for that — if you can. If you can’t, isolate them. But, don’t ignore them.
In sales, when a voice becomes noise it can spread. Like a virus, if ignored, it will spread, infecting others and before you know it there are no more voices, just lots of noise and you know what that means to the sale.
Get ahead of the noise.