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Old habits die hard

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You really want to stop procrastinating, turn off the distractions and do the work of opening new relationships — “prospecting,” if you prefer. And then you catch yourself (again) with your inbox and browser open, your attention somewhere else.

You want to stop trying to go too fast for your dream clients. You know you need to slow down and stay true to the process that works both for you and for them. But there you go again, pitching a solution before your dream client has even finished his thought.

Your dream client asks you if you can do better on your price. Before you’ve even processed the question, “I’ll ask my sales manager what we can do here and get back with you” comes rolling out of your mouth. You know you need to reiterate the value you create, and you know that caring about your clients means helping them invest in the solutions they need.

Old bad habits die hard. Like gravity, it takes an extraordinary amount of effort and energy to break free of their pull. But there is an upside to the fact that old habits die hard. Old good habits are equally hard to kill.

The first time you close your browser and concentrate on developing new relationships, it’s difficult, no question about it. Honestly, it’s difficult for a few months. But then it becomes a habit and comes more easily.

The more you follow your sales process, asking for and obtaining the commitments you need, the easier it becomes. You become more effective at obtaining those commitments. And soon, there’s another old habit.

The more you practice pausing for eight beats after your dream client is done speaking, the easier it becomes to slow down your attempt to solve her problem right there on the spot. When you do this, you discover that your dream client really wasn’t done speaking, and that deeper, more important and more interesting thoughts were just finding their way to the surface.

We’re all creatures of habit. But you can choose good habits instead of allowing bad habits to control you.

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S. Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go http://thesalesblog.com/s-anthony-iannarino/