The end of year is approaching, and with it the evaluation of sales performance and the increased efforts to realise all of the groundwork laid throughout the year. How can you use your Physical Intelligence to boost your chemistry so that you sail through this often nail-biting period?
My colleague at Companies in Motion, Jane Trotman, describes selling as the “best job in the world,” saying, “I connect daily with a variety of people, in numerous industries facing interesting challenges. Sales is the lifeblood of any company…delivering profitable revenue year after year after year. To be successful, we need to build highly relevant relationships with our clients and excellent relationships with our internal colleagues – which is a great opportunity to learn about finance, marketing, IT, legal etc.”
Jane adds, “Exceptional sales performance starts with professionally competent and inspired sales leaders, teams and individuals. This holds true today just as it did 20 years ago. However, changes in markets, customer sophistication, technology, regulatory demands and increasingly professional procurement professionals mean that the game has changed. Professional sales competence is now more challenging than ever to achieve. These changes demand innovation, first class strategic planning, detailed client and market insight, behavioural change, revised competence frameworks, operational evolution and cultural flexibility. Salespeople today need capacity to handle this fast changing environment! The level of general fitness required to have a successful long term career in sales is now very high. Technology and changes in procurement practices mean that many businesses require less salespeople…and those who are in place need to be of extremely high calibre.”
In the face of these challenges how can Physical Intelligence help? If we are to improve sales performance, we need to be able to actively manage our physiology and the levels of neurotransmitters and hormones that influence our behaviour. A sales team Companies in Motion recently worked with improved the quality of its commercial deals by 12.5% in just three months after applying Physical Intelligence techniques! Dopamine is a key chemical for salespeople. It influences focus, achievement, realisation of goals, and feelings of reward and enjoyment. It is a ‘feel good’ chemical; but sometimes when the end of year is looming, levels of dopamine can drop just at the time when we most need the drive dopamine gives us. This happens because cortisol rises – bringing a low level of anxiety and thoughts such as, “I’m not sure I can hit my target” and “What happens if we miss our target?”
For eight different contemporary sales challenges, let’s look at how you can apply physical Intelligence techniques to maintain dopamine levels and improve the overall chemical cocktail to help you achieve your goals.
Social Media – Social Selling / Social Listening; powerful social media tools are being used by “world class” sales teams to enable and develop sales opportunities.
Sales Technology – Quality CRM systems and mobile sales force automation are now a given. Smart phone apps and emerging tools such as price optimisation are demanding that traditional sales techniques be revisited. Mobile marketing applications are vast and growing – it is vital to have a well thought through mobile strategy.
Sales Analytics – Analytical modelling alongside market and client intelligence allows salespeople to provide the insights and breakthrough business concepts that today’s clients demand. Physical Intelligence Tip: The brain is at its best in the first two hours of activity in the day. Dopamine levels are high and focus is great. Set aside two hours each week, preferably at the beginning of the day, to capitalise on this. Shut the door, ignore the email, and review and update yourself on what insights have emerged from social media, analytical modelling and your own CRM. Your next call will then have you offering world class insights to your clients/customers, helping them view you as a true strategic partner.
2. Customer Sophistication
Customers have access to vast amounts of information about your company, your projects, your service levels and your people. Expectations are high and customers are more knowledgeable, sophisticated and demanding than ever before. Physical Intelligence Tip: Make sure you bring the appropriate level of impact to your conversations. Demonstrate your high level of business acumen and bring your belief in what you are doing to the client relationship. Prepare well, and use your ‘I’ – a physical intelligence technique in which you visualise a letter ‘I’ in your body – to enable you to speak with authority and not be pulled into the lower status position of needing or wanting something from your client. Align with them as a strategic partner.
Purchasing has morphed into Procurement. In today’s increasingly complex procurement led environment, there is no standing still – only forward movement or back sliding. Negotiating excellence is required…nothing less. Physical Intelligence Tip: To underpin great sales and negotiating performance, use paced breathing technique and open expansive posture technique for 10 minutes in the morning and prior to a sales or negotiating conversation. These techniques ensure that the nervous system is stable. The chemistry they produce is one of confidence, clarity of thought, sound decision making, cool headedness under pressure and the ability to stand your ground. Testosterone levels are high, cortisol levels are low, and dopamine levels rise because having prepared well, you move towards each important conversation with clear goals in mind.
Customers are looking for suppliers to be an endless source of ideas and insights. They want fresh perspectives and breakthrough business concepts. Physical Intelligence Tip: Improve your creativity by unlocking your divergent thinking ability. First, make sure you have some place private to move, then simply move your body freely, unlock tension from muscles by twisting, stretching or swinging your arms – whatever feels good. Research from Dr. Peter Lovatt at the University of Hertfordshire, UK shows that unplanned movement like this improves divergent thinking. Also, to gain fresh perspectives as you approach client meetings, look out on a landscape or at an interesting building, look at the detail and let your eyes roam. Dopamine is an important chemical in creativity and is released when the visual cortex of the brain is given the novelty of a new vista or viewpoint.
Behaving with integrity is the only way to forge lasting and profitable relationships. In today’s connected world, a company’s wrong doing or poor service quickly goes viral. Physical Intelligence Tip: When you want to create enduring and valuable client relationships it is important to use a PI technique called ‘Seeing the Long Game’. Here’s what to do: with each key client relationship in mind, think ahead and visualise where you want to be with them in 2 – 5 years time. Create a clear picture in your mind of how that looks. Play out in your mind’s eye a whole series of successful conversations in which you behave with integrity, continue to prepare thoroughly for each meeting, develop trust, and work to create strong strategic partnerships. Assess and plan for the kind of behaviour and application of your knowledge that developing this will take. Reputation is based on integrity, persistence and trust.
6. Historic Structures / Historic Skill Sets:
Many sales teams are labouring under the weight of historic structures. Sales teams need to be structured for success in the 21st century. Equally, there is a shortage of sales talent fit for work in the current environment – competency frameworks, hiring processes and training need contemporary models. Physical Intelligence Tip: Let go of the past. The PI technique called ‘Letting Go Technique’ is what you need here. Wherever you work, you will want to promote the use of contemporary systems and structures. This means: 1) pointing out exactly what is out of date, 2) reaching out through networks and research to communicate with key people, build trust, and find out more information about what will work in your context, 3) learning lessons for the future so that the organisation develops more agility, and then 4) moving forward into the future, paint a clear visual pictures of the benefits of the new.
Again this technique is rebalancing the chemistry, lowering cortisol that makes us avoid risk by living in the past, boosting testosterone (confidence and risk tolerance), oxytocin (trust, networks and building concensus), serotonin (self belief, status, learning mind set) and dopamine (focus on goals, reward and achievement) moving towards the benefits in the future and reaping the rewards of the change.
In spite of the vast amount of information readily available to salespeople in 2016, there is still a lack of clarity at a strategic level, leaving us wondering, “Where is the opportunity and how will we capture it?” Physical Intelligence Tip: We’ve already talked about paced breathing technique. Use this to maintain clarity of thought and full cognitive function on complex decision making. The way we breathe significantly affects our brain function. Just 10 minutes a day, breathing regularly, slowly, deeply and actively will lower cortisol levels. We cannot think strategically if cortisol levels are too high, we can only think of short term goals or salvaging short term situations. This simple practice helps raise cognitive function by as much as 62% and enables us think long term.
“World Class” selling takes drive – lots of it! Top level salespeople need to consistently operate at a differentiated level to thrive in a fast paced, competitive and high stakes environment. Physical Intelligence Tip: High Cortisol over the long term damages performance whereas dopamine, testosterone, serotonin and oxytocin balance and boost performance to and improve overall energy levels.
Imagine the impact of a 1% improvement in addressing each of those challenges – that’s an 8% improvement overall. If you apply all of the techniques mentioned above with a view toward developing your world class sales performance, you will create stable, flexible, resilient and enduring sales performance. Worth the investment, no?
About Companies In Motion Transforming how organizations learn and engage, Companies In Motion (CIM) supports you and your organisation’s overall performance. Many organizations are moving away from the traditional Performance Management models to something more innovative and meaningful. In response to this change, Learning and Development teams are implementing Physical Intelligence programs that support performance across the curriculum: leadership, innovation, change management, team building, sales, negotiating, and more.
At CIM we are working with organizations globally that want to create a new performance dynamic. Join us. Improve your decision making capacity, even when there is uncertainty. Contact CIM for more information on how Physical Intelligence can support performance across your company.
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