By Mike Crandall
November 22, 2022

Being gutsy for sales success

Get out of your comfort zone and find the guts to ask the tough questions.

If only I had asked…(fill in the blank)? This is one of the most costly questions professionals have. It is also an extremely common thought that sales professionals, managers, leaders, and business owners share. 

How often have you left a meeting and thought to yourself, “I wish I would have asked…” or “I wish I would have said…”? If you are like most people, these thoughts cross your mind regularly. We find that many people know what they should ask or say; they just do not do it or are uncomfortable doing it. This frequent issue holds most people back and keeps them from achieving their goals and the growth they seek. 

The big question is, why does this happen? You might be surprised to know that most people have not thought about it seriously and that many people keep it to themselves, as they are embarrassed to share it because they think others do not have the same struggles or frustrations. 

Recently I was having a conversation with the CEO of a well-known company, and he was sharing significant frustration about how his head of sales spent over six months working on an opportunity. Not only was this six months of time, but it was also a lot of travel to interface with the prospective client. 

After the extensive interaction between the head of sales and the prospect, the CEO was brought in for the final meeting where they were going to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. He shared that a large amount of information was uncovered during this meeting that should have been uncovered months before during this process. As he shared the story, I could easily see how upset this made him. I asked him, “Did your head of sales miss this info because he did not know what to ask or because he did not have the guts to ask?” 

During the 90 seconds of pure silence that followed, I sensed that I may have struck a nerve. He finally responded with, “I do not know.” The next day he contacted me to share it was because he did not have the guts. This CEO was not only upset at the fact this situation happened but also greatly disappointed that during the last few years, they had spent close to $250,000 with companies that advertised, “we teach your people how to ask better questions and uncover more info.” 

If this were an isolated incident, that would be great. However, it is not. Unfortunately, we see this all the time—hundreds of companies say they can teach you what to ask, what to say, or even how to do it. The challenge is getting them to actually do it. If your people (or you) know what to ask, but you never ask it, the problem is guts. Just because someone taught you what to ask does not mean they helped you learn how to have the guts to ask it. 

Most people need guidance with guts and someone to help them realize what keeps them from asking tough questions or making difficult statements. Having guts is something most people can learn (which is very different than being taught). Having guts gets you outside your comfort zone (where all the things we want are). When people work on what to ask and what to say without addressing if they have the guts to ask or say it, we call that working on the wrong end of the problem.  

Now let me ask, do you have the guts to always ask the things you should? If yes, that is wonderful, and you deserve congratulations. However, if you said no, think about how much it costs you. Is it worth fixing? And if you genuinely want to get better, find a Business Growth Consultant who can help.

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About Mike Crandall

Mike Crandall lives in Edmond, Oklahoma. He is a Consultant, Coach, Trainer, Speaker, and Author focused on the Subconscious Psychology of Human Interaction and Motivation. His firm specializes in Elevating Leadership, Management, & Sales Performance for Proactive Business Growth. Mike is based in Oklahoma and serves Visionary Clients across the United States. He can be reached at (405) 844-1700.