Customer Experience News & Trends

Habits that lead to sales success

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an art but a habit.” Aristotle was a philosopher, not a salesperson. But his message is valuable for all salespeople. 

Creating new habits

Have you ever wanted to change a bad habit or form a new, good habit, but lacked the discipline to stick to your intention?

You’re failure is not as unusual as you may think. Getting back on track and forming a good habit is very possible.

How long does it take to form a new habit and is there any evidence to back it up? Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College, London, decided to find out how long it actually takes to form a habit.

Her study examined the habits of 96 people over a 12-week period. Each person chose one new habit for the 12 weeks and reported each day on whether or not they did the behavior and how automatic it felt.

The results: On average it took 66 days before the behavior became automatic. The research also found that missing one opportunity to perform the behavior didn’t materially affect the habit formation process. Building better habits is not an all-or-nothing process.

Positive conclusions

There are three conclusions from this study every salesperson should find motivating:

  1. There is no reason to get down on yourself if you try something for a few weeks and it doesn’t become a habit. As this study shows, it takes a lot longer before a good habit becomes automatic.
  2. You don’t have to be perfect when you’re trying to form a new habit. Making a mistake once or twice has no measurable impact on your long-term habits. Try to treat failure like a scientist, give yourself permission to make mistakes, and develop strategies for getting back on track quickly.
  3. Embracing longer timelines may help you realize that habits are a process and not an event. Forming good habits is not a quick process. You have to embrace the process and commit to the system. How long it takes to form a good habit doesn’t really matter that much. Whether it takes 50 days or 500 days, you have to put in the work. There is no statute of limitations on good habits.

Developing the habit of belief

Belief is critical in sales. The most important sales habit you will ever develop is the one that convinces you to believe in yourself and your products or services. The salespeople who have the most belief in what they’re doing will usually walk out the winners in competitive situations.

The opposite is also true. Salespeople may have the best product, but if they approach their prospects with low believe in themselves, they may kill the sale.

Mental strategies

What we think has a great impact on our ability to form and keep good sales habits. What do you say to yourself when you wake up? Do you have thoughts about how successful you’re going to be that day?

Relationships around you

The relationships around you can dramatically increase or decrease the time it takes to form good habits. If you’re surrounded by negative people, your confidence will get drained and your ability to form good selling habits will decrease dramatically. Try to develop a zero tolerance for negative people.

Emotional strategies

Successful salespeople have known for years the power of tapping into emotional strategies for finding prospects and closing sales. They realize that emotional strategies have the potential to impact confidence and optimism levels.

When they’re in a tough selling situation, they use the habit of positive recall to replay previous sales, analyzing all of the things they did right that allowed them to have success in the past.

Action-oriented approaches

What you do can have as much impact on your ability to form good habits as what you think and feel.

Your confidence is highly related to how you confront activities beyond your comfort zone, such as a conflict with a customer.

If you walk into a conflict imagining a positive outcome, you have a much better chance of resolving it favorably.

Maintain an optimistic outlook

An optimistic outlook generates personal energy, motivation to act and self-confidence. Optimism allows salespeople to see past the negative news and comments from customers and prospects.

The optimistic salesperson has the energy, creativity and confidence to persevere, and injects a fresh, positive outlook into customer conversations.

Adapted from: “Be Bold and Win the Sale,” by Jeff Shore, consultant and founder of Shore Consulting, a sales and marketing firm. 

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