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The news has been awash recently with the fantastic exploits of sports superstars, with Andy Murray winning the men’s singles at Wimbledon, the English Cricket team winning the Ashes again and our record breaking tally of medals at the 2012 Olympics. All of these superb sportsmen and women are highly motivated and have built up their skills, endurance and capabilities over many years of hard work, to help them reach the top of their respective games. But so have all of their competitors! So what is it that gets them to the top that makes them super-stars?
Given that all top level sportsmen and women are already highly motivated, there are two more significant factors that come to play; resilience and the ability to deal effectively with pressure. Whilst top sports people such as Murray use a Sports Psychologists who work with them to develop the ‘inner game’ very often sales people receive little or no help in these critical areas, despite sales being a very competitive occupation, often with high levels of stress suffered . Yet without the ability to keep bouncing back and keep going under intense pressure, better than the competition, consistent sales success is very unlikely.
What does it take to be a sales superstar?
Having identified the importance of these factors, we have been working with sales forces to see if it is possible to systematically help their sales teams become more resilient and better able to deal with pressure, to help them boost sales results.
Sales Motivation have developed a unique cognitive behavioural self-coaching learning system that builds motivation, resilience, and ability to deal with pressure and as a result, sales performance. The program has also been selected as a finalist in the ABP Workforce Experience Awards for Excellence in Training and Excellence in Performance Improvement.
The core concept is that everybody can learn, through specific researched and proven techniques, to take more control over what they think, how they feel, and how they subsequently behave in challenging situations, establishing more helpful habits in the process.
Computerised cognitive behavioural therapy has already been shown to be as effective as face to face therapy, at a fraction of the cost and we wanted to see if the same approach could be used with cognitive behavioural coaching, for performance development.
The program, called Sales-Motivations, is used on a ‘drip-feed’ basis over a period of six weeks, which gives lots of opportunities to try out then practise the techniques on normal day to day selling activities. It can be delivered either as face-to-face workshops, advanced e-learning, or a combination of these approaches. The e-learning is fully interactive, has over 40 videos, lots of quizzes and on-line activities. Including the exercises the program is equivalent to two days training, but is used over a period of at least six weeks.
Users learn how to capture details about their thoughts, feelings and behaviour around challenging sales situations, followed by learning how identify any common unhelpful thinking patterns that are getting in the way of them achieving their goals. One very common unhelpful thinking pattern is known as ‘catastrophising’, where a relatively small set back is interpreted as a sign that everything is going wrong and that things will spiral out of control. This might, for example, be along the lines of;
A prospective client not responding as quickly as usual to emails or phone calls, then:
- Thinking that you are being deliberately ignored, then
- Thinking that the prospective client must be spending time with a competitor instead then
- Feeling and believing that that they plan to give the business to the competitor instead of to us, then
- Losing confidence and motivation to keep working to win the deal interest, then
- Giving up and the competitor winning it because you’ve backed off and are working on something else instead.
Being able to recognise these unhelpful thinking patterns, knowing what to do to break them and replace them with more helpful thinking patterns is very powerful and usually results in greater sales success.
We have been able to run two controlled trials with the program and have achieved significant results – come along on Tuesday 20th May to find out more, or if you can’t make it and would like a summary of results, just get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Bryan McCrae is a Sales Psychologist, helping individuals and organisations rapidly improve their sales and marketing results. Following a personal award winning track record in sales and sales management spanning almost twenty years, he founded Sales-Motivations to help organisations improve sales performance.
Hear Bryan speak
If you’ve enjoyed this article and would like to hear more about computerised behavioural coaching for sales performance, Bryan will be speaking speaking at the ABP’s April London Local Event on Tuesday 20th May 2014, 6-8pm, University of Westminster.
To book or find out more about this event click here.