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As a salesperson, you probably think — to be successful in your role — you always need to be on the phone or a client visit, researching new leads, and increasing revenue with current clients. But studies have shown that practicing mindfulness is important for salespeople to achieve more success in their work. On the surface, mindfulness, or the act of clearing and calming one’s mind, seems counterintuitive to the life of a sales representative. But – we’re here to tell you it’s not. Setting aside a few moments each day to reset and remove distractions is proven to improve your focus, relationships, creativity, and understanding. This turn inward can actually make you more selfless, putting the needs of others, like your clients, ahead of your own.
While it’s important to remind ourselves that the customer is always right, sometimes sales can drive us to solely consider our own motivations—sales goals, pressure from management, new products we’d like to sell, the list goes on. These motivations are not opaque. Customers can sense whose interest is being put first when meeting with a salesperson—be it in a restaurant where the server is suggesting the same item over and over, or a car dealership where the customer is encouraged to purchase a few more add-ons than they’d like. While this inward approach may not be intentional, it can negatively impact you as a sales representative. However, a mindfulness practice strengthens your Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC), your brain’s self-regulator. A strong ACC can help a person be more present and focused on the task at hand. So, when you find yourself with a customer, you are truly engaged and keyed into their body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. These are all pieces in a story that will tell you how to best serve your customer.
We’ve discussed Key Performance Metrics (KPIs) and their benefits for self-improvement. But when you’re not in tune with your own needs and opportunities, meeting goals set by KPIs will feel like an insurmountable task. Perhaps you reviewed your most recent KPI progress report or saw your standing among other sales associates on your company’s performance dashboard and were not satisfied with the results. Rather than allow the negative emotion from this review overpower your ability to succeed, a mindful practice will regulate emotion and boost positive feelings. Mindfulness training affords you a positive attitude and increased focus needed to self-actualize and move forward.You’ll find yourself in a position to remove external roadblocks from your reflection—eliminating the desire to place blame on the day unforeseen traffic made you late for work or a client whose demands feel unreasonable. With a mindful practice, you’ll find yourself approaching each day refreshed with the ability to problem-solve on the fly and find internal motivation based on your current situation and surroundings.
Mindfulness not only affects your current situations but also enhances your ability to seek out and create new opportunities. Working in sales can make it difficult to see beyond your current workload and try something new. But mindfulness does not take away from the energy you use to achieve daily successes; rather, it increases your energy and focus so you can create additional opportunities for success. Your mind will become more active and attentive to your surroundings, giving you the space to change course without negatively impacting your end goal. Dr. Ellen Langer, a Psychology Professor at Harvard University, asked a team of salespeople to find ways to freshen and improve their sales pitches every time they delivered one—giving an individualized approach to each client. The result? Each person sold more than before and was seen as more “charismatic”. Instead of operating on autopilot each day because it’s already working, mindfulness helps you notice new things that may have always been there, waiting for you to make use of them.
The benefits to mindfulness are clear, but can you incorporate the practice into your daily life? Remember: mindfulness does not steal your time or energy but reroutes it in a more meaningful way. Not to mention, a mindful practice can be achieved through a mere five minutes each day. You can do this at your desk, at home before starting your workday, or on your daily train commute. (We don’t recommend doing it while your focus is needed on something specific, like driving a car.) Simply mark on your calendar five minutes that are devoted to your practice or set an alarm; remove any external distractions within your control, such as turning off your music or computer screen and putting your phone on silent; and breathe, focus on your breath and the feeling of your body where you sit, your feet grounded on the floor. It’s okay for thoughts to wander, but try to bring them back to the present moment where your only focus is you. Using a scent or sound that reminds your of the practice can help renew your focus throughout the day. But the practice and how you achieve it is a personal choice and one that can alter how you live and work every day. What drives your internal motivation? At Hoopla, we’re constantly looking for new ways to help salespeople reach their goals. Let us know if these tips worked for you, or if you have a couple of your own tips to share. We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.