Have you ever tried cashews seasoned with salt and pepper? The first time I saw them in the grocery store I dismissed them out of hand, thinking the addition of pepper was kind of pointless. After ignoring them for months, however, I finally bought a can a couple of weeks ago.

Wow! Who knew a little pepper could so dramatically enhance the flavor of cashews, making them taste even better than they already do? (Apparently, the people at the Emerald Nut Company.) They immediately became one of my absolute favorite snacks.

But how long did I miss out on this discovery? I like to think of myself (as most of us do) as a pretty open-minded person. So I’m ashamed to admit to myself that I was completely close-minded to the idea of trying this product. It served as a wake-up call that I need to always keep an open mind to new possibilities and opportunities.

How open-minded are you, really? How open-minded are the people in your organization? Success in sales (and business in general) requires being receptive to new products, services, ideas and approaches. But too many people immediately reject anything new or different without giving it a chance.

Have you or others in your organization ever responded to a new proposal with any of the following rebuffs?
• We’ve never done that before.
• It will never work.
• That’s not the way we do things here.
• We can’t afford the risk.
• It’s fine the way it is.
• That’s stupid.
• We’re not interested in changing.
• It’s too expensive.
• Why should we bother?
• We tried that once and it didn’t work.
• Nothing’s going to change.
• It may have worked for someone else, but our industry is different.

If so, you’d better change your mindset. In this economic climate, if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you’re likely to get less than you’ve ever gotten before. Times like these demand that you try new things and new ways if you want to boost your sales. Yes, there’s risk, because some efforts may not work out. But those meager risks are more than outweighed by the massive rewards you’ll reap when something does work.

So ask yourself two questions: 1) What am I potentially missing out on? And 2) What new thing am I going to try today?

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