Mind Over Mouth – Scott’s Sales Yoga Thought for the Day

“You know what we need? A 12-step group for non-stop talkers. We’re going to call it ‘On and On Anon.” – comedian Paula Poundstone

Like a hypnotist having his way with a member of the audience, I watched Carlos, a thirty-something salesman from Kansas, woo a buyer into saying “yes” in a matter of minutes. But he didn’t stop there. Carlos kept talking, and in the next five minutes talked the buyer right out of buying. He went from something being just a possibility to becoming a “yes” to degrading to a “no”, all in just seven minutes time. That’s skill!

The gift for gab, the “skill” that Carlos used to enroll and then repel the buyer, is the nemesis of many a salesperson. He, like most others armed with this ability, came fully equipped with this trait from the “factory.” As his default operating system, he, like most other salespeople, was doing what he was built to do.

Just like computers need a software upgrade, so do people who sell. That’s where Mind Over Mouth comes in. This “software patch” leverages habit changing mechanisms to overwrite our natural tendencies to take way too long and use too many words to get across what needs to be said. Mind Over Mouth is not about using your “will” to force yourself to stop talking so much. It’s about using your “want” to facilitate yourself to start listening more.

Here are some questions that will help you create a plan of action to engage Mind Over Mouth. Ask yourself:

  1. What was a time I successfully changed a habit? Did I stop smoking? Stop showing up late? Stop ordering dessert at restaurants?
  2. What was the key to my success? What did I do that helped me keep my commitment to myself to turn over a new leaf and do things differently?
  3. How did I motivate myself? What rewards did I promise myself?

In the long term, we respond better to rewards than recriminations. Praise works better than punishment. By having a tangible way to measure and celebrate your progress, you can give yourself an incentive to overcome a life-long habit.


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