Sales Professionals – It’s Time to Put on Your Thinking Hats!

Sales professionals are under constant pressure to perform, and sales performance is very easily measured. You cannot “hide” in sales. To succeed, salespeople must determine how and when to make adjustments to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

We recently read that there have been more changes in the past 30 years than during the previous 5,000 years combined. And, the rate of change continues to accelerate.

The reality is that salespeople will have to make adjustments more often to continue to thrive in the business. This may seem overwhelming, but by harnessing your thinking power, and the thinking power of your company and your customers, these changes can become potential opportunities.

You are probably thinking, “That sounds great in theory, but how do you really do it?” One way that is proven is to use the Six Thinking Hats® framework, developed by Dr. Edward de Bono, the world’s leading authority on creative and conceptual thinking. The Six Thinking Hats teaches you how to separate emotion from facts, the positive from the negative, and critical thinking from creative thinking.

The Six Thinking Hats framework is widely used for strategic planning, process improvement, new product development, R&D, leadership development, and innovation, and is now gaining more attention and recognition in the sales arena. Jeffrey Gitomer and Bill Whitley have both written about the use of Six Thinking Hats within the sales process.

Six Thinking Hats gives you tools to uncover hidden opportunities, explain complex issues for your clients, and present your product or services with clarity so you may hold focused and effective sales discussions.

What Are the Six Thinking Hats?

White Hat Thinking: Information availible and needed.

Black Hat Thinking: Cautions and difficulties; Where things might go wrong.

Red Hat Thinking: Intuitions, feelings, and hunches

Green Hat Thinking: Alternatives and creative ideas.

Yellow Hat Thinking: Values and benefits; Why something might work.

Blue Hat Thinking: Manage the thinking process.

Sales Applications of the Six Thinking Hats

Opportunities for Internal Use of Six Thinking Hats with Sales Team & Management

  1. Develop Sales Strategy: Define Targets – Leverage Marketing – Make Adjustments
  2. Solve Sales Problems
  3. Spot New Opportunities & Targets
  4. Maximize Time (stop argument & debate)

Opportunities for External Use of Six Thinking Hats with Clients & Prospects

  1. Lead Qualification & Prioritizing
  2. Discovery Stage: Initial Prospect Interviews. Collecting relevant information in planning prospect contact.
  3. Relationship Building: Become a trusted advisor. Help clients & prospect solve problems and spot opportunities (if your clients make money & stay in business that’s good for you!)
  4. Craft proposals and recommendations

Here’s What a VP of Sales for a Sport Broadcasting Company Said About Six Thinking Hats Within the Sales Process

“The introduction of de Bono’s Six Hats parallel thinking techniques, modified for application to the selling process, was extremely well-received . . . I have been to a variety of sales training seminars in the last 25 years, but find this approach, as customized to suit our products, to be one of the most valuable and practical of any that I have come across. I would recommend its customized use for any of our broadcast sales teams.”

Excerpt from Bill Whitley’s book “Art of the Rainmaker”

“One of the most powerful ways to create client intimacy is with the ideas and insights that you create with your client. Creating ideas with your client requires you to become a good meeting facilitator. In my experience the most powerful way to facilitate a group problem solving or idea generation session is with a technique I learned in a book by Edward de Bono called Six thinking Hats. I’ve used Dr. de Bono’s process to facilitate hundreds of group brainstorming sessions which have always produced stellar results.”

Are you ready to put on your thinking hats?