Have you ever tried to convince someone of something that they did not believe in? It is not an easy task for even the best sales people. I have been told that I can sell ice to Eskimos on several occasions, but it was not because I changed the other person’s mind about anything. I simply stepped outside of my sales role and sought to address an issue together with the person on the other end of the phone.
Jeffrey Gitomer is regarded as an expert in sales and holds conferences nationally talking about relationship and sales. He states that: “The difference between success and mediocrity is philosophy” (Gitomer, 2005, p. 12). I think what he is getting at is that you need to understand who you are selling to before you can make a sale. This aligns with the theory known as Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) because through coordinated meaning both sides of a sale have an understanding that makes sense to them through their conversations.
“Pearce and Cronen present CMM as a practical theory crafted to help make life better for real people in a real world” (Griffin, 2012 p. 67). A city manager (in press) eloquently described this idea as a desired form of communication. “The “light bulb” moment for me came when I realized that this project was not about changing people’s minds, but that it was about giving people a way to talk about tough issues” (Pearce & Pearce, 2000). I saw this idea in motion on a daily basis as I discussed the pressing issues of society with public library directors. I have heard what they view to be the tough issues and discussed with them how they can help put the right information in their library to most effectively meet the needs of their patrons.
“Barnett Pearce and Vernon Cronen (2007) believe that communication is the process by which we collectively create the events and objects of our social worlds. (CMM), states with assertion that persons-in-conversations co-construct their own social realities and are simultaneously shaped by the worlds they create” (Griffin, 2012 p. 67).
I believe this to be true as I have taken part in many conversations as a sales person where a customer has become a friend and our communications are consumed with what we agree on and what we have identified as our goals. Pearce (2007) states that “CCM is a theory that sees ‘communication as a generative: a way of doing things and making things, not just talking about them’” (p. xiv).
By viewing a sales professional’s communication with potential customers through the eyes of the CMM theory, the outcome of the communication is less focused on the outcomes and more on the relationship. In other words, it is not business as usual, but a time to build a relationship that shares ideas and calls into being a better social world with each client.