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Feeling stuck? Here's a strategy to find new sales ideas

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Have you ever been totally stuck without a clue about how you’re going to handle a challenging situation? I’ve been there a thousand times. You’d think that after all these years in this business, I’d finally have it all figured out.

Not a chance. Everything keeps changing — customers, technology, what you’re selling. It’s endless. You can never know it all.

Early in my sales career, I bumped into a thinking strategy that I still use to this day. Whenever I’m stuck, I borrow someone else’s brain.

I can always tell when it’s time to do it. I’m flailing, thinking, “OMG … I don’t have a clue what to do here.”

Then I catch myself, take a deep breath and think about who might know how to handle the situation. When a name pops into my mind, I simply ask myself, “What would Trish or Dave do right now?”

Believe it or not, when you tackle a challenge from this perspective, your own brain is capable of conjuring up ideas and answers it could never have thought of on its own.

In my first year of sales, I constantly borrowed Jim’s brain whenever I was stumped by a prospect’s question. He was a real pro; I’d followed him around as a trainee before I started in my own territory.

Whenever someone asked him something that he couldn’t immediately answer, he’d say, “Good question. Why’s that important to you?” So, I started doing it too – when I was stumped. I can assure you, it was a whole lot better than the babbling I would have done on my own.

Over the years, I’ve borrowed the brains of Steve Jobs, Mahatma Gandhi, my husband, an accountant and my colleagues. When I wanted to lose weight, I even borrowed the brain of a thin person. It really helps!

But lest you think I’m totally crazy, please know that many others do this too. In fact, I love this quote by former U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. He says, “I not only use all the brains I have, but also all that I can borrow.”

Give it a shot. You just might find some fresh answers – and get unstuck a whole lot faster.

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