I remember back in my college days, I decided to attempt a parachute jump. This is really funny for those of you who know me, because I am not great with heights. Actually, I’m atrocious with heights.
There was some logic going on though, as I thought it would cure my fear. (It didn't.)
The first thing they taught us was how to land.
” Falling is the easy part,” the instructor told us. “It’s the landing that can cause problems.”
We were taught a five-point roll and then began a process of practicing that roll nearly 200 times over the next six hours before we actually attempted our first jump. Each time we’d practice, we had to call out the five points of contact in the roll. By the 40th time we were simply landing and rolling without actually thinking through each point. By then it was a natural thing to do.
Now, 30 years later, I still know the five-point roll even though I only ever did that one parachute jump. The whole idea was to get us to be able to land safely and live to tell the tale by making the process natural (like there’ s anything natural to jumping out of a perfectly good airplane).
Life is exactly the same. There are so many things that we do over and over again that they become natural.
When we first started driving a car it was a slow, deliberate and sometimes painful process just to get the car moving at a reasonable speed. Now, after years of practice, we drive, talk to passengers, take note of the surroundings, adjust the radio, all without deliberate thought. It’s become a habit. And how many times have you caught yourself on the weekend heading down the route to work, just because it’s what you do every day?
Here’s the kicker though: What happens if you’ve been repeatedly doing or practicing the wrong thing? You become skillful — at the wrong thing! Obviously, we’re not just talking about consciously practicing wrong things. It may just be a habit that one has picked up over the years. For example, have you noticed how some people are always late for meetings? You can book those meetings at any time or place, you can send out reminders and alarms and they will still be late. It’s become a habit. Now that’s just a little silly and irritating to us compulsive punctual clock-watchers, but what about more serious habits?
Have you ever noticed how it’s generally the it’s same people who end up in confrontations and arguments?
What about people whose relationships always seem to turn sour after a period of time?
What about people who always seem to be short of money?
Is it possible that I’ve picked up and adopted some unhelpful habits that cause me to lose crucial business deals?
Is it possible that failure becomes a habit?
I contend that these are all habits. I also contend that each one can be changed and better habits instituted, resulting in lives of less stress, more success and more achievement.
What about business habits? And sales habits? Is your sales career based on luck, or do you have a five-point roll, a process or a formula you can identify, measure, scale, rely on, have tried and tested, that results in regular, high sales and keeps you in reach of a massive prospect pool?
If your sales formula is your sparkling personality, ability to talk and any product that catches your fancy, I’d hazard a guess that your "success" is average at best, and that there is an ongoing pattern of company hopping as you move from idea to idea or next great product to next great product. Are you a travelling product peddler or are you building a successful, sought-out professional sales practice? The choice is yours and, in my opinion, it’s all about habits.
So many companies and people call me claiming that they have a closing problem. My personal research and experience has shown that most salespeople don’t have a closing problem, they have opening problem. There’s no five-point roll, no plan or series of habits that make closing easy.
Successful salespeople have made good habits of all the hard tasks, making the fun task of closing easier, more regular, more lucrative and way more predictable.
The five-point roll was also about protection, safety and survival. There are many stories of people who had problems in their flight, but because they performed a great five-point roll they suffered little or no damage.
When your sales flight picks up some problems — no prospects, no closes therefore no cashflow, limited success — what is your plan? What is your five-point roll that you can immediately fall back on, knowing it will not just help you survive, but get you to begin to thrive?
What's holding your business back?
About the Author
OneAccord Principal Brad Thomson emigrated to the United States from South Africa in 2019. He is a sales leader and a pastor with a passion for seeing people live up to their fullest potential.
As a salesman with experience in investment products, furniture, IT, life insurance and short-term insurance, Brad has sold goods ranging from the unseen (insurance) to the misunderstood (IT). Brad's passion to see people develop their potential led him to study human resources, then open and run his own recruitment consultancy. As a cosultant, he helped people and businesses thrive by finding the right fit for their unique situation. Click here to learn more about Brad.
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