How to Make New Sales Habits Easy
Why do we equate good habits with drudgery?
When you see the phrase “good habits,” you probably think of eating leafy greens. Running. Waking early. All those perfect-people practices that we secretly loathe but want to emulate.
Why is the world of habit-making such a miserable experience?
Take the sales game, for instance. Salespeople are supposed to land new business and grow clients. Period. But John Vo, a distributor out of Los Angeles, hated cold calling. No matter how much you told John that he needed to develop the habit of cold calling, he couldn’t and wouldn’t do it. So, he did what James Clear suggested in his book "Atomic Habits," he learned to play the game where the odds would be in his favor.
If the net result of cold calling was to attract and land new business, perhaps John could do an end-around and come at it from a different angle by creating campaigns that would serve as his “cold call.” Creativity was John’s strength. He explored how to build campaigns that would open a door and invite a conversation with prospects (a trial and error experience until he learned how to do it well). At commonsku's skucamp event, he shared the details on his latest campaign, a self-promo kit that cost $7,000 to produce but delivered a whopping $413,000 in orders in just six months.
Here’s a shocker about habits: Jamse Clear writes in his advanced tactics section of habit-forming that to make a habit stick, make it easy. It’s a revolutionary thought because, for most of us, we equate good habits with misery (i.e., to lose weight, I must eat awful food and join a pilates class).
If John had done what everyone suggested (go make cold calls), he would have failed. Instead, he unlocked his potential by asking the magic question (posited by Clear): What feels like fun to me, but work to others?
The sales game is changing. B2B buyers are demanding more of us than ever before. They want strategic ideas, consultative advice. To provide more creative solutions to your customers’ problems, you need to know your clients. This means you need to learn about your client, spend more time researching your client, questioning your client.
If the new way to win at sales is about solving and the old way to win was solely about sourcing, then what habits can you create that will play to your strengths and put you in a place to solve more problems for your customer? Maybe you hate research but love conversation. So, instead of reading multiple articles, you might set up a series of micro-interviews with your customer and their peers. Or maybe you love research. Maybe your way of consulting your clients is to keep them appraised of what’s happening in their industry (sending articles with ideas attached).
I can’t tell you exactly how to sell (solve) because no two distributors and no two clients in this industry are exactly alike. But I can tell you that your habits need to change, from simply “knowing where to get stuff” to knowing how to create opportunity. And knowing how, when and where to create opportunity means carving space in your (weekly and daily) calendar for meaningful conversation and research.
How you make a new habit easy is by playing a game that favors your strengths and by making it (gasp!) FUN.
• Individual Exercise: Make a list of the new sales habits that you need to work on (listening, research, prospecting) and then ask the question: How can I make this fun for me?
• Group Exercise: Read this article aloud with your team in your next sales meeting and talk about the new habits you need to create in order to be successful, then ask, “How can we make this fun?”
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