Posted by Mike Carroll ● Mon, Aug 12, 2013 @ 17:08 PM

Sales Concentration - Clear Your Mind and Truly Listen

 

 

 

 

We have talked about sales focus in previous articles.  Whether it's focusing on a narrow suspect list to improve prospecting effectiveness or focusing on the key metrics that drive results, sales focus has been a recurring theme. 

In this article we'll talk about a different type of sales focus - your ability to concentrate during a live sales conversation. 

When you think about the amount of time we actually spend "in live sales conversations" as a percentage of our overall time, it amazing that we would allow anything to get in the way.  And yet many sales people we coach allow themselves to get distracted by issues that are not helpful to the task at hand:
  • Personal Issues - pressure at home to increase income, the need to achieve a better family/work balance, the challenge of helping an ailing parent, etc.
  • Work Issues - pressure to increase performance, the need to complete paperwork and CRM updates on a more timely basis, concerns about who is getting promoted or is on track to win an award, etc.
  • Self-Esteem Issues - difficulty recovering from rejection, challenges overcoming self-limiting beliefs, insecurity about knowing everything you can about a new product or service, etc.
  • Outside distractions - wondering how your fantasy football team did this weekend, thinking about plans for an upcoming vacation, worrying about a volunteer committment, etc.
We eventually need to deal with all of these issues, but if they begin to sneak into the back of our minds during a live sales conversation and cause us to lose focus and concentration, they begin costing us money.  Every sales person has outside distractions to deal with - successful sales people are able to clear their mind and really concentrate on the conversation they are having.
 
When you achieve this kind of focus, a bomb could go off right next to you and you wouldn't notice.  How can you achieve this type of concentration?
Here are some tactics we share with our coaching clients:
  • Clear your mind immediately before walking into a prospect meeting or picking up the phone.   Just take a moment to take a deep breath and visualize a successful conversation.  
  • Schedule a specific time to worry.   Take 15 minutes every day and write down everything on your mind that is causing you to worry.  Then write down three (3) specific actions you can do to address the issues on your mind.  This habit will help limit these outside distractions by creating a specific outlet for them - and you'll make progress on solving these issues by taking action to address them.  
  • Give yourself a break.   It's ok if you slip up and fail to block distractions or negative thoughts during a sales conversation. It's not ok to spend the entire day beating yourself up about it.  Just make a committment to do better next time and move on.  
  • Think about earning respect.   Sometimes we allow our need to be liked by the prospect to get in the way of asking effective, thought-provoking questions.  Instead of thinking about how to get the prospect to like you, think about how to get them to respect you (and a great way to do that is to ask tough questions).  
  • Exercise on a regular basis.   Get out and take a walk, go to the gym, take a swim, etc.  Find an outlet to get your heart rate pumping and you'll find that you will have greater focus when you need it (during a sales conversation) and will feel better in general.
As a sales professional your greatest strength is your ability to listen and ask great clarifying questions to help your prospects think about their issues and challenges from a different perspective.  And the best way to do that is to follow these ideas to clear your mind and allow yourself to truly listen.  

Sales Effectiveness & Improvement Analysis
  • How long is your sales cycle?
  • Could it be shorter? 
  • What would your business look like if it were? 
  • Are your sales managers capable of coaching your team to set strong agreements at the beginning and end of each sales meeting they go to? 
Need answers? Ask for a sample of our newest analysis report
 - Sales Effectiveness and Improvement Analysis - and we will follow up with you to find out if it makes sense to talk about helping your sales organization become more effective.

Topics: Listening Skills, Consultative Selling

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