Salespeople, like all people, love staying in their comfort zone. It’s comfortable, after all.
Of course, staying comfortable means staying in place. If you want to make a big move, get to a higher level, build new relationships, and crush your sales goals, you’re going to need to “step outside your comfort zone.” Right?
Well, there’s something that works even better than stepping outside your comfort zone!
Your comfort zone shouldn’t be set in stone
The old cliché of “stepping outside your comfort zone” is proof that most people have a fixed mindset when it comes to uncomfortable obstacles.
We think of our comfort zone as a circle that never changes. We’re either inside where it’s safe or outside where it’s scary. But I tell this to everyone I coach:
Your comfort zone shouldn’t be a fixed circle!
If you think of your comfort zone as a rubber band instead of a fixed circle, it won’t feel as uncomfortable to confront new challenges.
A rubber band can stretch and grow. Every time you push the limits of your comfort zone, you stretch and grow the areas you feel comfortable in. When you think of it this way, you’re just learning and growing—which is a lot more comfortable than imagining yourself jumping headfirst into the unknown!
Stretching is how we grow
“Stepping outside of our comfort zone” means doing something new and unfamiliar—and people find it uncomfortable to do something they’ve never done before. But, once you do it, it’s not so uncomfortable!
So, do you remember your first kiss?
Not a schoolyard peck on the cheek, I mean your first real kiss. Stay with me—I promise I’m going somewhere with this!
When you were a teenager, leaning in for that kiss, you probably felt wildly uncomfortable—hands sweating, nervous, thoughts racing, butterflies in your stomach. It felt uncomfortable, awkward, and then it happens. And then… hey, that was actually pretty great!
Well, in hindsight, it was probably not your best kiss. But that didn’t stop you, did it? You had stretched your comfort zone, and the next time you went in for a kiss, your palms were a little less sweaty, you were a little less nervous, and it didn’t feel as awkward. That second or third kiss was probably even more exciting—because you were more comfortable!
When we stretch, we get better. With regular practice, things get easier, and you can enjoy the benefits of your new, bigger comfort zone.
Rubber bands snap back
So, now you’re a great kisser. Totally comfortable with it. Until you go eight months without kissing anyone. You meet someone new, and one thing leads to another… and wait! The butterflies are back! Why am I suddenly so nervous, like it’s the first time I kissed anyone?!
If our comfort zones are like a rubber band, that means they can stretch to be bigger—and bounce back to where they were, if we’re not stretching them anymore. If we don’t practice the things that make us uncomfortable often enough, they’ll be uncomfortable every time we try.
So what does all this kissing have to do with sales? Whenever a salesperson tells me how nervous they get when they’re prospecting, I tell them: Prospecting is just like making out!
You get nervous while prospecting, and feel like it’s out of your comfort zone because you’re not doing it enough. You need to tackle these uncomfortable tasks often enough to overcome your feelings of discomfort. It takes deliberate practice to be a better salesperson!
If you only dial once a week, every week will be a little uncomfortable. But, if you dial every single day, it doesn’t feel so awful. You’re used to overcoming your internal resistance, and dialing is no longer “outside your comfort zone”—it’s just something you do all the time without having to think about it.
When it’s time to meet a challenge that’s “outside your comfort zone,” remember you’re just stretching yourself to become comfortable with new things. That’s how growth works! The more you stretch, the more comfortable you’ll feel with what you’re doing—and you’ll be able to stretch in new directions that used to be out of reach.
Until next time—go sell some stuff!