One word, three syllables: Understand.
That’s the magic word… “Understand.”
So what’s the big deal about this word? And how can YOU make it work for you starting today?
Great questions. And I’m answering them today.
You see, if you would only seek to understand, your sales numbers would shoot through the roof and your life would be transformed, virtually overnight.
I’ve experienced this myself, and I’ve seen it played out in several business connections over the years.
To put a finer point on it — you’ll begin to grow exponentially in these three ways when you start seeking to understand:
- Personal growth and development (your mind, body, soul)
- Professional growth (your income and impact)
- Big picture growth (your place in the world)
Don’t worry, I’ll show you what it means to seek understanding in these areas.
But first, understand what exactly? And how can you leverage authentic understanding in your sales career and life?
Let’s lay a quick foundation by defining the word.
The Definition of Understand
- 1. perceive the intended meaning of (words, a language, or a speaker).
“he didn’t understand a word I said”
It’s all about getting to the intended meaning of things. Now, here are the three areas to seek understanding.
Seek to Understand for Personal Development
If you could suddenly beam into the offices, homes, or hotels of other people — pretty much anywhere in the world — you’d see people consuming entertainment for most of their waking hours. They are stuck in what’s called the “hedonic treadmill.” Never really fulfilling their potential or finding joy in life. Instead, their senses are being dulled out by so-called entertainment in the form of mobile games, social media, Netflix, and the list goes on.
When they do read or watch educational content, they are mostly watching agenda-driven content that comes at them, rather than seeking out content that will feed their growth. Instead of being active learners, they are passive consumers. This is why you see a nation full of zombies glued to their phones and couches. It feels right, and it seems like we’re learning, but we’re really just building the neural pathways to mental poverty.
So, here’s what you do if you’re looking to get ahead in sales, business, and life. You do what my mentor Jim Rohn famously said and “Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind.”
That’s right. Stand guard. At the door. Of your MIND.
Action plan: Purchase 10 sales/leadership/business books today and make a personal binding contract with yourself that you’ll read them all within one year. That’s about a book a month. Now that’s seeking to understand. Do this each year and you’ll be transformed in a few short years.
Understanding in Sales
You must also seek to understand in the world of sales. Not in sales? Don’t worry, this translates and is applicable to relationships of all kinds.
You have to understand your prospect’s business, their industry, and their competition. This is fundamental to sales success. Next, you have to understand their goals and priorities, which allows you to align your offer with their vision for the future. And finally, you must understand their deepest pain points. These conversations are the trenches where sales heroes are made. You dig deep enough. You ask the right questions. And you’ll be able to help your prospect out of misery and despair (or at least add value to their business).
But remember, you have to seek to understand the intended meaning. They may say one thing, but if you listen empathically, you will decode it as something else entirely. For instance, if you hear from your prospect “We’re having trouble keeping up with the competition,” there’s a deeper meaning behind this. Maybe they aren’t innovating like their competition, maybe their pricing structure is out-of-touch with the market, etc. You must seek to understand why they’re unable to keep up with the competition. Like a game of chess, always look a few moves deep.
Action plan: Listen with empathy when your prospect speaks. Ask 50% more questions than you normally do, but make these questions geared toward getting at the deeper meaning of things. And don’t be satisfied with superficial answers. Keep digging. You won’t truly know how to help your prospect until you understand their needs. Role play this and drill it every day.
Understanding the Big Picture
You are where you’re at in life as a result of the decisions you made, for better or worse.
Now take a step back, breathe, and look at your life from the outside looking in. Pretend you’re your hero or mentor. Be it Jim Rohn, Mel Robbins, PBD, Grant Cardone, etc. Pretend they are looking at your life and critiquing it. What would they say? This is the big picture understanding you must have to recalibrate, if needed, and find the path to ultimate success.
I do this at least quarterly. It helps to leave your home or office when seeking to understand the big picture. It’s hard when you’re surrounded by the familiar to get an honest and objective look at things. When you do this (and do it TODAY!), be sure to take stock of where you are in the big picture of life, not just where you’re at this year. And don’t get down on yourself if you’re not where you thought you’d be. Remember, this is the understanding you need to forge a path ahead.
Action plan: Go for a long walk in the woods, or go on a vacation to a different country. It doesn’t matter – just get away and reflect. Write down on paper, in one sentence, where you are in the big picture of life. Then beneath it, write down where you want to be in 5 years. Then, come up with clear goals, set your sights on it, and make it happen. This is understanding!
I’d venture to say that 95% of people don’t seek to understand in life. That’s why the bar is set so low for success. And that’s why most people don’t grow past a 5-figure or 6-figure income. They put limits on themselves because they refuse to understand on a deeper level. This might be a subconscious refusal, or a refusal out of ignorance, but it’s still a refusal. Don’t let this be you.
Thankfully, you now have the tools to understand for personal development, sales growth, and big picture growth. Just be sure you actually adopt this principle and put it to work for you. Commit to doing the action plans I’ve outlined above, and you’ll be shocked by the results it can net you over the months and years.
And with that, go out there and seek to understand. It’s likely the one thing standing in the way of you and true success and achievement in life.
Until next time…