In the animated film Kung Fu Panda, the wizened Master Oogway advises his disciple, Shifu, to give up the illusion of control, a concept Shifu has trouble accepting. It’s a concept many salespeople have trouble accepting as well. In fact, many books and sales training seminars offer stratagems for “taking control of the sale.”

But Master Oogway was right, and salespeople should heed his advice. Trying to control the sale is an exercise in futility because such control is indeed an illusion. While we can certainly control our own thoughts, words and actions, that’s about it. We can’t make a prospect pick up the phone, read our e-mail or keep their appointment with us. We can’t control our competition, our prospect’s buying process or the end result of any given sales effort.

This is not to say you don’t have any impact at all. On the contrary, you have enormous potential to influence your prospect. You may not be able to “control” them, but you can:
    • Ask
• Engage
• Encourage
• Support
• Probe
• Listen
• Explain
• Empathize
• Assist
• Point out
• Demonstrate
• Suggest
• Help
• Advise
• Counsel
• Highlight
• Underscore
• Emphasize
• Describe
• Aid
• Elucidate
• Recommend
• Embolden
• And more!

When you try to control the sale, you frustrate yourself and annoy your prospect. When you give up the illusion of control, you free yourself to be of service to your prospect. And that will put you on the path to sales mastery.

Movie Trivia: Despite concerns by the director, all the actors in Kung Fu Panda performed their own stunts.