We live in a world where most human beings spend their days going 1,000 miles an hour with their hair on fire. The age of online information and social media have driven many to continuously update the information they believe necessary for survival every 7 minutes. This constant search for relevance drives the concept of "multi-tasking" to an extreme where very few live in the moment. The subconscious mind cannot multi-task as it only focuses on one concept at a time and the rest of the thoughts serve as a distraction.
I was asked to make a sales call with a salesperson, Bob, who is employed by one of my favorite clients. The client explained that it was an important call which would have a major impact on his future business so I agreed. I was very familiar with Bob as he stood out as a star in all my sales training classes and clearly demonstrated the ability and skill level to apply my teachings. I was looking forward to observing him in "live" action and was confident that the result would be a significant success story.
Bob and I planned to meet for coffee at 7:30 a.m. to brief the sales call and do a little pre-call planning. At 7:45 a.m., he "promptly" came roaring into the parking lot and coffee shop and breathlessly explained, "Sorry I'm late, I misjudged my time. I'll get a coffee and join you." His nervous energy washed over me like a swarm of angry bees. He impatiently ordered coffee from the barista, pressured her to speed it up, and zoomed back to my table for our briefing.
At that point, it was 8 a.m. and two hours away from our 10 a.m. sales call. We hurriedly discussed his plan for the call, he seemed well-prepared, but was still highly rattled by his late entrance. Glancing at his watch, he proclaimed that we have better get moving as we had a 90-minute drive to our destination. We exceeded the speed limit as he sped down the highway and initiated a series of phone calls to clients, fellow employees and prospects. We finally arrived 10 minutes before our appointment time as traffic was heavy, hurried to the waiting room and tried to catch our breath.
The sales call was a disaster as Bob's thoughts were scattered and his energy, hyperkinetic. There was very little bonding as we moved through the hour and no clear agenda was followed. The prospect was obviously frustrated and clearly not fully engaged. We left with the ultimate slap in the face ... a think-it-over.
As we walked back to the car, Bob squarely put the blame on the prospect until I reported my observations on the role he played in the disaster. I explained the need to quiet the mind in order to apply his skills and knowledge in the situation. My advice to him included the following sales mindfulness tips:
1. Live in the moment: A mentor of mine told me to focus on the present as it's the only thing we can truly control. Bob's only focus should have been on this call.
2. Use creative visualization: During our preparation, he should have concentrated his energy on "seeing" the proper outcome and building a strategy to achieve it.
3. Eliminate electronic interruptions: He should have unplugged to focus on calming his mind and minimizing distractions.
4. Check-in: He should have called a "mental time out" to reset his thoughts.
The pace of the business world is extremely fast; it's easy to get caught up in the whirlwind. Develop a purpose for each day and "be in the moment." You will accomplish more by being mindful and far more effective as you move through your sales day.
• Bill Bartlett owns Corporate Strategies, A Sandler Training Center. firstname.lastname@example.org. Text "SalesTip" to 71813 to receive Bill's bi-weekly newsletter.