Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Bruce Lee, Sales Genius

Just when you think you have something unique, you find out someone has done it before.  In this case, the “Brevity” style of selling was invented for the purpose of fighting 50 years ago.

Bruce Lee changed martial arts by taking something with rules and rigidity and stripped away all the restrictions to make it simple, quick, powerful and fluid.

“I have not invented a "new style," composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from "this" method or "that" method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds.... The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity….There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune Do is simply the direct expression of one's feelings with the minimum of movements and energy.”
— Bruce Lee

Consider the relationship between the rigidity of sales training and selling and that of many of the traditional forms of Karate.  Have you ever been frustrated by a person who you could tell was reading from a script?  Over the phone maybe?  How about at the bank, car lot, jewelry store?  How do you feel when you know the pitch is scripted?

I earned my black belt in Tang Soo Do at the age of 14 and can tell you first hand that there is a very frustrating framework for sparing and 3 point matches.  I really value the 5 years or so that I was there, but I got bored.  Looking back, I wish there had been something like Jeet Kune Do in my small town.

Let’s talk about some of the core techniques of Jeet Kune Do and how they are similar to the Brevity selling techniques.

The Straight Lead: This is a quick straight punch that starts closer to the opponent.

-This is similar to our techniques for gathering key information with direct and honest questions.

The Non-Telegraphed Punch:  This is a technique whereby the fighter remains loose with no “get ready poses,” twitches, tensing up or drawing back to strike.

-This reminds me of the casual nature of our approach.  You often hear me talking about  shiny wingtips, bow ties, etc.  We teach that you can look expensive to your prospect, thus telegraphing.  The intention for Bruce Lee and Brevity is for the opponent or client to remain at ease.

Economy of motion:  This is based on the ideas of Simplicity, Efficiency and Directness.

-What could be more “Brevity” than that?  Our company and platform is named for these ideas.

Simultaneous Parrying and Punching: This is a way of simultaneously redirecting a blow from an opponent and throwing a strike.

-I like this one.  It reminds me of a technique we teach of not telling the client he or she is wrong, but instead focusing on and agreeing with only the portion they got right and simultaneously steering the conversation down that path.

Low Kicks: This is a technique of keeping your kicks at or below the midsection.  This puts your target closer to the foot and minimizes to risk of throwing yourself off balance.

-I teach my agents to shoot for small commitments from the client.  Getting several small commitments is better than trying to land one giant roundhouse to the face.

Be Like Water:  “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.  Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
-Bruce Lee

I don’t really expect this to ring true for all of my readers.  Some of you, who have either bought from a rigid salesman or who have been trained to sell the old way can relate.  Like Bruce Lee pushed Karate forward, our goal is to push selling forward.  Some of the old techniques will remain in practice for years to come.  After all, humans are humans.  We will even incorporate a few of the ones that work.  What we will not do is abide by a set of old standards when we can get better results with a new way.

-Insurance Professor