This morning a coaching client emailed me and asked, "Carole, We've already talked about XYZ prospects but I easily forget things. I'd like to revisit that conversation on this morning's call."
When I asked my client what he meant by 'easily forgets things', what is happening with him when it happens? He explained that his brain moves so fast, he sometimes has the next step, thought, or question playing in his head while the person is still talking. So he started taking notes, so he wouldn't forget anything. He took notes during our calls so he would remember the questions we gave him.
Sound familar? Some sales experts might say he needs to be actively listening more or pay attention to the person, or maybe even improve his memory skills. Have you ever been to a restaurant where the wait staff writes down everyone's order but it still gets messed up? Have you had your doubts when you come across the one who doesn't write anything down but still gets it right? Why is that? And how do you do it?
I've had this problem before too. In fact it's probably one that many entrepreneurs face on a daily basis. It's not fun. It causes anxiety among lots of other emotions. The advice I gave my client is the same advice I came across in a little book called "The Present." Here's the cliff notes.
The One Thing You Can Do Now to Improve Sales
The problem with my client wasn't that he had a bad memory, or that he was a bad listener. The problem is what is going on in his head, and where that comes from (the cause). What happens when you start thinking fast? Are feeling flushed and on the spot, maybe because someone asked a question you didn't expect? Or are they giving you "buying signals" and now you are feeling excited that this could mean a sale?
When you start to get your emotions involved like that, are you still in the present? Are you still able to read the person on the phone, or in front of you? Or is all you can see is your sale, or loss thereof? Is your brain working fast to figure out what to say next? Can you still be in the here and what is happening now if your mind is elsewhere? Isn't it easy to miss the little things and forget?
When you are acting in the present, you are fully engaged with the other person and you are fully attentive to them. That is the best gift you can give.
This is also the one thing that you can do to improve your sales conversations, be more helpful, and pick up on the things that your prospects are really meaning behind what they are saying. People know and can sense when your brain is trying to get one step ahead of them. Just like they know when you are preoccupied. (Just ask my husband when he tries to talk to me when there is a keyboard in front of me.)
Here's a few tips that I use to keep myself in the present, with family, friends, prospects, partners- in all things. It is not easy to do, it has to become a habit, and it will change a lot more than just your sales.
The Present Tips
- Stop multi-tasking. Just freaking stop it. Your IQ goes down, it takes longer, and no one benefits. Oh, and it's just plain rude and disrepectful to have your phone out during a meeting.
- Turn off the dings, bells,and whistles. I mean the email and social media notfications on your phone. (Oh, look squirrel! Someone tweeted my post...)
- Breathe. If you start to feel your mind race, or like you are missing things, then focus on your breathing and slowing it down. Your mind will follow.
- Repeat it back. If someone is talking to you, listen as if you had to repeat back everything they just said to you.
- No notes. Don't even have a pen on you. Now the pressure is on to pay full attention, because you can't check out mentally and fall back on your notes later.
Give the gift of your full presence to your family this holiday season, and the people who you talk to. And here is the catch, you will start enjoying things more as well. Need some help learning how to stay in the present? Join me on the weekly #livesaleslab.