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Give me 3 hours deep sales work…

Give me 3 hours deep sales work…

A number of years ago when I was living in Belfast, I took to walking the streets of the city in the early morning.

10,000 steps and a podcast.

At the time I was listening to Michael Gervais, sports psyche with the Seattle Seahawks and host of Finding Mastery.

One Sunday I got engrossed in his conversation with Angela Duckworth who was on the circuit promoting her book GRIT.

I made a comment on Twitter @ing both, telling them that I was listening to the show from Belfast. (A pretty innocent but egocentric thing to do on reflection.)

In a flash I got a message back from Angela, asking “How’s the Tayto?”

Turned out she had studied or lectured at Queens. Michael messaged back a response.

The power of social media.

In his podcast Gervais talks often about ‘flow’ state and I remember them both referencing a psychologist who’s name I couldn’t begin to spell – Mickey Check-me-hi – not even close phonetically….Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi – who had uncovered this thing called ‘flow’

“Flow” the psychological state characterised by complete absorption in an activity, where individuals are fully immersed and focused on what they are doing.

Flow – or being in the zone – can occur in a wide range of activities, including sports, creative pursuits such as painting or writing, and even everyday tasks such as cooking or gardening.

It is often considered a state of optimal experience, where individuals feel their skills are perfectly matched to the challenges they face, leading to a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction.

Flow follows focus, says Steven Kotler who references Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi often in his work.

Individuals in a state of flow are deeply concentrated on the task at hand, often losing track of time and becoming unaware of distractions.

In flow people feel a sense of control and are fully engaged in the activity and experience, loosing themselves in the process – often associated with creativity, it can happen in business too.

In a state of flow, time is irrelevant because those involved are having too much fun.

That can happen in sales too.

Conditions and environment need to be close to an optimal level too and there needs to be a clear sense of direction framed around achievable goals.

Plenty of resources to access on flow and its worthy of doing it if you have a team on your hands and your trying to improve their performance.

Not what every MD might want to hear but in exchange for some deep sales work – let’s say 3 hours of intense proactive sales – I would give the sales executive the rest of the day off.

The truth is that trade of is usually safe for a number of reasons:

1. Deep work needs discipline of the highest order. It needs unwavering focus. Emotionally the person needs to be able to get in the zone.
Preparation is critical.

Most average sales people will struggle with some or all of the above, most of the time.

2. When someone gets into flow state or the zone in sales, they tend to not want to stop – their output will be too fruitful and they most likely will enjoy it too much and so it ends up as a win/win for everyone.

According to the authors mentioned already, it is possible to switch flow on and off but to get good at it, one needs to practice.

A lot.

Outbound selling already involves a lot of repetitive actions but its getting everything aligned – physically and emotionally.

Preparation – get your shit together. Find a ‘sacred space’ where you can work, clear your desk. Water up.

Clock it – get an alarm clock, measure out increments that work for you. Chunk 45 mins or 90 mins.

Be data ready – work of a list that has all the information you need. Without that, you stop and start all day long.

Ignore everything else – shut down your email. Don’t take any inbound calls, from anyone.

Clarity – set a clear intention for the session, what you want from it and what you need to do to make it happen.

Be mindful – like they all say, try a bit of mindfulness to clear your head and to allow for some crystal-clear focus.

Let me know how you get on.





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