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My Sales Aikido Works, Yours May Not

Discover how Aikido principles can dramatically improve your sales technique and lead to consistent success.

How Sales Aikido Can Transform Your Selling Techniques

Sensei Hiroshi Ikeda would say, "My Aikido works; yours may not." Like any martial art, nothing works unless you master the forms. At the time I was practicing, I learned a lot about mastery and even more about why people fail. I practiced three times a week, sometimes more. My sensei would perform a form, and we would practice it. After a number of attempts, he would demonstrate a variation on the form, and then he would start a different form. This went on for months before I started to be able to perform a form.

At some point, I realized that the people who were good at the forms got to the dojo early to practice. They also stayed late, always doing just one form dozens of times. One Saturday, I was practicing with Jeremy, a third-degree black belt, when the sensei stopped to watch me go through the forms I would need to get a belt. Jeremy said, "You just passed your test."

If you want to master anything, you need someone who can help you. I was fortunate to be invited to practice with the people who had black belts, including one who had a third-degree black belt. I was struggling with being thrown until another black belt, Tom, launched me across the room, and I rolled forward and ended up on my feet.

One summer, my sensei brought in a new crop of people. I didn't know how much progress I had made until I worked with the new people. They were terrible, and practicing with them was difficult. Without meaning to, they would hurt you by trying to perform some form. Because I had great teachers that would work with me, most people believed I was a black belt, and I felt like one.

Common Reasons Why Your Sales Aikido Might Be Falling Short

One reason that your Aikido doesn’t work is that you don’t practice the same form over and over again. If you do something one way, then do it a different way, then do it yet another way, it's difficult to improve. If you want to improve your results, practice one thing until you master it.

If you don’t have a sales methodology and a set of sales strategies that allow you to create value for your contacts and create a preference to buy from you, it will be difficult for you to succeed in sales. Your methodology and your strategies are more important than your sales process. Without a methodology and the accompanying sales strategies, you will find selling difficult. Pick the methodology that you believe creates the greatest value for your contacts in the sales conversation.

Those who wish to ensure they succeed in B2B sales will need to practice. If you want to accelerate your sales effectiveness, spend time every week role-playing with your peers, making certain that they hit you with the most difficult scenarios. You are better off practicing on your peers instead of on your clients.

Overcoming Leadership Challenges in Sales Management

Salespeople, myself included, tend to value our autonomy. That said, as a sales leader, you must demand compliance when it comes to your sales methodology. You may have a number of your sales team who believe they have their own sales approach. It is rare to find sales leaders and sales managers forcing compliance to the methodology and the sales strategies.

These same sales leaders and sales managers often refuse to use a modern methodology because it isn’t how they sold in the past. Too many want their teams to sell using a legacy approach, even though it fails to create the value buyers find helpful to their decision making.

It is critical that sales leaders overcome these challenges and adjust to the evolving B2B landscape. This environment is not static; it is constantly changing, often faster than we can keep up. It is important to adopt new methodologies and strategies that align with what buyers expect from salespeople and their sales organization.

The world of sales is not static; it's constantly changing, and so should your strategies. The most successful sales leaders are those who are not afraid to adopt new methodologies and strategies that align with the changing needs and expectations of their customers. It is important to learn, unlearn, and relearn, keeping pace as best as one can.

Leaving this article, if you are a salesperson, you should look at how you sell and what you need to be able to consistently sell so you win deals. You would do well to practice as often as you can, especially with your peers, as most salespeople work from home. If you can use Zoom for a client meeting, you can use it to role play.

If you are a sales leader or a sales manager, leaving this article, you should work to ensure your teams are selling in a way that ensures they are creating value, leading the client, and winning at a high rate, with the outcome of making it easier to win deals.

As always, do good work and find the ability to make your sales Aikido work for you and your sales teams.


Sales 2024
Post by Anthony Iannarino on April 23, 2024

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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