Most of us are familiar with the saying “old habits die hard”.
It's true. You're so used to driving the same route to work every day that you run a new stop sign because there was never one there before. You mindlessly surf the Internet just because it's what you do. You hum aloud or whistle and never notice even though it drives your co-workers nuts.
Habits are acquired behaviors that we repeat so many times that they become almost instinctive. They can form in a relatively short period time but they require a lot of effort to break. That's great if the habits are beneficial for you and the people around you.
The National Institutes of Health, which has done extensive research on habits, say they are a normal, often beneficial part of everyday life. Because habits are spontaneous and instinctive, they allow our busy brains to focus on other things. That's why you can walk down a corridor sipping coffee while discussing next month's sales projections with the general manager.
Good habits can contribute to a collegial, cooperative, and productive atmosphere. But conversely, bad habits can be destructive. They damage relationships and limit workplace and personal possibilities. They can undermine the cohesiveness and, ultimately, the success of a sales team.
As much as we hate to admit it, just about all of us have at least one bad habit (probably more), whether we notice or not. Recognizing our bad habits and understanding how they are triggered are the first steps in overcoming them. Eventual success requires a dual track of introducing good habits while dispensing with the bad.
“It's not enough to teach good new habits without helping people recognize how what they are currently doing might not be the best approach,” says Robert Naylor, a professional development and performance coach based in Jersey City, N.J. “Taking this two-fold approach makes it easier to orient behavior toward positive long-term goals.”
It also shortens the time required to create the kind of positive behaviors that can help salespeople communicate better and solve more problems for customers, resulting in more transactions.
Molloy Business Development Group specializes in doing this by observing behaviors and providing tangible data that helps sales people and their managers recognize and understand the behaviors that are already in place as well as what's lacking. They outline for managers and owners the habitual, recurrent sales conversations that drive the business, and verify the closing percentages that result from those behaviors. In the tire business, for instance, those automatic habitual conversations produce a closing percentage of about 30 percent. That means the salespeople are operating automatically. This is an example of how bad habits have transferred into a negative, yet instinctive way of doing things. Now is the time – for the health of your business – to break bad!