Over-reliance on logic and techniques can be a bit too much effort, in sales, especially when you’ve got access to vast unlimited potential. Today you’ll learn one of the most powerful ways to improve sales performance I’ve ever come across.
The secret of elite athletes
In a famous study by psychologist Alan Richardson, he asked team A to practise shooting basketball hoops for 20 minutes everyday. Team B were not allowed to step on a court or hold a basketball,; instead, they were directed to visualise themselves shooting hoops for 20 minutes everyday. And then there was Team C, the control group, who were asked to not practise at all.
After twenty days Richardson measured their improvement. Team A improved by 24%, team C didn’t show any improvement and Team B – the visualisers – improved by 23%, nearly as well as the first group!
When I heard Jack Nicklaus and Michael Phelps used this method, I had a go while playing Top Golf in Austin. After a practise swing, I swung at the ball. It completely missed the area I was targeting. The second time, I visualised for about five seconds. In my mind’s eye I saw the ball land in the circle. I swung at the ball and it landed exactly where I aimed. Using the visualisation technique, I managed to hit the ball in the desired circle, 18 times in a row.
I tried to apply this to running. Before a 5k run, I visualised finishing in 24 minutes and 46 seconds. I imagined myself looking at my watch and feeling the thrill of achieving that time. While running, I didn’t look at the time, just the distance. When I stopped my watch at the 5k mark, can you guess what it read? 24 minutes and 46 seconds!
The science behind it
Our brain doesn’t know the difference between reality and imagination. In experiments similar to the basketball one, fMRI brain imaging shows your thoughts produce the same mental instructions as if you were executing the actions.
Think about it. When you’re anxious about something you think might happen; your heart palpitates, your palms sweat and your stomach ties itself in knots, right? Nothing bad has actually happened. Yet your thoughts trigger the same bodily functions as if the terrible thing had happened
It works in business: improve sales performance
When I saw how beautifully this visualisation process worked in sporting activities, I tried to adapt it to my business and life.
I arrived 20 minutes early for a client meeting. After grabbing a juice in a nearby Starbucks, I tucked myself in the basement for some privacy. I sat there and visualised the perfect meeting unfold. I saw the client greeting me, talking enthusiastically and leaning forward intently as I spoke. At the end of the visualised meeting, we shook hands and the decision maker said, “yes, send me a proposal so we can move on this.”
The meeting went as visualised. This prospect became my first client for my second startup venture!
… and life
I used this same method to find our dream home. For months, my partner and I visualised living on a tree-lined street, a stone’s throw from the park, surrounded by nature. On our runs there was particular road I liked and while running past it, I visualised us living there. I visualised day and night for three months.
While going through the move, I stopped visualising and forgot all about it. In our new home, boxes all around us, I threw on my running shoes to go on my first run. As I walked down the street toward the park, I realised I was on the exact same road I’d visualised for three months! I lived on the street I had wanted, on a tree-lined street surrounded by green, five minutes from the park.
Use the force
Your turn to improve your sales performance using the secret of elite athletes.
Before a meeting or a call, give yourself five minutes to visualise the perfect outcome. See yourself sitting in the meeting room, your prospects talking enthusiastically. Always see it through until the end. As you visualise, feel the emotion of a successful meeting. The clip you run in your head is faster than what happens in real life, so five minutes is more than enough to visualise a half hour meeting.
Then come back and tell me in the comments how you got on!