Over the last 20 years, sales has changed completely. The buyer has control and more access to information than ever before. Sales professionals must be able to cut through the noise to bring the most relevant information to the table.
The days of the hard close are gone -- modern sales reps should focus on how we can always be helping.
But this is easier said than done. As we all know, a huge number of variables influence whether you’re consistently successful in sales. You need to speak with many prospects, understand their specific challenges, help create solutions for their goals, and master many more crucial skills.
To be a successful sales professional, you need to constantly improve your ability to solve tough problems. Your brain is the most important asset you have, so finding ways to improve your mental function is one of the best ways to increase your chances of success in sales.
Meditation is a great way to do this – it’s proven over time to be incredible at improving your mental capabilities and health. Just like the many professional athletes that practice meditation, sales professionals can also enjoy countless benefits of meditation.
If you’re looking to operate at peak performance, meditation will help you reach the top of your game so you can help your prospects more effectively and close more deals.
5 Benefits of Meditation for Sales Professionals
1) Slower reactions allow for improved critical thinking.
Many of the best athletes in the world use meditation as a key to success (Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Derek Jeter, Phil Jackson, Pete Carroll … the list goes on). A key tenet of meditation is to observe the thoughts going through your mind. As you become more aware of what is going through your mind, you can slow down and be in the present moment.
This will help you ask the best questions, come up with better ideas, and provide more thoughtful answers so every word you say is more valuable for your prospects. Doing so bolsters your expert status and builds trust and credibility.
2) Improved listening skills lead to better sales conversations.
When you slow down and take control of your mind, you train your mental muscles to effectively focus your attention. Just like physically working out, the more you exercise your mind, the more you will improve.
When you focus this attention on listening to prospects, you become a better active listener. Meditation is an incredible way to help you deepen your active listening skills so each minute on a call is spent gaining maximum understanding of your prospects’ needs.
3) Reduced stress leads to better health and more time selling.
Sales is an unbelievably stressful job. When it’s crunch time at the end of the month, quarter, or year, we need to be able to perform at our best, and too much stress can make it very hard to do so.
There have been countless studies showing that meditation reduces stress. The UMass Amherst Stress Reduction Clinic & Jon Kabat-Zinn created a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which has been shown to significantly reduce stress in patients with anything from arthritis, depression, cancer, HIV/AIDS, and many more ailments. This program is currently offered in over 200 medical centers and hospitals around the world to help patients bodies heal and work more effectively.
4) Better mental resilience helps reps bounce back after rejection.
A good salesperson may only be closing 30% of the opportunities in front of them. That means they are getting told “no” 70% of the time! That is a lot of rejection to handle and can be really tough, especially when you hit a cold streak.
Baseball has a lot of similarities to sales -- a great hitter succeeds 30% of the time. One way the St. Louis Cardinals train to be mentally tough is through mindfulness/meditation and visualization. This way, even if they experience a hard loss, players can bounce back for the next play. This mental resilience is what Daniel Pink calls to as buoyancy in his new ABCs of selling.
5) Meditation helps you empathize more effectively with your prospects.
Top sales reps have the ability to put themselves in their prospects’ shoes.
If you can more effectively empathize and understand your prospect’s goals and challenges, you can bring better solutions to the table. When you empathize with your prospect, you get better at solving for the customer and their needs, opposed to just solving for your quota. This will lead to better relationships, the ability to constructively challenge your prospects’ thinking, and increased focus on helping your prospects. Over time, that leads to more sales, more referrals and more success!
There are countless benefits of meditation that science is continually supporting with new studies. There are also many different ways to give meditation a try and find what works best for you. It takes some time to see the benefits, but studies have shown that after a week of as little as five to 10 minutes of daily meditation, there are benefits to brain functionality and growth of gray matter in the brain.
What can you do today to get started with meditation? Both Calm and Headspace are apps you can download on your phone that offer free and paid upgrades. You can also visit your Local Shambalah Center to get free, guided instruction from an expert. Finally, you can strike out on your own and explore the wide world of books on mindfulness so you can learn in the comfort of your own home.
Have you ever tried meditating to help improve sales peformance? Let us know in the comments below.
Originally published Apr 1, 2016 12:00:00 PM, updated July 28 2017