3 sales lessons from “one of the finest mystical documents the world has seen”
The sales profession serves as a perfect battleground between Self and Ego.
Each day, you summon the courage, clarity, and fortitude necessary to secure millions of dollars for your company. You face fierce competition, product shortcomings, and unruly prospects.
But it is “the battle within” that presents your biggest challenges.
No text better highlights those challenges and their solutions than The Bhagavad Gita.
Potentially cited more than any other book, the Gita surfaces often when reading personal development titans like Steven Pressfield and Ryan Holiday.
If unfamiliar, the Gita is a holy scripture of Hinduism dated to the second half of the first millennium BCE. It details a discussion between Prince Arjuna and his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna. I read Eknath Easwaran’s translation where he calls the book, “one of the finest mystical documents the world has seen.”
It’s a challenging but rewarding read. After struggling through some unfamiliar words and names, I teased out three timeless lessons to help you improve your sales (and life) efforts.
Pressfield cites this quote in his classic, The War of Art, and it highlights my favorite lesson from the book.
By design, sales plays as a profession focused on reaching a destination as opposed to enjoying a journey.
Quota, commissions, and contests serve as targets for the arrows of professionals everywhere. But obsessing over these targets, dwelling on the destination, pushes our arrows off course or keeps us from shooting them at all.
In the above passage (and at several other points), Krishna suggests we operate at our most divine when unmotivated. That is, we offer our best work, our authentic work, when we work for work’s sake.
Sales is a craft. It requires consistent practice across disciplines like learning, listening, and communicating. You best shape these practices independent of distraction. And sales “won” or money “lost” cede distraction.
Make your phone calls, write your emails, learn your product, and serve your customer.
Remain focused on your actions, not the outcomes of your actions, and the Gita suggests you will “amass the wealth of spiritual awareness.”
In this passage, Krishna describes one signal that shows people have become “fulfilled by spiritual wisdom and Self-realization.”
They have conquered themselves.
It also describes a handy mindset for achieving sales success: impartiality.
Sales is a sport of conversation. You speak to prospects, customers, partners, peers, and superiors, all from different walks of life. And “moving” these people serves as your primary function. In order to do so, you must first understand them.
The less judgment you bring into a conversation, the easier it is for you to understand the person on the other side.
Listen to their challenges and opportunities, undistracted by assumptions. Get to the heart of their situation then offer a compelling, helpful solution. And because you remain objective, they see you as sincere, relevant, and consider accepting your offer.
Practicing impartiality opens the door to understanding others more than any other skill.
And when you are impartial, “you climb to the summit of human consciousness.”
Near the end of the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna again councils Arjuna on the importance of doing work for work’s sake.
For when we do, we remain “free from egotism and selfish attachments, full of enthusiasm and fortitude in success and failure alike.”
As a sales professional, this means embracing the mundane, everyday practices of your work.
Make calls, send emails, take notes, learn and listen. Sleep early, meditate, journal, and embrace a healthy, consistent diet. These practices feel unpleasant at first, but over time, lead to understanding and fulfillment all their own.
Good habits offer delayed gratification.
Krishna once again, “By sustained effort, one comes to the end of sorrow.”
This lesson revealed itself several times when reading the book. I stumbled through the unfamiliar words. The hard-to-pronounce names challenged me. Each night before bed, I did my best to read one chapter.
I felt lost and dumb. But I persisted.
After finishing my first read, I returned to the introduction. During a second read, the puzzle pieces came together and I recognized the characters, context, and messaging.
Now I hear voice and tone when Krishna speaks.
I understand Arjuna’s struggle.
I feel their story.
And so can you.
What do you think? I’d love to hear. Connect with me on LinkedIn or email me at email@example.com
I help software sales professionals sell (and live) with intention. When you embrace practice, develop awareness, and align your efforts, you can rise above the deal.
You can live #quotaless