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Levels of Intention Predict Sales Success


Levels of Intention You know your intention, but how well do you know your levels of intention? Here’s why this is so important for sales success.

First let me ask you this: What does the word ‘intention’ invoke in you? “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” is a quote that’s been in use since the 11th century. That saying gives the word ‘intention’ a bad rap. And in some situations it should have a bad rap. If we don’t fulfill our commitments we know what happens: We lose credibility, trust and we don’t produce the results we want. And that leads to a whole other set of implications.

But intention also suggests determination, resolve and commitment. So which is it? And what does it matter anyway? It matters because there is nothing more powerful in predicting the achievement of results than our level of intention. And if we are not on track with producing the results we want, the best place to intervene is by tapping into intention.

This framework for ‘Levels of Intention’, scaling from 1 – 10 is a useful and practical way to think about intention. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t use this framework…for coaching myself, for coaching my clients when they are stuck, and for assessing my sales funnel. It’s a way of thinking that helps me evaluate the likelihood of delivering on results.

But it goes beyond thinking. It’s also a sales and coaching tool that I explicitly weave into conversations at the appropriate time. With the scaling framework, we can see that intention can range anywhere from soft intent or no intent all the way up to full-on commitment. Take the judgment out of the equation, and simply determine where you are in any given situation. What is your level of intention to:

• Hit plan?

• Attend your meeting on time?

• Follow up on that client?

• Ask for that referral?

The next step is to ask yourself, “What’s needed to move my level up?”You can gain a lot of insight with the answers to that question.

I was working with a prospective client yesterday…two very smart consultants who have very deep expertise in organization transformation change and an outstanding track record. But their expertise is a best kept secret. They suffer from the ‘double humped camel’ or feast or famine syndrome that many professionals experience. When they are working they aren’t selling and when the work is done the sales funnel needs to be rebuilt.

They told me they wanted to establish a system that would resolve this dilemma to ensure consistency in generating leads for their sales funnel. When I asked them my intention questions – “What is your level of intention to resolve this once and for all on a scale of 1 -10?”, we determined that their intention was high (7). The next series of questions which began with “What is in the way of you handling this?” revealed even more.

How Focus (Or Lack of It) Impacts Our Intention

This elicited a number of responses but the one that jumped out at me was their confusion about what direction to go in their future. Their lack of clear focus for their sales and marketing vision was creating overwhelm and confusion. Not good for decision making! I asked them how long they have had this conversation about setting up the marketing machine and they said “years”. They had been at a level of intention called “wishing, hoping and talking about” but there was no action. It’s like: “I wish I would win the million dollar lottery… but I don’t buy a ticket!”

And when they did elevate their intention to “trying” various approaches to action, they gave themselves permission to quit when it didn’t work. Quitting is different than readjusting strategy and staying the course. That’s the problem with ‘try’. It’s like an experiment where we tell ourselves if it doesn’t work, “at least I tried.” Depending on the situation, that may be appropriate. Just know that the energy and resolve that comes with the highest level of true commitment is very different and produces different results.

Here are a few other questions that worked to get these people unstuck.

• Where do you want to focus?

• Where are you willing to put your stake in the ground?

• What are you willing to commit to?

• What will you say ‘no’ to so that you can fully commit to your priorities? Just decide.

When they realized how their confusion and indecision was keeping them stuck I could see clarity beginning to emerge. What about you? Where are you on a scale from 1 to 10? How well can you improve your levels of intention to bring about sales results ? Let’s talk. You can reach me here.




This entry was posted by Tanja Parsley on July 25, 2014 in Intentional Selling™, Sales Skills, Success Mindset. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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