The following is a guest post from my good friend, Austin Rolling at Outfield. They have ton of great sales wisdom to share.
I was asked recently in an interview “If you were given the opportunity of rewinding the clock back to the time when you were just finishing up grad school and could tell yourself one thing, what would it be?” It didn’t take long for me to answer. After perking up in my seat a bit, “I would spend more time focusing on managing my attitude”, I said. That’s right. Of all things this would be it. Sadly, it didn’t occur to me until much later that my attitude would be the biggest driver responsible for me reaching my goals whether they be in sales, entrepreneurship, or leadership.
It became clear that neither intelligence, will, resources, luck nor favor were as consequential as attitude. Those things mean nothing if you’re not able to see the world through the proper lens. Therefore, my perspective needed to align with the right thoughts and right energy. More importantly, this alignment needs to be in place consistently. Otherwise, you’ll only function optimally in spurts. Consistency in having the right attitude is the point that I would hope to drive home to my younger self. In order to achieve this, one must have a daily process for maintaining the right state of mind, and that process must incorporate a set of lifestyle activities specifically for said purpose. An example of a lifestyle activity for me is daily exercise and resistance training. In fact, I would stress to all rough riders who are responsible for hitting quotas, driving revenue, and closing big opportunities adding some form of athletics to your weekly process if you haven’t already. It will work wonders for you in maintaining the right state of mind when confronted with the challenges of your professional life. I can think of at least 5 ways exercise will help you become a better sales professional.
1.Exercise Means Better And Clearer Thinking
According to Harvard Medical, research supports the idea that exercising regularly leads to better memory and thinking capacity. More specifically, it can stimulate chemicals that have a positive impact on brain cells and blood vessel development. Additionally, through the release of endorphins (hormones that are secreted in your brain that give you a natural high), exercise reduces stress and anxiety while improving your ability to get a good night’s rest. These are all things important to being a high performer in business development roles. Remember, this ties back to your attitude. Maintaining the right state of mind is a daily process that we must
constantly be practicing.
2.You Have An Additional Outlet For Taking Out Stress
Working in sales is tough. Even the best deal closers will hear “no” more than “yes”. And we’re often left unsatisfied with the reasons as to why an opportunity didn’t convert. The weights are great for taking out your frustrations. After a rough day, I’ll put on my headphones, throw on some Rick Ross, and go to work. After a while of hearing machines bang, letting the dumbbells drop, and a few bars from one of my favorite artists, I’m usually good to go.
The best part is noticing gains in a particular muscle group. When you realize you’re lifting heavier or going more reps than before, it serves as a great reminder. That if you continue to put in the work and stay focused, you will be rewarded with the results you’re going after. This is the law of attraction working in your favor.
3.Look Better = Feel More Confident
Let’s be real! Everyone wants to look their best. Let me be even more real!! People prefer to do business with someone who looks good in appearance. It’s kind of sad, but it’s true. Fit people tend to look better in their clothes and are viewed generally as more disciplined relative to those who are out of shape. For these reasons, and others, individuals who practice good health tend to exude more confidence when they step into a biz dev meeting. That confidence, in turn, often makes an imprint throughout the relationship building process that led to the sale.
The good news is that you have a fair amount of control in how you appear across the negotiation tables. Equipped with knowledge of this societal bias, you have the ability to tip the scales in your favor (pun intended!).
4.You’ll Have More Energy Throughout The Day
Operating in your best form requires energy. The lack thereof shows itself in a variety of detrimental ways. For starters, if you’re in outside sales this means you’re visiting with a number clients and prospective clients throughout the day. Depending on who you’re visiting you may be confronted with a few blocks to walk, then a flight of stairs, and maybe even a walk way before arriving to your appointment. Being out of shape means you have reduced stamina. In turn, it’s harder for you to function at your best if you’re fatigued by the middle of the day. Don’t be the person sweating and huffing during the business lunch.
Another way that a lack of energy shows itself is within your encounters with other humans. It’s nearly impossible to win over people when you don’t have the right energy. In fact, this is the most important attribute when transferring your passion over to others. If you don’t appear charged up about your company’s goals, vision, products, etc. then how can you expect someone else to be?
Backed by science is the notion of emotional contagion. In one of my favorite books ever Social Intelligence by Daniel Goleman, a Harvard PhD, speaks to “mirror neurons”, which are neurons in our brain meant to facilitate synchronization with others. In his book, Goleman calls mirror neurons profound “leadership tools” because they allow individuals the ability to intentionally illicit an emotion or action from those they engage with simply by imposing that very emotion or action onto them. Because people have a natural predisposition to synchronize with other people emotionally, it’s imperative that you’re giving off the right energy to your team and most certainly your customers. People get excited about your product or service because you’re excited about your product or service.
As a side note: If you don’t get excited about your offering, it may be time for you to consider whether you’re working in the right position or just going through the motions. Coming to grips with this reality can also have a major impact on your attitude.
5.It’s A Great Time To Think And Self-Reflect
I spend about 90 minutes a day in the gym, five days a week. That’s about eight hours of valuable time. Being a true introvert, I’m usually in my head instead of socializing. Rather than engaging in small talk, I’m thinking about potential business opportunities or planning out points that I might bring up in a meeting. I also spend this time reflecting on things that may have gone wrong and how I can improve for similar situations in the future.
Learning from mistakes that you might have made and putting them into their proper perspective is a part of our maturation process as sales professionals and human beings. Failures are imminent in the pursuit of your goals. The key is to stay positive in knowing that you’re growing throughout the journey. After all, it was the greatest basketball player to ever lace up a pair of tennis shoes who once said:
I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
The more reflective you are, the more effective you are.
Rejection is not uncommon in our business, which means managing the mental response to negative stimuli is critical to reaching the outcomes we’re chasing. Neglecting this part of your makeup leads to degenerative effectiveness. Stress, anxiety, depression, negative thinking, burnout, and other mental health problems will reduce your ability to function optimally. This not only impacts you professionally, but also your personal life. The way to counter these things is to create a daily process that includes a set of lifestyle activities with the specific purpose of helping you maintain the right state of mind. Here we’ve discussed the impact that exercise, resistance training, and generally living a healthy physical life can have on your ability to perform as a sales professional. Aside from its contribution to your physical being, you will experience an ROI in terms of your mental performance. Resiliency, thinking capacity, and confidence are among the factors at stake. Put yourself in the best possible position for success by putting into action a process for consistently maintaining the proper attitude.
Earlier this year we added Mind Matters as a category of focus to the Closer’s Coffee assortment. After the recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, we felt compelled to address matters of the mind. These were individuals who achieved a level of success that most could only dream of and yet still felt the need to take their own lives. Why? We can only guess, but here’s what we do know - sales professionals, entrepreneurs, and business leaders around the world are dealing with mental threats of varying degree. It’s better that we get ahead of these things early.