Psychology of Sales: How to get your mojo back & stay focused?

Psychology of Sales: How to stay focused, goals-oriented and action-driven when you work in sales

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How to get your mojo back?

Sales is one of the most fast-paced and challenging environments out there. There is you, sales targets and endless opportunities. It can be the best challenge ever or your worst nightmare. When things are going great and sales leads are pouring in, it’s the best feeling ever. You are sharp, motivated and raring to go. But what do you when things are not so great? How do you pick yourself up and motivate yourself to carry on with all your fancy pro-active activities when really you just can’t be bothered and would rather have a  pajama day? How do you get your mojo back? It’s bloody hard, I’ve been there myself. When you feel demotivated and your performance suffers because of it, you feel it big time. As a rule it comes and bite you on your ass out of nowhere, or so you think.

Most sales training out there mainly talk about how to influence others or communicate effectively but they rarely touch upon you. How do you influence yourself? How do you move on from a failure? How do you overcome negative self-talk that gets in the way? One thing I know for damn sure – all those fancy techniques you may learn will be wasted unless you are focused, goal-oriented and in sound mind.

The reality is, our motivation must be intrinsic for you to make a change or to get up and do something about a situation that bothers you, which means it you have to push yourself. Motivation is being ready, willing and able. Luckily there are a few things you can put in place to ensure you stay sharp during turbulent times, be on point and carry on regardless of the challenge in front of you.

Performance is Potential minus Interference.

I think it is a great way to star looking into what hinders your performance by looking into interferences that may hinder it.

Low performance may be due to a number of few factors, such as (Centre for Coaching, 2016):

  • Physiological factors
  • Psychological barriers such as self-restraining and negative beliefs
  • Lack of knowledge
  • Lack of support or resources
  • Lack of motivation
  • Low self-efficacy
  • Lack of training or bad training
  • Skills deficits
  • Personal past experiences
  • Organisational culture, etc

Basically, all personal performance challenges can be divided into two categories – psychological (thoughts, emotions, feelings) and behavioural (action or inaction/procrastination). Behavioural issues are easier to eliminate and change can be almost immediate. Psychological blocks are the one that require a lot more work and usually they are the root of the issue. This is were a coach comes in handy.

P.S. You can also read more about blocks to change in my previous articles here – part 1 & part 2.

Top tips to stay motivated and focused.

1. Set your goals right & create a well-defined plan.

Being goal-less is like running a marathon without a finishing line. You must a goal to work towards. Goals must be framed positively and use SMART framework too. In my experience, people don’t achieve goals not because they don’t put enough effort to it, but because the goal is not framed properly. When goals fail, they are either not specific or challenging enough.

There are two types of goals in performance management – learning or skills development ones and performance ones. Learning goals focus on developing knowledge, skills and abilities in order to increase competence while performance goals aim to demonstrate competence and focused on task execution and are typically expressed as being competitive. When the goal is stated positively, you are more likely to resonate with it and internalise the things you want to be able to do rather than the things you want to avoid.

Here’s a detailed guide to 5 steps to set and achieve goals.

2. Assess your motivation.

RICs scale is an amazing tool to use to probe your motivation and see where’s the problem.

Ask yourself the following questions and rate them on the scale of 1-10, where 1 is low and 10 is high:

How Ready am I right now to achieve my goal?

How Important it is to me to achieve my goal?

How Confident am I that I can achieve my goal?

If you score 5 or below on one of these q’s, this is where the problem is. You might not be ready to do something or consider it unimportant or may not feel confident about it fro whatever reason. Think about what step you can take to change it and move towards your goal?

3. Boost your motivation.

Self-motivation is intrinsic, which means it is within you. Change always starts from within. Self-motivation is the ability to energise, direct and sustain your goal-related behaviour whether or not you have the support and encouragement of friends, family or your boss. Lasting and meaningful change can only occur when you are intrinsically motivated. Motivation to change is being ready, willing and able.

Possible solutions may include looking for exceptions to see when your self-motivation was high and see what other resource were available and helpful or what you were doing differently. Ask yourself the following two questions:

  • What do I do that stops me from achieving my goal?
  • What do I need to do to achieve my goal?

4. Use motivation imagery.

Motivation imagery is useful if you are ambivalent or reluctant about addressing a problem, challenge or issues in your life. It consists of two parts – inaction and action. Here are the steps:

  1. Visualise the rest of your life not having undertaken the changes that you would like and not achieving your desires goal. Imagine the effect upon yourself and perhaps on significant others too, for the rest of your life until the day you die if you do absolutely nothing. Think of your regrets too. Imagine the effect year by year.
  2. Now imagine yourself undertaking what you want to do and see how your future unfolds without this particular problem after having worked hard to deal with it.
  3. Now consider how you are going to put action step into practice.

Practice this technique every time you feel demotivated until you feel like you are back on track.

5. Use goal imagery

Here’s how it works:

– Keep your goal in mind that you have just developed.

– Develop an associated image or a key word / phrase for this goal.

– Practice visualising this image regularly or saying key word / phrase.

5. Beat negative thoughts.

Ever had your inner critic on full blast telling you ‘You are going to fail again so there is no point to waste your time again. Everyone would think you are a big looser. Blah-blah-blah.’? Rule number one – you hold the volume button. Rule number two – stop this bs right away and instead start challenging those self-doubting beliefs, that’s rule number three. Limits exist only in your head. Our believes about ourselves ultimately determine what we can be and what we will achieve so don’t handicap yourself.

Use PIT / PET technique that is used on cognitive coaching. Your negative self-talk is like this trojan horse virus that is hard to stop and it’s highly destructive. PIT/PET is an antivirus for your brain so keep it switched on 24/7. Here’s how it works:

– PIT stand for ‘performance interfering thought’ – your self-nagging & negative thoughts related to your performance. Write them all down in one column.

– PET stands for ‘performance enhancing thoughts’ – helpful, rational and functional thoughts that you will develop to challenge your PITs.

  1. You should challenge your TICs via 4 ways that are most effective:
  • Reality – Is it real? Where is the evidence that everyone will think I am a looser?
  • Logic – Is it logical? Even if I failed once at a task, how does it logically make me a total looser? Happens to the best of us.
  • Pragmatism – Is it helpful? OK, even if I am right, how does it help me to achieve my goal?
  • Third party perspective – If I was a fly on the wall and witnessed the whole process, would I agree with me? What would I say to my best friend? Am I ready to take my own advice?
  1. Now challenge your TICs and write down helpful, rational, realistic TOCs in the column next to it.

Keep on practicing it whether in writing or just in your head. It is very powerful stuff.

6. Get out procrastination mode.

The one and only solution to tackle procrastination is action. You just have to do it. Full stop.

Four key steps to overcome procrastination:

– Awareness: become aware of your procrastination behaviour and consequences it brings. just think how many leads / business / contacts / opportunities / sales you’re losing or missing out on!

– Goals:  develop goal-oriented behaviour to carry out currently avoided task as awareness alone doesn’t necessarily lead to actions. Goals stated positively are more likely to encode and rehearse thing that you would like to do

– Commitment:  effecting change is an on-going 24/7 process. Ask yourself – What do I have to do to get it? Am I willing to do it?

– Persistence: develop a ‘maintenance message’ or a slogan / image of your goal / mood board to maintain achievements, list some benefits of new belief and prevent slipping back.

7. Remember The Pareto Principle.

The Pareto principle also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, or the principle of factor sparsity states that, for many events, roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the input. Of course, ratio can change to 70/30 or 90/10. The key idea here is that most things are not 1:1, therefore most likely your top 3 actions will deliver the results you strive for even though you might also do 7 more other things on a background. Think carefully, what are your vital few actions that would get you to your goal?

 

This list is not exhaustive of course and there are more things you can do to boost your performance. If you feel like you’ve tried it all but there hasn’t been much change, get a coach.

If you have any questions or want me to cover somethings I haven’t talked about yet, feel free to email me direct – anastasia@execsalescoaching.com

 

Anastasia

 

 

 

 

Effective Communication Skills: The Power of Positive Body Language

It’s not what you sell, it’s how you sell it. Think about it for a second – why is it that some people are more successful and natural at selling same product or service than others? Look inside your sales team and I can guarantee you that you’ll have a few people constantly smashing targets and bringing new sales leads effortlessly and the rest of the team just about doing ok even though they all had the same training and access to the same resources. What makes such a difference? All successful salespeople I know have one thing in common – they know how to build rapport with clients and use it as their secret weapon.

Rapport is power  – always remember this. I can’t stress enough how important it is to invest time and effort into honing this skill especially if you work in sales. Ability to build rapport is what sets you apart from being average to being a superstar. Rapport is an essential foundation block of all human interactions, be in  professionally or socially.

What is communication? Communication is simply the art of transferring information, however how good you can exchange information defines how effective your communication skills are. It takes us just one-tenth of a second to judge someone and make a first impression so make it count. When we judge others we generally look at two characteristics:

* Warmth – whether the other person is friendly and well intentioned;

* Strengths or competence – whether they can act on their intentions;

Warmth is the conduit of influence. It facilitates trusts and the communication and the absorption of ideas. Warm is key when you are building rapport. Rapport means total responsiveness between people, total sync-up. It is created by a feeling of commonality that can only be achieved once rapport is established. We like people who are either like us, or who are like how we’d like to be.

Communication involves three components:
1. Verbal messages – the words we choose – only 7% of communication is delivered by words.

2. Paraverbal messages – how we say the word and messages we transmit through the tone, rhythm, intonation, accent, pitch, pause and pacing of our voices. It is how we say something not what we say. 38 % of communication is delivered by paraverbal messages.

3. Non-verbal messages – our body language such as facial expressions, gestures, eye contact, posture, tone of voice, body movements and orientation, proximity and use of touch, details of dress, time and space. 55% of communication is delivered non-verbally so use your body language wisely.

93% of our messages are delivered non-verbally. Always keep that in mind. Why? You have much less conscious control over your non-verbal messages than of what you are actually saying. Non-verbal communication is much more emotional in nature and therefore more instinctive. Body language is essentially an unconscious representations and expressions of our thoughts and moods. Always be aware and be on a lookout for mismatch between verbal and non-verbal messages your client might be displaying or yourself.

Here are some top tips on positive body language I always teach during sales training sessions that will help you to build rapport more effortlessly and win more business along the way too:

– Smile – There are 2 types of smiles – Duchenne and cabin crew. Duchenne smile is a genuine one and cabin crew is when you are paid to smile. We smile with our eyes. When the smile is genuine, both corners of the mouth and cheeks are raised and this creates crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes. When you smile on the phone the other person could hear it as your tone softens up, when you smile in person it facilitates trust, communication and absorption of ideas. It also feels good to smile because when we do, our brain releases endorphins one of the 4 hormones of happiness.

– Don’t fidget – as a rule it’s a sign of anxiety or boredom.

– Walk with the purpose and energy – people can read confidence on you face before you even say a word so do practice the power walk.

– Maintain eye contact – glaze not stare; no eye darts; when you can tell their eye colour, that’s sufficient enough;

– Keep your hands visible – I’d strongly advise against keeping your hand/s in your pockets during the conversation too. Be mindful of crossing your arms as it can be read as ‘I am closed for a conversation aka not interested’ body language especially if your legs are crossed too.

– Authoritative posture and presence – i.e. sit up straight, don’t slouch.

– Work on your handshake – full palm to palm contact; no ‘dead fish’.

– Slow down and breath – use 7/11 breathing technique (breath in on a count of 7, breath out on a count of 11).

– Avoid common distracting mannerisms – i.e. tapping, scratching, clicking your pen, finger-pointing, fidgeting with the jewelery, etc.

– Use appropriate facial expressions.

– Use engaged body language.

– Dress for confidence  – when you look good, you feel good. Style matter more initially than substance. You must project that you mean business.

– Watch out for idiosyncratic gestures – gestures on their own that are usually unique to an individual and are a big part of their character; displayed under some stimuli, when an emotion is revealed.

– Respect other’s proximity – don’t invade their private space.

– Match and mirror – use mirroring wisely and only when it feels authentic to you.

As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not what you sell but how you sell it. Never underestimate the power of rapport and what it can do to your bottom line. Rapport is power. Nurture it, amplify it and build it into your sales pitch DNA.

If you wish to discuss sales training or executive sales coaching for your team, please email me direct on anastasia@execsalescoaching.com.

Anastasia Antonova

Executive Sales Coach and Trainer

anastasia@execsalescoaching.com | 07852474343

 

Five Steps to Set & Achieve Goals

Goal Setting Theory

When I want to, I perform better than when I have to. I want to for me, I have to
for you. Self-motivation is a matter of choice. John Whitmore

Ever wondered what success stands for and how a goal is related to it? Have you ever asked yourself why you still failed to achieve a goal even though you put some time and effort into it? Want to find out how to set goals in a way that they are self-enhancing not self-defeating? Are you aware of your blocks that prevent you from achieving your goal and be successful? Let’s look into these questions and get a deeper understanding on how to set and smash goals like a pro.

SUCCESS stands for – See your goal, Understand the obstacle, Create a positive mental picture and attitude, Clear your mind of self-doubt, Embrace the challenge, Stay on track, Show the world you can do it.

Goals are internal representations of our desired states or outcomes. In most
cases, we struggle to achieve our goals not because of our efforts but because
how it is structured and framed. As a rule, goals that set you to fail are
unrealistically ambitious, unrealistically unambitious or not challenging enough.
Explicit, specific goals lead to a greater likelihood of success. Studies have found
that developing goals helps a person to enhance motivation and remain
focused on tasks or particular issues that need addressing both personal and/or
work-related.
The development of goals is an important aspect of overall coaching, time & life
management and self-discipline. Being goal-less is likely to lead to a feeling of
under achievement and being adrift in this world. It is also recommended you
always aim for a goal which is inspirational to you, positively framed and
challenging – a real stretch to achieve the best you can.
Setting goals that are SMART gives you more focused, realistic plan to work
towards and achieve desired outcome. SMART framework can be used to define
short term and long term goals although it is useful to review long term goals
regularly too to ensure they are achieved. We will look at SMART framework in
more detail during Step One. SMART framework has proven to be one of the most
effective and heavily used goal-setting models. Once you master it, you will find it
much easier to develop and achieve your goals which will lead to great sense of
satisfaction and achievement.
There is one more thing to consider. As practice shows, when the goal is stated
positively, you more likely to resonate with it and internalise the things you want to
be able to do rather than the things you want to avoid. We can imagine more
easily how we can move towards something or what we want to do rather than
running away from or what we don’t want to do. See which goal appeals to you
more – ‘I want to stop being stressed’ or ‘I want to eat less junk food’ (negative
framing) vs ‘I would like to be calmer in stressful situations’ or ‘I would like to
develop healthy eating habits’ (positive framing).
If the goal is not realistic, there really is no hope of you achieving it, however if the
goal is not challenging, there will be no motivation. You have to find the right
balance here.

It is also advisable to distinguish between realistic and unrealistic goals. Unrealistic goals are self-defeating. This can happen when your skills, reality and other factors don’t match the challenge, sort of wishful thinking. Realistic goals on other hands are self-enhancing and set you to succeed. Unrealistic and self-defeating goals are likely to set you to fail and bring your self-esteem, confidence and self-efficacy (your belief in
the ability to succeed in a specific situation or task) down alongside with your
motivation which in turn reinforces any self-doubting beliefs that you may have
such as ‘I will never get it right’ or ‘I’m hopeless. What’s the point?!’. Let’s pause
for a moment and consider last time you set yourself an unrealistic goal that you
have failed to achieve. Reflect on it for a few minutes. What do you see, feel and
hear? What would you do differently now?
Reflecting on our experiences, whether good or bad, is a crucial part of our
learning as it allows us to look at the situation from a different perspective. During
the course of this workshop you will be asked to reflect critically on various topics
which would hopefully help you develop a deeper understanding of your goals
and bring you in touch with yourself.
Now that you know a bit more about goal setting theory, it’s time to put it into
action.

5 Steps to Set & Achieve Goals

Here’s a brief summary of 5 Steps and you can find a full version if you follow this link – 5-Steps-to-Set-Achieve-Goals-Workshop

1. Develop a goal.

Time to develop a goal. Pause for a minute and ask yourself: What would I like to
achieve? What more do I want? What type of outcome am I looking for?
Imagine a miracle happens whilst you are asleep but you are not aware of it.
What would be different when you wake up the next morning? Write down your answer.

Use SMART framework (specific, measurable, attainable or achievable, realistic or relevant, time-bound) and frame a goal positively.

2. Review current situation and reality.

It is argued that you can’t move on to a planning stage until you review your reality. The reason why you need to do it is so you are objective, can develop a deeper awareness of the situation and highlight any distortions. Explore your reality and see how your goal fits within it. Ask yourself:

  • Exactly what is happening now?
  • In my mind’s eye, why this is a problem?
  • What steps have I done so far?
  • What are the pro’s and con’s of this?

3. Review available options, solutions and alternatives.

Time to brainstorm. Critically and objectively review available options, alternatives and come up with solutions. No idea is either too small or silly so throw it all in. Always remember, the quality of your output will depend on the quality and quantity of the input. You are your own best expert. Ask yourself:

  • What is the first step I can take to get me closer to my goal?
  • Do I have any ideas?
  • What has worked in the past?
  • What else can I do?

4. Wrap up.

What is the way forward? Now what? Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments.  Now you have to wrap up and agree a way forward for you. With a list of possible solutions ready, all you need to do is to pick the most feasible ones and develop be a course of action with outlined timeline and any other specific details. The more specific the plan is the better. That means you don’t leave anything to chance. This is your goal and your plan, so own it like you mean it. Ask yourself:

  • What is to be done, how, when and by whom?
  • Who will / can I get support from?
  • Will this action plan meet my goal?
  • What resources and skills do I need to do that?

5. Review and reflect.

Time to debrief now and reflect back. Ask yourself the following questions straight after you have completed of this workshop:

  • How useful was this exercise to me?
  • How did I find it?
  • Specifically, what did I find most useful?
  • What’s my biggest learning? What was my biggest challenge?
  • What can I do differently next time to enhance learning?

Allow yourself some time to reflect on that.

It is highly recommended to reflect upon things half way through achieving your goals and upon its successful completion.

 

Now, let’s check how motivated are you to hit the ground running after you a have successfully completed 4 steps. Using RICs scale, ask yourself the following questions and rate them on the scale of 1-10, where 1 is low and 10 is high.

  1. How Ready am I right now to achieve my goal? My score.
  2. How Important it is to me to achieve your goal? My score.
  3. How Confident am I that I can achieve your goal? My score.
  4. Is there anything that can stop me from achieving my goal? If so, what is the solution?

In conclusion, I’d like to recap once again that SUCCESS stands for – See your goal, Understand the obstacle, Create a positive mental picture and attitude, Clear your mind of self-doubt, Embrace the challenge, Stay on track, Show the world you can do it!

Please do share your thoughts on that and goals. If you have any questions or would like to arrange a free initial session, please email me direct – anastasia@execsalescoaching.com

Obstacles to change. What stops you from achieving your goal? Part 2.

Blocks to Сhange. What obstacles do you need to consider when setting a goals?

Last week we started discussing very important topic – obstacles to change and went through some of them – possible goals conflict, lack of motivation, ambivalence and laps. Why is it important to recognise what block may impede your progress and obstacle that prevent your personal growth? When a goal is set hopefully you feel committed to get into action and raring to go. You have a clear vision and feel super determined. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and sometimes, even though we have a very clear and specific goal, we still feel there’s something missing or perhaps that something is just not right. Sounds familiar?

Here are other blocks why we don’t achieve what we want, despite our best intentions and efforts.

Procrastination.

Good old procrastination. To procrastinate is to put things off till tomorrow or next Monday even though your better judgement tells you have to do it today. By the way, how are your New Year’s resolutions doing?

According to the first ever in-depth report examining why and how we procrastinate, Britons spend nearly four hours every day delaying tasks they know they should be doing. The study, published by the lending company RateSetter  and based on a YouGov survey of 2,000 adults, revealed that we spend, on average, 218 minutes procrastinating every day, which amounts to 55 days of lost time each year.

Here’s a cheeky 3 step model you can adapt to help you get out of procrastination circle:

  1. Write down what you need / want / have to do that you have been putting off.
  2. Write down the first step or few steps you will make to do what you need / want / have to do.
  3. Write down what obstacles you may come across with and what will you do about it.

​The one and only solution to tackle procrastination is action. You just have to do it. Full stop.

Resource depletion.

You are too tired, stressed or overwhelmed. Or perhaps you have negative and highly demotivating self-talk (‘I’m a total loser’/ ‘It’s not going to work for me so why even bother’), lack of support or time both socially and work wise, resources are stretched, lack of certain skills, etc.

​Possible solutions may include reviewing your time management, using relaxation technique such as Benson Relaxation, meditation, asking for help and support, practicing being kind to yourself to counteract negative self-talk, improving your skills via training, mentoring or coaching, etc.

Inadequate tracking.

Lack of feedback, communication or evidence. You feel like you are kept in the dark or not being listened to. This is especially relevant for work related goals. Possible solutions may include asking for feedback or evidence support, and making sure your goal is measurable so you can track success rate  (i.e. go through your KPIs with your boss and write them down, this way you are both on the same page). Transparency is key and lack of it causes communication breakdown.

Inner Critic.

Last but not the least. You ‘Inner Critic’ is on full blast telling you ‘You are going to fail again so there is no point to waste your time again. Everyone would think you are a big loser. Blah-blah-blah.’

Rule number one – you hold the volume button. Rule number two – turn you ‘Inner Critic’ right down and start challenging those self-doubting beliefs, that’s rule number three. Limits exist only in your head. No one can upset you without your consent.

Have you ever noticed that if you think you’ll have a bad day in the morning, the whole day goes wrong? We tend to get what we focus on. If you fear failure or stress about stress before there’s even any stress to stress about, you focus all your attention on failure or stress and that’s exactly what you will get. So don’t get surprised afterwards.

Use TIC / TOC technique that is used on cognitive coaching. Your negative self-talk is like this trojan horse virus that is hard to stop and it’s highly destructive. TIC/TOC is an antivirus for your brain so keep it switched on 24/7. Here’s how it works:

  1. TIC stand for ‘task interfering cognition’ – your self-nagging & negative thoughts related to a particular task. Write them all down in one column.

​2. TOC stands for ‘task oriented cognition’ – helpful, rational and functional thoughts that you will develop to challenge your TICs.

​3. You should challenge your TICs via 4 ways that are most effective:

* Reality – Is it real? Where is the evidence that everyone will think I am a looser?

* Logic – Is it logical? Even if I failed once at a task, how does it logically make me a total loser? Happens to the best of us.

* Pragmatism – Is it helpful? OK, even if I am right, how does it help me to achieve my goal?

* Third party perspective – If I was a fly on the wall and witnessed the whole process, would I agree with me? What would I say to my best friend? Am I ready to take my own advice?

  1. Now challenge your TICs and write down helpful, rational, realistic TOCs in the column next to it.
  2. Keep on practicing it whether in writing or just in your head. It is very powerful stuff.

​If you still think your self-nagging is overwhelming and you just can’t deal with it yourself, look for help. Cognitive behavioural coaching would be a very powerful and helpful option to consider here.

If you said yes to any of the above, this can be your block to change. Pause and think, what is the first step you can do now to overcome this challenge and move closer to your goal?

If you have any questions, please feel free to email me direct – anastasia@execsalescoachng.com

BOOK YOUR FREE SESSION NOW. 

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Obstacles to change. What stops you from achieving your goal? Part 1.

Blocks to Сhange. What obstacles do you need to consider when setting a goals?

When a goal is set hopefully you feel committed to get into action and raring to go. You have a clear vision and feel super determined. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and sometimes, even though we have a very clear and specific goal, we still feel there’s something missing or perhaps that something is just not right. Sounds familiar?

​There are some blocks why we don’t achieve what we want, despite our best intentions and efforts:

  1. Possible Goal Conflict.

A goal conflict is the existence of two or more competing goals leading to the cause of conflict in your mindset. It occurs when two or more motives block each other. That can cause great strain on our emotional and physical well-being. For example, your goal is to lose 1 stone in 8 weeks yet you don’t want to cancel Friday night’s takeaway routine with your friends. What’s the end result here? Good case scenario – workable compromise. Bad case scenario – frustration, no weight loss and overall disappointment.

​Goal conflict can also occur in the following situations:

* The goal is not congruent with who you are and your values, morals and principles. It’s not in sync with you. Ask yourself – How does this goal sit with me? Am I being authentic?

* The goal might not be yours and has been imposed on you. You will not internalise someone else’s goal and resist it until you find a working compromise on it that would sit well with you.

* The goal might interfere with another goal you wish to attain. Have your cake and eat it scenario.

* Goal is not SMART. Successful goal = specific & explicit goal with a clear time frame.

* Your self-efficacy is low. In other words, you don’t believe you have the right skills or resources to do it. That affect self-esteem too. If fact, it kills it.

* You are simply not ready to change. You have to be honest with yourself here. Do you really want to do? It can be extremely difficult but it is worth it.

  1. Lack of Motivation.

​Self-motivation is intrinsic, which means it is within you. Change always starts from within. Self-motivation is the ability to energise, direct and sustain your goal-related behaviour whether or not you have the support and encouragement of friends, family or your boss.

​Lasting and meaningful change can only occur when you are intrinsically motivated. Motivation to change is being ready, willing and able.

Possible solutions may include looking for exceptions to see when your self-motivation was high and see what other resource were available and helpful or what you were doing differently. Ask yourself the following two questions:

* What do I do that stops me from achieving my goal?

* What do I need to do in order to achieve my goal?

You can also use motivation imagery (developed by Professor Stephen Palmer and Michael Neenan), that is handy if you are ambivalent or reluctant about addressing problems, challenges or issues in your life. It consists of two parts – inaction and action. Powerful stuff, trust me. Here are the steps:

  1. Visualise the rest of your life not having undertaken the changes that you would like and not achieving your desires goal. Imagine the effect upon yourself and perhaps on significant others too, for the rest of your life until the day you die if you do absolutely nothing. Think of your regrets too. Imagine the effect year by year.
  2. Now imagine yourself undertaking what you want to do and see how your future unfolds without this particular problem after having worked hard to deal with it.
  3. Now consider how you are going to put action step into practice.

​Practice this technique every time you feel demotivated until you feel like you are back on track.

​If you still feel you are not getting anywhere and your motivation levels are low, consider hiring a life coach who is trained to perform Motivational Interviewing and also uses cognitive techniques too.

  1. Ambivalence.

Old keys won’t open new doors. When you set a goal for yourself, that usually means you want to achieve something new by changing or optimising old ways. Ambivalence is seen as a natural part of the change process and resistance is the heart of change. Change happens in a cycle. If you are ambivalent about making the first step towards achieving your goal and also showing some resistance (e.g. ‘Why me?’/‘Why should I even bother?’ scenario), you can assess at what stage of the change cycle you are right now. See diagram.

  1. Lapse and Relapse.

Preventing and managing lapse or relapse is an important part of setting a goal especially health & well-being related and if you have failed to achieve it before. Lapse is a small, temporary slip in goal achievement efforts, while a relapse is a return to previous habits that is associated with blocking goal achievements. In other words, a lapse is a single slip or set back while a relapse is a series of backward steps or set backs away from the goal. Everyone has lapses – small slips, moments or brief periods of time when you return to an old habit. Relapse is often referred to as the unofficial sixth stage of the change cycle model described above.

As a rule, when you experience relapse you are likely to have feelings of disappointment, failure and extreme frustration. This is where a lot of negative self-talk and self-downing beliefs would stroll in to make matters worse and this in turn will significantly bring motivation down.

cycle of change

When you relapse, you will go back to one of the following three stages – contemplation, planning/decision or action. Depending where you land after a relapse would ultimately determine what you should do. Planning/decision and action stages are where usually most of the barriers and blocks to change would crop up too. Be mindful of that.

In order to deal with lapses most effectively, it is important to be prepared for them. Outline the chain of events or triggers that can lead to relapse so you can see if there is clear pattern, then develop and highlight coping strategies or action plan for keeping a lapse from progressing to relapse.

In my next post I’ll continue this subject and look into other block to change such as procrastination, perfectionism, resource depletion and inner critic.

Stay tuned and follow me on social media.

Anastasia

 

10 Sales Rules: Supercharge Your Skills.

Today I want to share some key reflections with you based on my sales experience and outline 10 Sales Rules that I had to figure out myself. This is the kind of stuff I wish I knew when I was just starting or could have learned from someone. I had no mentor, no wise buddy to consult with, practically no sales training and was expected to hit the ground running and deliver results asap. I had to figure it out all by myself. It was hard, very challenging at time but well worth it. Sounds familiar?

I’ve been in sales for a very long time, over 13 years now. One thing I’ve noticed is that everyone I know who works in sales has just kind of ended up there. No one has ever told me “Oh yes, I always wanted to be in sales!That’s my dream job”. You just happen to fall into it for whatever reason and it sucks you in. I was no exception.

Regardless of whether you are new to sales or have been doing it for a while, it’s very important to have regular sales training and coaching so you can keep on harnessing your skills and perfecting your game. You have to be hungry for success

Here are top 10 Sales Rules that I put together for you based on my extensive experience in sales:

  1. Listen. When I say listen to your clients, I mean don’t just flap your ears and plan your next questions in your head. That won’t do you any favours, trust me. Your mind will be preoccupied and you might miss out on something important. Use active listening. Be present in the conversation, in the moment. Listen with a purpose and respond in such a way that other person is aware they have been both heard and understood. Show empathy. Use silence wisely. Maintain eye contact but don’t stare. I always teach my coachees one tried & tested active listening technique to help them enhance their listening skills. It’s called OARS and stands for open questions, affirmations, reflections and summaries. Ask questions that will prompt the client to tell you more about what they are looking for, reflect back and always summarise at the end to check that you are all on the same page.
  2. Smile. Smile like you mean it. Our non-verbal messages account for 55% of our communication and words only account for 7%. So it’s not what you say but how you say it that makes a difference. There are 2 types of smile – Duchenne and cabin crew. Duchenne smile is a genuine one and cabin crew asi when you are paid to smile. How can you tell the difference between fake smile and genuine? We smile with our eyes. When the smile is genuine, both corners of the mouth and cheeks are raised and this creates crow’s feet in the corners of the eyes. When you smile on the phone the other person could hear it as your tone softens up, when you smile in person it facilitates trust, communication and absorption of ideas. It also feels good to smile because when we do, our brain releases endorphins one of the 4 hormones of happiness. No one wants to be around miserable people. It’s scientifically proven that moods are contagious so even if you ever find yourself in a bad state prior to an important meeting, make yourself smile for a couple of minutes and you’ll see your mood improving in no time.
  3. Never judge. One thing I’ve learned pretty quickly is that you never know where your business will come from. My biggest clients were the least expected one. Be curious and keep an open mind about opportunities coming your way.
  4. Have 30 seconds elevations sales pitch ready. You might be asked to attend an impromptu meeting or you might be introduced to a potential client when least expected, so always have 30 seconds elevation sales pitch prepared. You can thank me later.
  5. Don’t try to sell too hard. It’s off putting. You may come across too desperate and it kills any potential relationships. Sometime no means no.
  6. Use assumptive and fear close. Assumptive close is when you act ‘as if’ they have already made a decision to buy your product or services.  Assumptive close works really well in person. I used it all the time when I was showing around the venue for a potential event and would say something like ‘We’ll set some drinks out before you arrive so you can have a glass of bubbly upon arrival, etc’. As I was saying it, I can see the client nodding their head imagining the event in all the details. Once they do that, there are 99% chances they’ll book with you. Fear close if very effective to seal the deal with clients who showed some interest initially but still undecided. Don’t over do it though. Keep on practicing it to find your style.
  7. Always follow up. Ensure you have correct contact details to start with. Ask the client when it’s convenient to follow up on that enquiry or use 2 days chase rule. When I had an initial contact with a client over the phone or email, I’d email them with a quote and any info required and add that I’d follow up in a couple of days to see if they have any questions / want to arrange a meeting / ready to make a decision. Make use of your Outlook Calendar for this and set reminders otherwise you’ll forget. I’d also advise to enter basic enquiry details into a reminder so you don’t have to go through your emails to find your why you need to contact this person.
  8. Be prepared. Product knowledge is key. I can’t stress it enough. You won’t get far if you don’t know what you are talking about. People are pretty good at sensing bs. You also need to research your clients too to have a better understanding their needs. Product knowledge combined with customer knowledge means you are selling the right product to the right client at the right time at the right price. Win-win for everyone.
  9. Be proactive. That is the main struggle for sales managers I know. I used to fall into this trap too. Sales leads are coming in, you relax a bit and get too comfortable and then you start to slip. To ensure you don’t fall into this cycle, allocate time on a regular basis to do your proactive activities. Use Pareto principle also known as the 80/20 rule, the law of the vital few, that states that for many events, roughly 80% of the results come from 20% of the input. Of course, ratio can change to 70/30 or 90/10. The key idea here is that most things are not 1:1, therefore most likely your top 3 actions will deliver the results you strive for even though you might also do 7 more other things on a background. Think carefully, what are your vital few actions that would get you to your sales goal?
  10. Pamper yourself. The last but not the least. You only have one you as I like to say. And you only have one chance to make good first impression. Self-grooming is key in a customer facing role. Your self-presentation has to be appropriate for the occasion, client or product you are selling / representing. If you look good, you feel good.  Ask yourself  – would you buy a product or service form yourself if you were the client?

And last word of advice – always believe in yourself. Be you. Be authentic.

You are awesome. Sometime it’s hard not to take it personally but you must remember one things – if the client is saying no to you, they are not rejecting you personally, they are rejecting your product or services.

Keep your head up high, push your limits and keep on going. Growth and success don’t happen in the comfort zone.

Hope you find it useful. Strive for excellence and go get it!

You are looking for a Sales Performance Coaching or Training, please get in touch and I’d be happy to discuss how we can work together.

P.S. Please feel free to email me your feedback and comments  on anastasia@execsalescoaching.com

Anastasia Antonova

Sales Performance Coach & Trainer

 

Adaptive Perfectionism: Strive for Excellence .

Do you find yourself constantly chasing perfection? Do you have an exceptionally high standards and unrealistic demands to yourself and others? If this sounds familiar, welcome to the club of perfectionists.

Perfectionism refers to self-defeating thoughts and behaviours associated with high and unrealistic goals. Perfectionism is often mistakenly seen as desirable or even necessary for success. However, recent studies have shown that perfectionist attitudes actually interfere with success. The desire to be perfect can deny you a sense of satisfaction and cause you to achieve far less than people with more realistic goals.

You can recognise perfectionists by the following common characteristics:

  • They feel like whatever they accomplish is never quite good enough
  • they put off handing in projects, waiting to get them just perfect polishing it over and over again
  • They feel like they must give more than 100 per cent on everything they do or else they will be mediocre or even a failure. And expect the same from other.

What is the cause of perfectionism?

Maladaptive perfectionism can be described as refusal to accept any standard short of perfection. Perfectionist people are those who have high standards beyond reach or reason to sustain and who strain compulsively and relentlessly towards impossible goals and measure their own self-worth based entirely on their accomplishments and capabilities.  Low self-esteem is also quite often accompanied by perfectionist tendencies which in turn can set up a cycle of avoidance, procrastination and low frustration tolerance.

Perfectionism is often associated with the following challenges:

  • Fear of failure. Perfectionists often equate failure to achieve their goals with a lack of personal worth or value.
  • Fear of making mistakes. Perfectionists often equate mistakes with failure and total disaster. As a rule perfectionists miss opportunities to learn, grow and enjoy the process as they are focusing on avoiding mistakes too much.
  • Fear of disapproval. If they let others see their flaws, perfectionists often fear that they will no longer be accepted. Trying to be perfect is a way of trying to protect themselves from criticism, rejection, and disapproval.
  • All-or-nothing thinking or black or white thinking. Perfectionists frequently believe that they are worthless if their accomplishments are not perfect. It either has to be perfect or why bother at all?! Perfectionists struggle a lot to see situations in perspective. For example, a straight ‘A’ student who receives a ‘B’ might believe, “I am a total failure and it’s a total disaster”.
  • Over-emphasis on ‘should’, ‘must’ and ‘ought’. Perfectionists often live with an endless list of rigid rules for what they must accomplish. With the emphasis on how everything has to be done, perfectionists rarely listen to what they really feel like doing.
  • Never good enough. Never. Perfectionists tend to see others as achieving success with a minimum of effort, few errors, little emotional stress, and maximum self-confidence. At the same time, perfectionists view their own efforts as unending and forever inadequate.

Sounds exhausting and stressful, isn’t it? What’s the solution then? Turn it into an adaptive perfectionism and strive for excellence instead of chasing perfection.

 

Adaptive perfectionism.

It is better to celebrate your realistic goals than fail to attain perfection.

Striving for excellence is a form of adaptive perfectionism which is a more helpful and rational way. Adaptive perfectionists strive for goals that are attainable. Adaptive or normal perfectionists set high standards for themselves yet feel free to be less precise as the situation permits so they show more flexibility. Adaptive perfectionists as a rule feel good about their accomplishments but allow themselves the flexibility to make and accept minor mistakes.

Some of the characteristics of adaptive perfectionism can be as follows:

  • Able to experience satisfaction or pleasure
  • Focus on doing things right rather than perfect
  • Timely completion of tasks
  • Standards modified in accordance with the situation
  • Relaxed but careful attitude
  • Motivation to achieve positive feedback and/or rewards
  • Desire to excel rather than be perfect
  • Achievable standards
  • Reasonable match between attainable performance and standards
  • Failure associated with disappointment and renewed efforts
  • Reasonable certainty about actions
  • High standards are match too the person’s limitations and strengths
  • Sense of self-worth independent of performance
  • Balanced thinking: good enough

There is an antidote to perfectionism that a coach can outline to a coachee in order to shift unhelpful patterns onto more helpful and adaptive ones such as:

  • Do not tie up your personal worth to accomplishment.
  • Strive to do your best instead of obsessing yourself with being the best.
  • Aim to become a better performer rather than try to prove yourself a better person.
  • No matter how successful you are, you remain a fallible and imperfect human being – develop greater self-acceptance.
  • See failures and setbacks as opportunities for learning, not self-condemnation.

To conclude, adaptive perfectionism is characterised as a normal, healthy type of perfectionism as it leads to satisfaction from achievements made from intense effort but tolerating the imperfections without resorting to the harsh self-criticism that characterises maladaptive perfectionism. A much better and productive way forward, don’t you agree?

 

References:

Melissa Jackson 2004 Why perfect is not always best http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3815479.stm

Rice, KG. and Preusser, KJ., (2002), The adaptive/maladaptive perfectionism scale, Measurement and Evaluation in Counselling and Development, Vol 34.4:210, [Online], Available: http://search.proquest.com/openview/bb8e76c6362136df09966437b4b55d97/1?pq-origsite=gscholar
Palmer, S. and Williams, H., (2012), Struggles with low self-esteem: Teaching self-acceptance in Neenan, M. and Palmer, S., (2012), Cognitive Behavioural Coaching in Practice. An Evidence Based Approach, East Sussex: Routledge