Maintaining a kick-ass sales performance isn’t easy.
Unlike most jobs, sales is high pressure, high risk, and high reward. As a sales rep, you’re like the special forces of the corporate world; able to adapt to any situation, quick on your feet, and as smooth as a fish underwater when under pressure.
But despite being ready for any challenge that may hurl itself at you, sometimes you can’t help but feel like a sales sloth.
For whatever reason, your energy fizzles down, your confidence isn’t exactly sky-high, and your brain feels cloudy and congested. Resulting in a sales performance that fails to hook attention, nurture interest, and more importantly…close.
Today’s article will help lift you out of that downward spiral and boost your closing rate.
We’ll explore 6 mind & body hacks – based on psychology, nutrition, and science – that will immediately improve your sales performance.
1. Feeling Stressed In The Office? Suck Your Thumb
There’s a plethora of ways to reduce stress.
Getting a massage, undergoing acupuncture, listening to music etc. But what if you’re feeling the heat in the middle of a meeting?
Maybe something personal has come up, or you’re dealing with a harsh prospect and you need to lighten your mood.
Regardless of the reason, you need to do something quickly. You can’t just sprint out the office.
Thumb sucking to the rescue! (seriously, it works).
Research shows blocking your mouth with your thumb and exhaling stimulates your vagus nerve, which is spread throughout your body. Stimulation of the vagus nerve reduces your heart rate and blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed.
Now, if you’re thinking “That’s cool, but who wants to be the weirdo sucking their thumb while everyone stares in disbelief?”, don’t fret. You can also secretly stimulate the vagus nerve by blowing cool air on your thumb.
2. Leave A Lasting Impression On Prospects With Storytelling
“Humans are not ideally set up to understand logic; they are ideally set up to understand stories.” Roger C. Schank
Remember Aesop’s fables?
The Lion and the Mouse. The Scorpion and the Frog. The Hare and the Tortoise…
Now imagine if instead of being told the fables, some boring old sod simply recited the morals behind them, and said:
- Small friends can help you in life
- People can’t change their nature
- Slow and steady wins the race
His wise (but boring) words would be forgotten in an instant.
But they weren’t, because they were cleverly wrapped in a meaningful story that made them more memorable.
Stories pack a hefty emotional punch that makes them more “mentally sticky” than plain facts and statements. Which is why they’re great for cranking your sales performance up a notch.
Research shows that:
- People base their buying decisions primarily on personal feelings and experiences rather than facts, features and attributes.
- 95% of brain activity happens outside our conscious brain and inside our subconscious, emotional brain.
- When it comes to buying products, the emotional response to an ad is one of the greatest influencers.
Also, a Princeton University study found when telling a story; speakers and listeners had similar brain activity and emotions.
Now, this doesn’t mean you should narrate your life story to prospects. But to boost your overall selling power, infuse storytelling into your sales activities when possible.
One incredibly easy way to weave storytelling into your selling is to simply mention more case studies and testimonials in your pitches and meetings. Instead of relying only on facts, figures, and statistics about what you’re selling, tell a story of how X customer overcame X problem using your product.
When doing this, be sure to emphasize the burning problem at the beginning, the solution – what you’re selling, and the happy ending – how your product helped fix a problem.
Even if you’re in general conversation with a client, storytelling helps you appeal to their logical and emotional side and make a stronger impression, instantly boosting your selling power.
3. Sharpen Your Sales Brain With A Little Cinnamon
Several studies have shown that the invigorating scent of cinnamon oil provides a boost in brain power that increases energy, focus, and alertness.
And the best thing about it?
You don’t need to snort it through dollar bills to get the benefit, all it takes is a strong whiff to kick your brain into gear.
4. Filter Your Inbox Choices For Better Judgement
A famous New York Times case study tested the influence of multiple choices on decisions.The test was carried out on two different Saturdays and had some interesting results.
The first Saturday, 24 different flavours of jam were given. The next Saturday, only 6 different flavours were offered.
On the day with 24 different flavours, only 3% of people actually bought anything.
On the day with 6 flavours, however, 30% of people made purchases. This resulted a massive 600% more jam sold.
This is known as the paradox of choice, which states that: When a high number of choices and options are given, it’s harder for the brain to make a decision – and easier to be paralyzed by the potential choices.
Basically, juggling too many options can harm your ability to make choices.
And as a sales rep, you’re going to be wading through a ton of email on a day-to-day basis. Making it hard to keep track of what’s going on.
What messages are most urgent? Which ones can be responded to later? And who do you need to follow up with?
If you’re bombarded with messages, it’s going to impact your ability to decide who to respond to, and is likely to burden you with unnecessary stress, as shown by the study above.
So what can you do to combat this?
Split up your inbox.
By using multiple inboxes in Gmail, you have free reign over how you categorize your messages. You’ll never have to worry about who you should reply to, and you’ll prevent prospects from slipping through through the cracks.
5. Chew Gum To Charge Up Your Brain
Yes, chewing gum can aid your sales performance.
By temporarily boosting your cognitive abilities.
A recent study by St. Lawrence University tested if chewing gum really does impact brain power. In the study, 159 students were given an onslaught of demanding cognitive tasks, such as repeating random numbers backward and solving difficult logic puzzles.
50% of the subjects chewed gum, the other half were given nothing. Here comes the shocking part: gum-chewing subjects seriously outperformed those in the control condition on five out of six tests.
Unfortunately, you can’t experience chewing-enhanced brain power all day. While the benefits of chewing gum have been proven repeatedly, the same study revealed the positive effects only last for 20 minutes.
After the 20 minute mark, gum chewers are on equal mental footing as non-chewers.
So it’s best to chew gum before:
- An important presentation
- Going out to meet a client with a problem
- Pitching a lead
6. Inject More Energy And Vigor Into Yourself With These 2 Minute Poses
Almost everyone will yammer on about the power of “body language”, but just how powerful is it? And how can it enhance your selling performance?
It all starts with a basic understand of our hormones. Higher levels of testosterone – in both men and women – lead to higher levels of confidence and happiness. And lower levels of cortisol (stress hormone) lead to a stronger ability to deal with stress and pressure.
So, providing that you have the right dose of the above hormones, you’ll be biologically programmed to be more confident, assertive and relaxed. And better equipped to manage stress and tackle high pressure situations. To put it simply: well-balanced hormone levels increase confidence and decrease stress and pressure.
And the interesting thing about testosterone and cortisol is that they are sensitive to your surrounding physical, social, and environmental cues.
Which means if you provide your body the right physical cues, you will be able to elevate your confidence, and enhance your stress tolerance, “at will”.
Fortunately, Amy cuddy – a body language and hormone scientist, has broken down these physical cues into “power poses”.
High power poses are more relaxed, dominant and slightly assertive. While low power poses are guarded and withdrawn.
Cuddy asked subjects to maintain each pose for 2 minutes, and measured their testosterone and cortisol levels. Her results were shocking. High power poses increased testosterone by 20% and dropped cortisol levels by 25%.
Which means you can boost your sales performance in 2 mins by simply adjusting your body.
Before giving a pitch or talking on the phone with a prospect, give the above power postures a try.
To make the most out of this hack, start by being more aware of your body language. Look at your colleagues, does their body language radiate confidence and vigor? Or limpness and desperation?
Over time, you’ll become more sensitive to body language, which means you’ll be primed to read your prospects better and you’ll know when you need a power pose boost yourself.
Sure, skills, technique and knowledge play an important role in improving your sales performance. And becoming a kick-ass sales ninja won’t happen overnight. But sometimes, a quick hack or two can nudge the odds in your favour and help you close.