Oct 16, 2015

The Habit of Selling Well


What would it be like to consistently sell well, at the top of your game? How would it feel to know that each and every time you approached a sales activity your “A” game showed up? Just suppose you could make this “automatically” happen.

My good friend, Dr. Ali Anani, recently wrote posts on LinkedIn and SlideShare about the habits of customers and how to facilitate marketing and sales efforts around those habits. All of that is true and can greatly enhance the flow of new customers…unless the salespeople don’t have the confidence, motivation, and ability to “close the deal”. Would you agree?

With more than 30 years training salespeople who work for me to sell better than the competition, or even other sales managers in the same company, I understand the details of selling and where automatic behaviors (habits) can greatly increase sales effectiveness. Let’s get started!

The Waking Mindset
How a person views the beginning of their day can affect their entire day. Waking with a positive mindset means more than just telling yourself things like, “I’m a great salesperson. I’m a great salesperson. I’m a great salesperson.” Though, you will find many Personal Development and sales Gurus will tell you to do just that. Imagine you’ve just gone through a routine like that. You have this positive feeling, you have positive thoughts, your shoulders are back, your head held high, and a skip in your step. Then, out of nowhere, something negative happens. It’s like a helium balloon that just got poked by a needle! All that positive talk and posture deflate faster than a New England Patriot’s football!

The Trip to the Office
Let’s say our salesperson makes it out of the door with their positive self-talk and winning posture and begins the trip to the office. On the way, someone almost hits their car and causes them to swerve and go off the road. The Self-Development recording continues to play and our salesperson yells at it, saying “Stop being so positive when my life is ___!” Yes, our salesperson has generalized this event across more than just the moment, more than just the morning, more than just across the day. They have generalized and exaggerated it across their life!

The Day in the Life of a Salesperson
Suppose our salesperson has made it successfully to the office and in a positive mood. Of course, there can be an array of happenings which could, once again, cause them to “crash and burn” into a negative state. But, let’s say they make it through the office politics, the traditional sales meeting with the sales manager who knows more about selling than they do about leading, and all of the other potentially negative events. Our salesperson gets on the phone to make their two hours of cold-call prospecting. They look at the phone and memories of all of the voice messages that have been never been returned, the interrogation-like questioning from the hardened Gatekeepers, the people who are more-than-slightly-upset about receiving an unsolicited phone call, etc. all come to their mind. With all these beliefs, thoughts, and feelings confronting them, a sense of fear and dread enters their body. They begin to sweat and shiver. The only thing that has enough force to move them to pick up the phone is the more intense fear and dread of being fired. So, they reluctantly and hesitantly pick up the phone…

The next few hours are spent going on appointments with prospects. The sales process has been drilled into their head. They know by heart the 5-Step, 6-Step, or whatever step process they have been taught. And, they have been taught to fear wavering from this known-to-be-absolutely-successful-if-followed process. If a prospect doesn’t close, then it becomes obvious they didn’t follow the process. Now they have made into the office of their first prospect. Before going in, they have repeated their mantra over and over, “I’m a great salesperson. I’m a great salesperson. I’m a great salesperson.” And, it works…until the prospect comes in and takes control of the environment, creates an Adult-Child psychological environment, and causes so much stress that our salesperson goes into Survival Mode and can’t even access their well-rehearsed process.

Defeated, our salesperson seeks out a local movie theater, dark coffee shop, or some other secluded place to hide until it’s time to return to the office. When they enter the office, they are met by their sales manager, who asks, “Well, did you make the sale?” Because they fear the consequences of not making the sale, they lie. They make an excuse. They may have even made every effort to avoid the sales manager in order to “live to fight another day”.

Going Home
Our salesperson gets in their car and, when they start it, their Self-Development recording begins to play. They stop it, roll down the window, and toss it out. Instead, they put on the loudest, most bass-driven music so they can drown out their own thoughts. As they walk through the door, the familiar question melodically rings out from their spouse or significant other, “How did it go today?” They either lie to themselves and those at home about the events of the day, or they head straight to their bedroom, home office, study, or some other secluded place to find a modicum of silence and solace. And, the drama begins anew the next morning…

Did you discover the automatic, habitual behaviors in the story?
1) The morning routine
2) The reaction to a negative event
3) The beliefs about the people they work with
4) The beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors associated with cold-calling
5) The reaction to people in Positional Power
6) The reaction to accumulated stress

Did you notice how their mind and body has been conditioned to form the habitual reactions, beliefs, and thoughts? More importantly, do you identify with any, or all, of those? Most people can.

So, why did I title this post The Habit of Selling Well? Shouldn’t it have been titled, How to Talk Someone Out of Going into Sales? I chose the title because very quickly, very easily, and very permanently all those negative habits can be transformed and changed into truly positive beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors. You see, all of the Self-Development materials and all of the positive-thinking psychology in sales training materials only reach the conscious mind, the part of the mind that thinks at 40 bits of information per minute. All of the habits listed above are coming from our salesperson’s unconscious mind, the part that thinks at 40,000,000 bits of information per minute. It easily overrides its counterpart. All of the training and all of the fear tactics used by sales managers and others will never reach the salesperson’s unconscious mind to truly effect the needed transformations and changes. But, what would happen if your company was able to reach and engage the powerful unconscious mind and put to work the part that process information 1,000,000 faster?

If you would like to know how I effect real and permanent change in salespeople quickly and effectively and with the guarantee that they will be a Top 20% Performer…or higher…then please contact me before you lose another sale!

Dr. Edward Lewellen is a Master Executive Coach, leadership and sales expert, and keynote speaker for some of the largest global organizations.

Author of The 90-Second Mind Manager