Charles Duhigg - The Thinking Guy
New York Times bestselling author of the Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better.
Raise your hand if you wrote "Can multitask effectively" on your resume. Now raise your hand again if at that same job you were applying for you were asked to list one of your skills and you talked about being good at multitasking and working quickly. I know I would raise my hand. Unfortunately, it's not quite the norm yet to brag about being good at thinking deeply, thinking differently or focusing productively.
What if Duhigg told you that instead of trying to multitask all the time, we should try instead to establish a "contemplative routine." That means that if we can think more in-depth about our goals, then we can act more effectively on actually accomplishing them. How would you do that in automotive sales? Instead of making a to-do list with tasks such as; call Joe Blow back or email Bobs' vehicle specs, you can make a list that makes you think about your priorities. The list would have your most important goals at the top. This list might include things like; become best sales rep to all my customers, or have a bigger online presence. Then you can refer to this list regularly and ask yourself if what you are doing daily is helping you get to your goal.
Visualization techniques are used by athletes when preparing for games to improve their focus. If I can visualize a presentation I'm about to give in my mind and create a "mental model" of how the meeting will pan out; then I can filter through the "reactions" and instead prepare myself for the unexpected. During his talk, Duhigg had the conference at the edge of our seats as he told the story of the Quantas Flight 32 from Singapore to Sydney a few years ago. The short version is that "an explosion disabled an engine and blew a hole in a wing. But before they took off, the crew had been drilled on how to respond to emergencies (in part because the chief pilot was being reviewed on the flight) and when the situation became too intense, the lead pilot was able to create a new mental model—What if I was flying a Cessna instead of jet?—that allowed him to simplify what he needed to do and focus on landing the plane safely." (- selection from http://qz.com/631869) Thinking differently allowed the pilot to be more aware. He was able to rely on his mental model or story to mute out the background noise and focus on landing the plane.
If you can create a mental model of your sales pitch or your walk around, then you can mentally prepare yourself for you what may happen. “If you want to do a better job of paying attention to what matters, ” Duhigg wrote, “narrate your life as it’s occurring.” - http://qz.com/631869
Think juxtaposition of cliches.
Why do we think we need to invent a new idea, or concept to be great? Why not take an existing idea from one area and insert it into a new area. Duhigg used the example of Westside Stories, and how the "Choreographer Jerome Robbins found that taking proven, conventional ideas from other settings and combining them in new ways was incredibly effective to spark creative success. Most original ideas evolve from existing concepts. Anyone can become more creative by learning how to foster novelty by juxtaposing what you may already know. " - Duhigg Facebook post April 5, 2016. Think about taking what is familiar to you and mixing it with the unfamiliar. Your sales process may be a good place to start. It's familiar to you, and could perhaps use a little something-something to make it more memorable for your customer. Think about it step by step;
-Your phone and email etiquette
-Your vehicle walk around
-Your payment presentation
-Your closing statements
-Your follow up
How can you take something that's been done before, and make it new? Can you change your follow up? How about sending a video of you sitting in the car your customer just test drove as a follow up rather than the typical email or phone call?
We are more likely to be self-motivated if we feel in control. Hallelujah! Attention GMs - If you allow an environment for your sales team to feel safe when taking risks, then you are allowing your team to feel in control, and take more initiative. I understand that this may be challenging in an environment where there is hierarchy and that some may be curious to take advantage of the privilege. However, the reality is that companies like Google, spend fortunes on research to improve their team productivity, and the data shows that motivation e-x-p-a-n-d-s when people feel in control. I find this beyond fascinating! It makes perfect sense! You want results from your sales team without spending too much money, right? Give your team a little bit of wiggle room in their sales process, by encouraging them to think of something new and different to implement. Get them excited about suggesting that they can be as creative as they want. Make it a challenge for the competitive ones in the group. Make it a team activity for the ones who like to lead and the ones who like to follow. Share the new ideas as a group. Narrow it down to the three best ideas. Develop on these ideas. Implement a couple. You may have just come up with a new way to reach out to your customers while team building and letting your sales reps know that their opinions matter. This in turn will make them feel in control and motivated to try harder.
Check out Charles Duhiggs' website and follow him on Twitter for more interesting videos and articles.