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Sales Process Is Habit Forming

by David Brock on October 17th, 2013

I was rereading a post from Kevin Eikenberry (Kevin’s a favorite of mine) on  The Power Of Habits.  Be sure to read it, it’s an important article.  As I reread it, I was reminded that so much of what high performing sales people do is habit, using Kevin’s terms, considered habit.

High performers have figured out what works.  They have learned what it takes to consistently be the best.  They’ve learned to recognize the patterns of success—turning them into consistently executed habits.  These habits become second nature, it’s just what they do unconsciously.

They know that to win a deal, they must execute the same steps consistently.  They know when the skip the steps, they are putting their ability to win at risk.  But they don’t think much about it, they just do it, consistently, deal after deal.

High performers have all sorts of other habits.  They structure their time, they look out over the next several weeks, blocking periods of time for prospecting, for learning and training, for preparation and research, for meeting with customers, for follow up.

They know if they make so many calls per day or week on new prospects, they will be able to fill their pipelines.  They don’t think about it much, they don’t question what they are doing, they simply know it works and for them to continue performing, they have to keep doing the things that work.  So prospecting is a habit.

Every high performer has rituals and habits the do.  They don’t think much about them, it just becomes a habit.  They don’t need to be reminded, they just know.

They also recognize some things can be bad habits.  Lack of preparation, skipping steps in the sales process, not planning  and blocking their time, not making those prospecting calls, not doing the things they know make them successful.  All of us have bad habits.  High performers seek to recognize and eliminate them.  They know bad habits impact the results they get and prevent them from achieving their goals.

Organizations have “habits.”  We call them different things, but their function is similar to the habits of high performers.  Organizations look at the collection of great habits of all their top performers, they compare those to the desired results and outcomes.  They structure those great habits in to processes, simplifying them so everyone can adopt and execute these great habits.  The sales process is a great habit.  Our prospecting, pipeline management, account/territory management, call planning and other things are all collections of the best habits of top performers.

There’s another thing about habits that’s important to us.  We practice them constantly, we refine them and improve them.  We re-consider them.  I really like Kevin’s term “considered habit.”  It means we don’t do them blindly or thoughtlessly, but purposefully.  It also means that when the habits no longer serve us or become bad habits, we abandon them.

Take a few moments to reflect on your habits.  Think about the ones you need to sharpen.  Get rid of those bad habits, the one’s that distract you or don’t produce the outcomes you want.

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  1. Doug Schmidt permalink

    Another great comment and blog post by Dave. Habits in organizations and individuals are a critical aspect of building productive, high performing and profitable cultures. The big challenge is to identify and determine what are good habits and which are not. Art Markman in his book “Smart Thinking” talks about building “smart thinking” cultures in organizations, The big challenge is how and who can do this. This is where organizational subject matter, culture and habit experts can come in. Their expertise – such that Dave can provide – in giving us feedback, advice and a roadmap in developing smart thinking and smart habit cultures to assist in these efforts may be a wise action to take. Way to go Dave!

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