Our emotions and feelings are changing all of the time based on our interpretation of events. Does this mean that even a sales superstar feels bad if they lose a big deal? Of course they do. They wouldn't be human if they didn't. It's natural for your feelings to fluctuate as you go about your business.
Take a moment and imagine a bad day selling on the phone. It's been awful. You've been cold calling for over 3 hours and you've had rejection after rejection after rejection. You've had enough and you're bored and disconsolate. How would you be sitting? Most people would be leaning forward, hunched up. Your head might be down, your breathing shallow. You'd be speaking quietly and your hand may well be partly covering your mouth. You'd probably be looking down too and your facial expression would be boredom. But I didn't have tell you any of that. You already know what physiology goes with a bad day on the phone or in any selling scenario.
The quickest way to change the way that you feel in any given moment is by changing your physiology. Physiology is your changing expression through your physical body ? how you breathe, stand, sit, walk, move, smile etc ? and it's hard wired to the way you feel. Your physiology and your feelings are so interconnected that you can use one to change the other and vice versa.
Imagine now the next call. You start off the same but as you do the client starts to take an interest. He's quite perky and positive. You sit up a bit and your head comes up. He starts to ask you questions and show a real interest. You sit right up, smile and start to fill your lungs. You smile again. Finally, he asks you to tell him more about your flagship product. You stand up, push your shoulders back and confidently start to tell him about the product. Did you consciously decide to make these physiological changes? No! Your mind and body just knew that these were necessary to deliver the right message. But what about the 20 calls before? Did those clients get the right message? Probably not?
Whilst we all know that changing our physiology changes the way that we feel we rarely take conscious control of it. In order to change our physiology it's essential that we are aware of all of the key elements that make up our physiology. As already mentioned they are ? breathing, posture, movement and facial expressions.
Breathing is an unconscious action. At least, I hope that it is! I wouldn't want you to get really busy and forget to breathe. Now that really would be a mistake! Obviously, breathing must be an unconscious task and that is a major positive for the human race however there is a negative side to this. Because breathing is unconscious we don't generally choose to focus on our breathing.
When we are stressed or angry or we face confrontation we tend to breathe faster and more shallowly. As you start to breathe faster this sends a message to your feelings and they intensify, so you start to breathe faster still and so on in a loop. Certainly this reaction might be perfect if you need to fight a wild animal but if you want to deal professionally with a client then maybe it's not so suitable. Learning when to stop, take a break and breathe more deeply can really help you to break your pattern both during difficult sales situations such as cold calling, negotiating and presenting.
Conversely, when you are bored and tired your breathing gets slower and deeper. This sends a message to your feelings and you start to breathe even deeper and so on in a loop. This does nothing to help you to feel or sound energised. Certainly, if you're not energised and dynamic when you're selling your product you can't expect the client to be. Learning to recognise when either your physiology or your emotions change and to change your breathing patterns will considerably increase your energy levels when selling.
If someone walked into the office slowly and with little movement how do you think they feel? Conversely, if someone strode into the office purposefully and with a bouncing gait how do you think they feel? Not hard to guess is it! We all know that movement changes the way we feel. If you've been sitting reading for a while tell me where your energy is at the moment on a scale of 1 to 10. Try getting up and moving around the room a bit. Stand up a sit down, do some moderate exercise (health permitting!) for a few seconds. Have your energy levels gone up? Do you feel more energised? Of course you do.
When I run coaching sessions I can usually tell who the positive members of the team are from the way that they walk across the car park on their way to work. I don't use this information as it could be misleading but it is usually spot on. People who do regular exercise know the value of movement for changing the way that they feel and for creating energy. As a sales person you need to use movement to control your emotions and to maximise your sales success.
I have recently become a very proud uncle. I haven't had the experience of being around babies before and it is very interesting for someone who is so intrigued by human potential and development. Liberty is nearly 4 months old and one of the areas of her development that has really interested me is watching her use her facial expressions. She seems to have been born with some of them but not others. Certainly, she could pull a screaming face straight away but smiling took a few weeks. I wonder if she knew how to smile already and just couldn't physically do it or whether she copied it. In any case, her facial expressions are now firmly hardwired to the way that she is feeling. How do I know? Because she never smiles and screams at the same time and she never coohs and pulls her pained face! Even at her age she doesn't make mistakes in this ? not any! In fact, if you can get her to smile or laugh when she's screaming she will stop screaming instantly and start cooing again!
Surely it's not that easy? Indeed it is! Think of the habitually miserable people in your organisation... do they smile all of the time? Nope. And if you now think of someone who you'd describe as positive and happy I'd like to guess that they smile quite a lot of the time. Would you go around with a friend who didn't smile at you ever? I doubt it. Taking time to be aware of your daily facial expressions is well worth the effort. Interestingly, many of the salespeople I work with are unaware that they don't smile that often and when they do this (silly) exercise they find themselves winning more new clients. Now isn't that strange.
Posture is the way that you sit and stand. Our posture says a lot about us. I first became aware of this through an old work colleague who was particularly negative and depressed. He always saw the bad side of everything. His shoulders were forward, his back not straight and his chin down all of the time. When he did telesales he would be hunched up like a weather beaten sack of spuds! When he visited clients he used to shuffle in like an old man. On the other end of the scale thing about how a sales superstar would sit and stand in similar situations.
Working with salespeople and telesales teams I often know immediately where they are through their physiology. Once I have built rapport with them one of the first things I do is change their physiology through exercises and games. Not only is this the quickest way to change the way that they feel but it supports the deeper changes that often need to be made.
Exercise: Physiology Benchmark
Think of the best telesales call that you've ever made. Remember it in as much detail as you can. Who were you speaking to? Why did you do such a good job? What was so great about it? Now imagine yourself making a call twice as good. Go on! I dare you! You can do it!
As you imagine this amazing call I want you to take the time to think about your physiology. In your logbook take the time to describe it in detail or draw a picture (go on ? have fun!). It's incredibly important that you benchmark this physiology so that you know what you are striving for.
Top 5 Tips for Maintaining a Positive Telesales Physiology
1. Put a mirror on your desk so that you can monitor your habitual facial expressions. I know, I know ? people are going to laugh at you! If you knew this would double your sales would you do it? Of course you would. So how much does it have to help before you do it and why do you care what average performers think anyway? Go get one!
2. Keep your head up. When you raise your head and eyes above the horizontal line you will feel much more empowered. Try it. When I work with telesales teams and individuals I often put a banner or a slogan on the wall about two feet above eye level. Make it motivational and make sure that it means something to you and your team. If you're a sales manager and you see a call start to go awry get the sales person to look up.
3. Stand up periodically when you are doing telesales, particularly at the start of calls. If you don't like talking on the phone and standing up try standing up between calls occasionally. Standing up changes your whole physiology. It also changes your ability to utilise your whole voice and it's whole range.
At the end of a live telesales training I was once running a coaching session where the delegates were ringing live contacts to set up appointments. One of the delegates was on a particularly strong call and was standing up. He was just coming to the point where he was going to close for the meeting and he would have got it. As he realised that this was coming up he pulled up his chair and sat down. As he did so, his whole physiology, tone and confidence fell. It was obvious to even a non-trained observer. He half-heartedly tried to close the client and the client objected. His head lowered and I could see the opportunity slipping away.
The client was getting into objection mode and was really questioning the validity of having a meeting. I snapped my fingers above and to the front of the sales person's face to break his pattern and get his attention. As he looked up, I gestured at him to stand up and as he did so I moved his chair away so he had to continue his call standing. His physiology changed again, he rapidly took control of the call and he set the appointment.
Results may not be quite so dramatic and obvious for you but they will be there!
4. Wear a headset. I heard your cry of horror so I'll repeat it, wear a headset. Don't make excuses, try it. If you're thinking anything about it being uncomfortable, unnatural or weird I will repeat myself again. Wear a headset. I have always recommended the wearing of headsets and it always seems to have been in the top 5 most debated pieces of advice I give! I think this is because we are all conditioned to pick up the phone and it seems unnatural to not do so. Until wearing a headset feels natural you haven't yet experienced the benefits of using a headset. I guarantee that if you try it for long enough it will feel natural and it will improve your calls.
If you think about it for a moment it's obvious why wearing a headset will improve both your feelings and physiology and the quality of the call. It's because it frees you up to move and act naturally. You get totally into the call without this little plastic barrier wedged up against your ear.
Another spin off benefit of wearing a headset is that in my experience your call rate will go up by as much as 20%!
5. Make cold calling sessions a maximum of 45 minutes long! You weren't expecting that were you! I believe cold calling and telesales is something that you should perform at 100% and to do this you need to work in concentrated bursts. Now don't get me wrong, I agree that telesales is a numbers game however you can also explode your performance by making more impactful calls. 100 useless calls is no better than 50 useless ones! Neither are satisfactory. Far better that you make a good number of powerful calls.
As an individual or a team leader what you need to do is have a 2 minute session to set mini-objectives for your telesales session. Then you focus 100% on the sessions for 45 minutes. You don't send out literature, take incoming calls, talk to your neighbour or get disturbed. You ring clients. At the end of the session you have a quick 2 minute session to measure your performance, take a short break and then decide what to do next.
I sometimes work with clients who "say" that there is no way they could endorse this as their salespeople cold call all day. When we run these high intensity sessions I prove time and time again that most sales people do more in 45 minutes than they normally do in a whole day! In any case, there is nothing stopping the trained professional who has run several empowered sessions and who can stay focused for the whole 45 minutes to run several sessions in a day. The key is to focus on staying at high intensity for the whole of the 45 minutes. I would always prefer that my teams ran two of these at this level in a day than they spent the whole day cruising at 50%.
Note: In my experience very few people make anything like 45 minutes worth of high intensity, cold calls each and every day.
For the last 10 years, Gavin Ingham has been helping sales people to explode their sales performance by turning self-doubt, fear and lack of motivation into self-belief, confidence and action. With his inspirational approach to sales performance and motivation Gavin combines commercial experience, personal excellence and communications technologies in delivering personal and business sales success.
For a free 9-part objection handling course, more articles, free downloads and to join Gavin's newsletter visit http://www.gaviningham.net now.