My favorite photography mentor, Les Saucier begins his outdoor shooting workshops with the admonition, “We aren’t going for the trophy shot today. This is all practice.” What a simple and powerful approach to freeing us to enjoy the process and unlock creative possibilities! Les often elaborates on the point by suggesting that we ask ourselves, “What if…?”, bringing another invitation to break from old ways of seeing and explore new possibilities.
Les’ suggestions apply equally to creative selling. As with photography, the best opportunities present themselves when we free ourselves from attachment to the outcome, and focus on having fun with the process. Enjoyment is contagious, attracts others, and expands the flow of opportunities. Asking ourselves, “What if…” is a powerful way to discover new solutions to challenging sales situations.
Consider the ancient Beech tree in this photo. How free and creative has it been in finding places to root itself over the rocky mountain, and extending its branches in flowing ways to find the sun? It even survived early 1900's clear cutting of forests along the Blue Ridge Mtns, perhaps because of its free and twisted shapes.
Creative selling calls us to bring ourselves, our gifts and skills fully present in every moment of the sales cycle; sometimes in unique and different ways. Think about the kind of energy and tone of interaction you generate when you approach your sales with openness to the flow of energy, practicing your skills and discovering what life presents, vs. trying to drive the prospect to your next “big sale”. At the end of the day, regardless of what opportunities have surfaced, you are more likely to feel a sense of satisfaction and joy in what has been achieved.
At the very least, you will have practiced your relationship and selling skills; and learned new things from and about interacting with co-workers, prospects and customers. And if a new opportunity has surfaced, it has come with a sense of discovery and appreciation — perhaps even a sense of magic in the workings of creation.
To be sure, you will have expended energy in the direction of achieving sales success, but the process will be characterized by a sense of play and freedom rather than drudgery and fear of failure. How can one fail if we are simply practicing our art, developing our skills and opening ourselves to all possibilities of discovery? For me, engaging in life as a creative practice is one of the simplest and most powerful tools for sustained enjoyment and success in sales or any other human endeavor.