Increase Sales By Overcoming Repetitive Habits
Effective sales skills many times are repetitive behaviors that are called habits. Human beings are easily conditioned because this is a built in survival and evolutionary trait. Habits help us to conserve necessary resources when those emergencies arrive. However, habits are sometimes not a good thing.
For example, the other day the power went out in my home. I knew that the power was out, but because of conditioning (habit), I still reached for the light switch, not once but three times before I stopped. Another example of the impact of habits is from the story The Touchstone (author unknown).
The story begins with the burning of the great library of Alexandria and how just one book was saved. This book was not valuable and so a poor man with limited reading ability bought it for a few coppers. The book wasn't very interesting, but between its pages there was something very interesting indeed. It was a thin strip of vellum (paper) on which was written the secret of the "Touchstone"!
The touchstone was a small pebble that could turn any common metal into pure gold. The writing explained that it was lying among thousands and thousands of other pebbles that looked exactly like it. But the secret was this: The real stone would feel warm, while ordinary pebbles were cold.
Believing in the story of the touchstone, the poor man sold his few belongings, bought some simple supplies, camped on the seashore, and began testing pebbles. To avoid picking up the same pebble, he would throw the cold pebble into the sea.
Time went by with days turning into weeks and weeks into months. All this time, he was picking up cold pebbles and throwing them into the sea while still seeking that special touchstone pebble. One afternoon, he picked up a warm pebble and threw it into the sea before he could stop himself. The habit of picking and throwing the pebbles into the sea was so strong that it was automatic even when the one he had sought for came along, he still threw it into the sea.
How often in sales do we throw opportunities away before we realize what we have done? Maybe it is deleting the phone call because we believe it is another tire kicker or deleting an email before we totally comprehend the message within the email?
Habits are very difficult to break because of it is part of the human condition. In today's difficult economy as well as during good times, effective sales professionals must be conscious of these repetitive unconscious behaviors that are embedded within their sales skills. So before you think you know what someone is going to say or do, before you lose your own touchstone, take the time to think and not immediately react.