The First Step to Sales Leadership: Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

Discover how consistently pushing your limits will boost your creativity—and ultimately, your sales performance.

December 7, 2016

  • Getting-Out-Of-Comfort-Zone

Every day, you should challenge yourself to get outside of your comfort zone. That may be a well-worn phrase, but it’s still critical advice for living a full life—and for killing it in sales.

In fact, pushing yourself to experience that new, uncertain, and—yes, even anxious—feeling is mandatory for business and sales leaders if they want to take their team to its peak.

That advice is even more essential in the era of social selling, when 90% of decision-makers no longer respond to cold calls.

In order to sustain buyers’ attention, it’s going to take a lot more creativity than you would use in your typical email or PowerPoint presentation.It’s also going to take more than merely embracing all the new tools for tracking and engaging with buyers. It will mean getting comfortable drawing outside the lines.

And to get to that point, you should start stepping outside your comfort zone on a regular basis. If you do so, you’ll see all sorts of positive outcomes, including these three.  

1. Better Brainstorming

It’s well known that exposing yourself to new things induces new brain connections—whether that’s learning fresh business practices, exploring a foreign land, or just finding a novel way of making coffee. These new, uncomfortable experiences lead us to challenge our long-held, stagnant beliefs and push us to see our old problems with a changed focus.

According to business innovation consultant Bill Donius, better brainstorming only comes when people “burst out of their comfort zones of complacent, conventional thinking to get to a place where big, bold, breakthrough ideas are possible.”

So, the next time you’re in a meeting, embrace that strange, odd thought rather than shutting it down. The ultimate beneficiary may be your client who loves your breakthrough idea.  

2. Taking on Worthwhile Risks

Being more comfortable with the uncomfortable—and with failure—is key to success. The more you step outside your comfort zone, the more doing so will be less scary (and you can start with small steps, by the way).

Even small risks have a payoff. When was the last time you had an opinion you wanted to share on social media, but thought, “I shouldn’t—it’s not a unique opinion and no one’s interested in reading it.”

Many folks share that same scared feeling – and the fear leads to less online engagement, which isn’t helpful when crafting a social strategy. Next time you’re in that situation, push yourself further. You’ll see the sky won’t fall, and you’ll have a bit more courage in the future.

3. Meeting New People

The more you challenge yourself to embrace new experiences, the greater variety of people you’ll come across. Whether online or in-person, all sales reps know that prospects can appear in the most unlikely places; a great conversation with a person you just met could lead to an introduction to your next big client.

Even as if you embrace the myriad new tools and data made available by technology, those tactics alone aren’t the end-all-be-all of sales. In fact, if you want reach the top of your industry, the first principle you should believe in—and act on—is getting out of your comfort zone.

For more expert advice from sales leaders, download our free eBook: 33 Social Selling Tips by Social Selling Thought Leaders