Have you ever set yourself a sales goal (e.g. I will make 20 sales calls a day), and then fail to meet it? It’s easy to beat yourself up for lacking willpower, but oftentimes it comes down to a lack of discipline. What’s the difference? I define willpower as the effort we use to take action, whereas discipline describes our good habits. The great news is that you only need to exert willpower for a limited time before it becomes a discipline. For example, making calls in my first sales role required enormous amounts of effort before it became an everyday habit. Today, I’d like to share with you three ways you can harness your willpower to build new disciplines. By following these steps, you will achieve more of your goals, constantly improve, and outperform your competition.
Regularly think about the future
We fail to achieve our goals because our natural instincts desire instant gratification. More often than not, we’d rather have pleasure now than suffer for future rewards. This is understandable but detrimental to long-term success and happiness.
You can counteract this fact by being more mindful. By re-visiting your goals once or twice a day, you bring future pleasure into the here-and-now. When we think about the choice between today’s enjoyment vs. future happiness, it becomes easier to make the right choice.
Focus on one new discipline at a time
There’s nothing more demoralising than setting multiple goals, only to fail at all of them. In sales there are numerous competencies you can improve on. From prospecting to closing, if you try to improve on all areas at once, you will be destined to mediocre returns on your efforts. Instead, choose just one area to work on. Be specific about what you’re going to change, and keep doing it until you have mastered it. Then you may move on to the next skill!
Try multiple strategies
Developing new habits can be extremely challenging. Patterson et al. in their book “Change Anything” described change like pushing a car uphill… With 6 burly men pushing the other way! It is for this reason that applying only one strategy to make change is seldom enough to break through. Put on your “scientist hat” and try several strategies at once. If one fails, don’t be disheartened – you have simply discovered one more way not to achieve your goal!
The payoffs for discipline in sales are enormous. The financial benefits and boost in self-esteem are just the beginning. To enjoy these benefits, you must regularly think about the future, focus on building one new discipline at a time, and use multiple strategies for building your new habits. By picking up one new good habit every few months, imagine what the exponential rewards will be over the span of your career!
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