Structure is the Key
If the business world in Australia goes into hibernation, what on earth do we as salespeople do?
Well I guess we could pull up stumps and “go home” mentally and turn our attentions elsewhere. That’s certainly one option.
My question about that though, is what happens when the lights of the economy turn back on? Employers and leaders: how do you know you’ll even have a team at the end of that hibernation? And if you do, how long will it take before they’re fully up and running? Will they have the right skills to generate sales in a post COVID-19 recession?
Selling is one of those skills we must continue to practice and sharpen or we lose our rhythm and momentum. And that’s hard when there are no customers with whom to engage. We may just run out of imagination as employers beyond team meetings, individual calls and group chats. The good news is that there are plenty of options to explore and stop us from losing our sales fitness.
Structure is a lifesaver. It focuses the mind and keeps us in the present.
ONE: Make a to do list each afternoon for the next day
Studies have shown that the dopamine hit we get from crossing things off our list means that sometimes we even find ourselves adding things to the list just so we can cross them off!
Do things that you have been putting off or simply didn’t have the time for before the zombie apocalypse hit like sorting your wardrobe out, getting your home office in order, selling that stuff on FB Marketplace, cleaning your shed, getting a vegie garden started, go for a walk or join an online exercise class.
Enjoy the satisfaction that comes with the feeling of making progress. Immerse yourself fully in each activity so that your head is truly where your hands are. I was told a long time ago that an order of nuns used housework as a practice of meditation by concentrating on each part of what they were doing: each wipe of the plate, each scrub of the floor…Head where your hands are.
TWO: Show up
Whether anyone other than your family will see you or not is irrelevant. Getting up, exercising, having a shower, getting dressed, smelling pleasant and looking our best makes US feel better. If each time you catch yourself in the mirror and are as pleased as you can possibly be by the effort you’ve made, you’re ahead for the day! Our brain switches into “ready for anything mode”, rather than sleep/comfy couch/chill mode. Also, it enables you to switch off better as you get ready for bed. Wearing comfy clothes, turning down the lighting, unwinding with a herbal tea and a book or Netflix movie tell your brain you’re in “downtime” mode.
If we’re staying home, we need to retrain our brains and our bodies to operate in the new normal – even if it’s relatively temporary.
THREE: Do something each day that feeds your mind and grows your professional capacity
While you’re out walking, listen to a podcast that offers a new or different perspective. Check Eventbrite events out as there are lots of free webinar courses to attend. Read a blog or article from an industry website or magazine that builds your understanding. Watch a biography of a person you respect or admire to look for the clues that got them to where they are. Learn a new skill or try a new form of exercise. Play a memory game with your partner, parent or child.
Our brains are not fixed – contrary to early thinking on the matter. We can fire off completely new neural pathways by learning something new and strengthen those pathways by deepening our skills and reinforcing our abilities. Great for our brain health. Think of going on a Netflix/houseparty/zoom drinks holiday for weeks on end with no balance as the equivalent of Supersizing yourself on a diet of takeaway McDonald’s. They’re treats.
FOUR: Speak with someone outside of your immediate family, friends and team
It’s too easy to cocoon ourselves inside the bubble of our day to day. Especially when we’re not supposed to be leaving that cocoon other than to exercise, get our essentials or go to the chemist. Stretch yourself. Reach out to your network. Find out what their day looks like and what’s working for them. Stay curious. Take what you like and leave the rest. It keeps our sales communication skills in check and forces us to think about the conversation rather than just blah blahing as we might to those we know so well.
FIVE: Set yourself new goals
For many of us, COVID-19 has encouraged us to think about what really matters to us. Bringing our values to the forefront. Without us having much control over it, it’s meant that we are much more mindful of others. Putting the needs of the collective ahead of us as individuals (okay, there’s the obvious exceptions), helping our neighbours, playing as a family, walking with our partners, taking pride in our homes….not that these are new ideas. And nor am I suggesting here that you didn’t do these things before the zombie apocalypse: but through this, we’ve been pushed into lots of time to do these things. Think about how you can take some of these values into the post COVID-19 reality. What does this mean for your goals? Is it to spend a day working from home now that you are Zoom-fluent? Does this mean spending a weekend in the garden with your family tending to the veggies you planted together, and are going to use to cook with together? Does it mean continuing with your exercise regime? Has it renewed a love of learning new skills? Louise Hay once said that “It’s happening FOR us, not TO us…” as a way to find the gift in any situation that seems to impose itself on us.
Stay sharp. Stay focused. We need great salespeople more than ever to get our economy jump started.
I’m counting on you!