Webster’s dictionary defines mindfulness as:
“the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also: such a state of awareness.”
If there is a better definition of what is needed to be successful in sales and sales management, I’d like to see it.
Mindfulness in sales will help you be a better partner with your customers because you are more ‘aware’ of their needs and their goals and aspirations. It’s not about YOU, it’s about THEM.
Being mindful with your own team will make you a better teammate…again, it’s not about YOU, it’s about your TEAM.
Being ‘Aware’ with Customers
One of the biggest learning opportunities for new salespeople presenting is their focus on the presentation and their perceived need to get through ALL the information in the deck, at all costs. What these new salespeople need to learn is that it is a two-way street…it’s not just delivering the info to the customer but also ensuring that the customer is RECEIVING the information in the presentation. This is a great example of the need for the salesperson to be mindful and self-aware in the present, while in a customer meeting. It is easy, while presenting, to be too focused on going through all the bullet points on a slide in the rush to get to the next slide. If, however, you are in the present, you’ll be aware of the reactions from your customers. By being aware and in the present, you’ll truly RECOGNIZE both verbal and non-verbal feedback form you’re your customers. As we’ve discussed before, the old adage about “two ears vs. one mouth” in regard to listening is critical to be a successful salesperson and being mindful is aligned with being a good listener.
I’ve been meditating twenty minutes, twice a day, for almost 2 ½ years and I’ve found that a meditation practice really helps me to stay in-the-moment and to keep focused. If you haven’t tried meditating, you may want to give it a shot…there are many different types and you can find out all about them online. I have friends in sales who also find running and exercise to be very helpful in practicing mindfulness.
It’s important to honestly evaluate your own strengths and areas of improvement. Most of us are very comfortable thinking about our strengths but it can be sobering to honestly look at where we need to improve. I find practicing mindfulness as an aid to being more open with myself…and honestly looking at what changes I need to make to improve myself.
Practicing Mindfulness in Your Office
Being mindful in your own office is the practice of being a good listener and being ‘in the moment’ for your teammates. This is particularly important if you’re in a sales management role. As a sales manager, you’re being pulled in multiple directions from your own team from your senior management. The most successful salespeople I know fully realize that it ‘takes a team’ to achieve their sales goals. While an individual salesperson may receive the most recognition, that salesperson knows, and should acknowledge, the importance of the entire team. Going back to the definition above, I believe being nonjudgmental with your teammates will lead to a smoother and more efficient sales team. Salespeople need to not ASSUME things about a situation, or an individual.
Being mindful in your office also means having a positive attitude. You, as a salesperson or sales manager, can make a huge impact with your team by being upbeat. This doesn’t mean ignoring challenges, but it does mean rationally addressing those challenges in a positive way. One individual with a good attitude can spread that positive attitude throughout a team. Even the most jaded, cynical salesperson can become more positive if ‘positivity’ is the culture. If you currently work in a dysfunctional sales organization, I strongly encourage you to make a real effort to change that culture, beginning with yourself. You still may end up leaving your company, but I know from personal experience that one person can make a difference.