Nick is an enterprise sales guy, married to Helena, a clinical psychologist.
It is a Thursday, 5.13 am at their house, 14 Theseus Court in the heart of a suburb with 15 organic coffee shops.
Nick wakes up screaming.
Helena: Hey, hey, hey…what’s wrong with you…it’s still early.
Nick: I had a shocking dream…did you turn the air-con off?…it’s 38 degrees.
Helena: I was cold…so, come on, you know I love a good nightmare…what happened?
Nick: I was meeting with a CEO and it was just me and him in a really small office and I couldn’t shut up. I just kept talking and pitching idea after idea and sharing all the new product updates. It went on for what seemed like hours.
Helena: So, what did he do?
Nick: He said I was very knowledgeable and that he was very interested….and then he rang me straight after this ridiculously long meeting and told me he was giving the business to another company whose Sales Director was a mute.
Helena: A mute?… as in couldn’t speak?
Nick: Yeah, apparently he had his tongue cut out by his first boss after talking too much in his initial calls with clients….it was awful.
Helena: Then what happened?
Nick: The CEO said ‘But I want you to come back tomorrow for a de-brief’….I did and we walked into an even smaller room and he said ‘Watch this!’
Helena: Watch what?
Nick: He made me sit through 325,000 slides, the same number as my monthly target, going on about the history of his company and all their divisions and departments. It was excruciating. When I got home you greeted me with a Zimmer frame and said ‘Well, aren’t you going to give me a kiss for my hundredth birthday?’
Helena: How’d I look?
Nick: Like your mother…only with no teeth.
Helena: Charming! So do you want me to unravel the dream for you?
Nick: I suppose it’s just the constant feed of how not to sell on LinkedIn, which I already know anyway… and that leftover goat’s cheese from last night.
Helena: Not quite, Nick. It’s actually a bit deeper than that.
You do indeed know how to have a conversation with senior executives, listen and let the discussion unfold… that’s why you’ve been successful…plus you’ve picked up all of my clinical psychology techniques that encourage people to reveal themselves.
But recently, you’ve been inundated with mixed messages from Head Office. You had the Regional Sales Kick-Off with a whole day of product updates and the cult-like fervour of what you should now be pitching with the new system. You then had the divisional off-site function where the product gurus pummelled you with even more slides and a director who told you and the team to lead all calls with the new presentation.
It’s called cognitive dissonance – the disconnect between your attitude and your behaviour. Your dream simply highlights that you have a choice to make. Be true to yourself in the brilliantly conversational way you engage clients or become some weird hybrid that flips between what you do well and the information dumping approach to which you’ve been exposed.
I guess, your dream is telling you to choose.
Nick: Thanks, honey…don’t worry, I’ve made my choice. I know who I am and what works.
You know we still have an hour before we have to get up…cuddle?
Helena: It’s too hot.
Elliot Epstein is a leading Sales Expert, Pitch Consultant, Keynote Speaker, and Corporate Trainer who gets sales results rapidly and is the author of #1 International Best Seller, ‘Confessions of a Pitch Consultant’
Also available in hard copy for $15 +P&H…just DM or email here.
He has coached and trained high profile executives globally in master level presenting, selling, negotiating and pitching and has spoken at over 1500 conferences and workshops for leading companies such as HP, SEEK, EMC, Hitachi , Computershare, Lend Lease and Asciano.
This article first appeared in Linkedin Pulse.