Sales and Sales Management Blog

May 22, 2008

Guest Article: “Harness Your Desire to Break Bad Sales Habits,” by Jeb Blount

Filed under: career development,goals,motivation,sales,selling,success — Paul McCord @ 6:41 am
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Harness Your Desire to Break Bad Sales Habits
By Jeb Blount

It’s reality. Salespeople fail. Maybe even you. Sadly, thousands of salespeople are fired or quit each day because they failed to attain quota. When you ask these salespeople what went wrong most are quick to point out that their failure was due to some external factor, which prevented them from achieving their goal. Poor territories, bad managers, difficult environments, lack of training, and defective products are fodder for these conversations.

However, when studying successful Sales Professionals in those same organizations, we find, that when faced with identical difficulties, they still managed to succeed. Why did some salespeople succeed where others didn’t?

The answer is simple. The successful salespeople have developed the habit of looking inward for inspiration, motivation, and accountability when things get difficult. They have developed the disciplined habit of finding solutions to problems while the less successful people have developed the habit of finding excuses for failure. I’m sure for some this seems a bit harsh, but the truth is the truth. Success or failure has a lot more to do with our thoughts and actions than the difficulties we face.

A habit is defined as a pattern of behavior that is followed regularly until it becomes automatic. In other words we do things we are comfortable with and we keep doing them. When we do the same thing over and over again an amazing thing happens: we get the same result over and over again!

Unfortunately, many people become so comfortable with their habits that they will continue the behavior even if that habit is causing them to fail. This is called a bad habit and anyone who has worked to quit smoking or even correct a poor golf swing, will attest that bad habits die hard. In many ways, failure is just the manifestation of our bad habits.

Stepping out of a comfort zone is very difficult and one of the core reasons so many salespeople find themselves moving from company to company and failing time and time again. Despite the training each new company provides, despite the coaching, despite the mentoring from successful Sales Professionals, eventually these salespeople revert back to their old habits and ultimately failure. The good news is, that though difficult, it is possible to break this cycle of failure. But to change your habits, you must first change your thoughts and actions. And who has control of your thoughts and actions? You.

Four PowerPrinciples for Positive Change

Identify Your Bad Habits: The first step to creating new, winning habits is identifying your bad habits and examining and understanding your behavior. In this process you must be honest with yourself. You must place the responsibility for your failure where it lies.

Harness Your Desire:
The next step is to mentally make the status quo untenable. As long as you are more comfortable with where you are than where you want to be it will be difficult, if not impossible to change. To make positive changes you must harness your desire. That means defining what you want, writing it down, and becoming laser focused on that goal. A burning desire to achieve a defined goal is the one key that unlocks the door to the formation of powerful new habits.

Invest in Your Mind: Just because you want to change, need to change, and desire to change doesn’t mean that you have the skills to change. Thanks to the Internet and sites like http://www.SalesGravy.com you can now browse the minds of millions of individuals with the click of a mouse, instantly. There are thousands of books written about success, sales, and self help. There are also Podcasts, eZines, printed magazines, and seminars. Take every opportunity to learn new skills that will lead you to new habits.

Get a Coach: Perhaps the most powerful step you can take towards positive change in your life is to get a coach. There are coaches everywhere and, as long as you are coachable, a great coach will help you break through your self-imposed barriers and will illuminate the path that will lead you straight to the success you deserve.

Jeb Blount is the author of PowerPrinciples and has over 20 years experience in sales and marketing. As a business leader he has extensive experience turning around and righting troubled organizations. He has a passion for growing people and the unique ability to see potential in everyone. Over the span of his career he has coached, trained, and developed hundreds of Sales Professionals, managers and leaders. He is the moderator of Sales Gravy, a popular on-line community of sales professionals.

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