On a recent walk, I was reflecting on the color of summer – yellow. Summertime is the time of year when people overwhelmingly lean into the color yellow – a season filled with sunshine and lemonade.
As my walk continued, I reflected that the “color of summer” seems to be less popular than it once was. Not in the season of course, but in the mix of behavior styles in sales organizations.
I started my career in sales 25 years ago, and have been in front of or with, sales teams almost weekly for the previous 16 years as CEO of Riverbend. I have noticed a drift away from yellow – the color typically associated with the behavior-style that values harmony and relationships – in many of those teams.
I cannot claim to know the source of this pivot, nor claim statistical significance to my observations. However, I know what I see…and what I see is a scarcity of “yellow” in the sales organizations with whom I work.
However, I do wonder if The Challenger Sale craze, the “do more with less” mantra, or the erroneous math of “give 110%” has a hand in this shortage of “yellow.” These movements can elevate other behavior-styles like “red” (competitive, Carpe Diem…) or “blue” (excellence, hard-working…) as the perceived “preferred path” to sales success.
If by some chance, we see a person with a “yellow-style” in the mix of a customer’s team during one of our trainings, that person tends to be “made light of” – pun intended. Which is a missed opportunity, if you ask me.
Not only do I stand up for yellow, but I also suggest that hiring managers should be leaning into the light. There are many strengths that yellow brings to sales; let’s focus on three of them:
Inspiring. I have a hard time imagining a sales situation when the strength of “inspiring” would not come in handy. Inspiring customers to see the possibilities and wins that your product or service brings to them or their business. Inspiring their sales team or peers during a downturn in the market or during a competitive launch that winning is still possible. Inspiring themselves when it comes time to gear up for a Monday on the road or as quarter-end is approaching and a final push is needed to meet quota. Yes, please. I’ll take yellow.
Intuitive. Intuition is critical throughout the sales process. Reading a room to know if it is time to push to close or if the timing might not be right. Knowing when to back-off objection handling before alienating a customer. Gaining a sense for who holds the “real” power or influence in the room. Picking up on the mood to be able to adjust in real time. Yes, please. I’ll take yellow.
Negotiating. We probably do not need to dive into that fact that negotiating skills are essential in sales. But due to my passion for Quantum Negotiations, it is worth the mention that I believe yellow is naturally more gifted in the delicate nature of negotiations. Quantum Negotiations is centered on the anchor that relationships matter – a much overdue shift in negotiations strategy. Zero-sum game negotiations are no longer attractive nor sustainable. Yellow inherently knows that relationships are essential and wants both sides to win to ensure long-term success. Yes, please. I’ll take yellow.
I believe these highlights help make the case that yellow can and does win in sales. So, as you or your company prepare for the hiring process the next time a sales position is open, maybe it is time to remember to let the sunshine in!
If you are lacking “yellow” in your organization or team, Riverbend can help through hiring processes, teaching “yellow” strengths to non-“yellow” team members, and upgrading your Negotiations Skills training.
Email us to let the sunshine in Info@TheRiverbendGroup.com