The Consultative Sales Process and the Hero’s Journey

Did you know that a consultative sales process mirrors the myths and legends that human beings have told each other for millennia? The tales we’ve told since the dawn of man, whether around the campfire, in plays, or on the silver-screen inform and frame our worldview.

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Knights (resources) are introduce to King Arthur (the Hero) by Merlin (the Sage)

These myths and their archetypes drive our behavior more than most of us consciously perceive. The legends of King Arthur, The Odyssey, Robin Hood, The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, The Matrix and Harry Potter are the same story told again and again.

A person discovers they have a previously unknown power, are suddenly confronted by a formidable adversary or scenario, and find a guide(s) in the form of an astute wizard or other expert to help them explore and discover the path to success.

Sales Process
Frodo becomes a hero, discovering the power of the Ring

Along they way they mis-step, make bad choices, learn, persevere and come through improved and better than they were before – all because of the quality of their advisor.

The usual hero adventure begins with someone from whom something has been taken, or who feels there is something lacking in the normal experience available or permitted to the members of society. The person then takes off on a series of adventures beyond the ordinary, either to recover what has been lost or to discover some life-giving elixir. It’s usually a cycle, a coming and a returning.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces

We are all the hero of our own story.

I am the protagonist in mine, you are the protagonist in yours. We all face adversity whether it’s a struggle against other people, the environment, or  ourselves.

And we all need guidance from a trusted advisor who understands the path to be taken to help us discover our own route to success.

One has only to know and trust, and ageless guardians will appear. Having responded to his own call, and continuing to follow courageously as the consequences unfold, the hero finds all the forces of the unconscious at his side.

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces
consultative Sales Process
consultative sales process

And this is where sales organizations, sales people and marketing campaigns go wrong.

Because we are all the hero of our own story, sales organizations position themselves as the hero savior who will achieve success for the client.

But this is not the mindset of the client. The client is their own hero, and if you, as the sales person, are also positioned as a hero, then you are competing, not supporting.

All too often companies try to position themselves as the hero. But is this what the client wants and needs? Absolutely not. The client is the hero. The consultative sales person or organization is the experienced sage who knows and understands the path to be taken: the Merlin, the Gandalf, the Obi-Wan/Yoda, or the Dumbledore. Be the sage, be the trusted advisor and counselor – but the client is, and always will be, the hero. Never forget.

T.A. Barron, the author of The Wisdom of Merlin, encourages us to embrace 7 values: Gratitude, Courage, Knowledge, Belief, Wonder, Generosity, Hope, and Love.

And Dumbledore continually provides insight, while giving Harry the direction, but the room to succeed on his own hero’s journey:

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An advisor asks questions and shares insight with the Hero

It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Remember this. It goes against our own ego, our own sense of self, but the mindset leads to greater success. And we have to acknowledge there are times that the Hero (client) won’t listen to us, no matter how correct we are, they will take their own path. But, in keeping with the methodology of The Challenger Sale, the sage makes sure they know what will happen if they take that path.

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Morpheus provides Neo with a choice – with profound ramifications

Yoda warns Luke of the consequences of his decision

How do we implement this philosophy at Ignite Strategies?

In a straightforward manner – we analyze your business, and develop the perspectives and counsel to lead to your heroic success. We capture the stories of you and your clients, telling them from the hero’s perspective, celebrating and lifting up those successes. We watch and provide the direction and guidance – we are the Obi-Wan to your Luke Skywalker, the Dumbledore to your Harry, the Merlin to your Arthur.

How can YOU adopt this mindset to your clients and sales process? Ask yourself:

  • Am I taking credit for success or giving that credit and accolades to my client. (From a leadership perspective, am I giving credit to my team)?
  • Am I telling the client what to do, or asking them questions to lead them to their solutions?
  • Am I properly challenging the client to achieve excellence, or am I following them as a “yes-man?”
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Merlin challenges the king to decide

It’s a journey, and we’re all on it, Heroes, sages, and villains alike. Your client is the hero – it’s up to you to work your magic to help them succeed. Build that into your sales process.

Connect and let me know what you think – where does this work? Are you seeking to overshadow your client as hero, or are you serving as the counsel?

Thanks to the insightful Jill Butler at Red Key Realty for the inspiration of this article.

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