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Practice Management > Building Your Business

Be in The Zone, even when you're not

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In our conversations so far, we have been building a true “master” of the art of selling from the bottom up. As we examine closely the psychology and behavior of the sales person who is committed to excellence, we see that they tend to play a kind of “inner game” with himself.

This “inner game” is expressed on the outside as presence, charisma or a powerful personality that moves and inspires people. On the inside we would discover certain fundamental rules at play. The “master” sales person has an intense ability to focus. They have developed the art of attention. This laser-like ability to focus is not motivational or esoteric, it is entirely practical. It is as simple as noticing how much is going on for you even as you are reading this article. Are you intensely focused or are other things (inside or outside of you) pulling at your attention?

What allows such a person to put their attention to powerful use is that it is directed by a deep seeded goal. Most of us would guess that this goal is simply a desire to win. However, what the best people I have worked with exhibit is more like the thrill of the hunt. They actually enjoy the process of selling and the positive experience of serving their clients.

When a person is aligned on the inside with themselves and their purpose, their actions take the effect of a declaration. Let me give you a way to see this as you go about your day-to-day interactions. Look for someone who you feel is very conflicted or at odds with themselves. What had you pick them? What do you see about them that gives you the sense of this inner chaos? What you are picking up are subtle telltale signs of a person’s incongruence.

Now look for the person you interact with today who you experience as the most charismatic. Notice how congruent they are; that when they speak their unconscious head nod shows that they believe in what they are saying. Notice that they do not fidget or exhibit any unnecessary distracting unconscious behaviors.

It is as if the combination of mental clarity and emotional commitment shows up as integrity in their actions, as alignment between their thoughts, feelings and deeds. Often this is something that they have earned through hard work, personal sacrifice and at times personal denial.

Take this exercise and make it even more practical and personal. Ask people who know you to identify when you seem to be most confident and committed about something. What differences do they notice in how you move, act, or speak? What differences can you notice about your speech pattern and word choice?

To help the person, and to give yourself more information by contrast, ask at least five people close to you, “how do I act when I am not fully committed to something?” Ask them, “how can you tell when I am just going through the motions, or not really engaged? What do you notice about my voice, facial expression, gestures, word choices or demeanor?”

The key is that on the days or in the moments when you do not feel the full force and power of your conviction, when you are not in the “zone” it is possible to create this by accessing those same behaviors that people notice about you when you are fully aligned.

Now you might say faking it in this way is not genuine. You are right – it is called practice. What all great players do is practice, regardless of whether they are in the mood or not. This is the hallmark of every true champion.

Now you may be wondering, “okay, but how do I practice?” This is exactly the question you want to have, and next month’s column will show you how to master the art of practice.


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