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Most people don’t believe me when I tell them it’s super-easy to increase their sales IQ. But first, you must stop doing this one thing.

The hidden IQ killer

Harold Pashler, a University of California psychologist, studies dual-task interference (what happens when you try to do two things at the same time). The results are devastating. Your brain is simply incapable of doing two things at once and furiously jumps back and forth in an effort to think about two things concurrently.

But instead of succeeding, your brain ends up paying less attention to both tasks. Pashler’s study showed that dual-task interference can cause a person’s intellectual capacity to drop from the equivalent of a Harvard MBA to that of an eight-year-old!

As humans, we’re simply not equipped to multitask. We need to focus on one thing at a time. 

Let’s take a common sales example: talking to a prospective client. And let’s just say that this prospect could turn out to be a really good opportunity for you. How much time do you spend prepping for this conversation? 10 minutes? More? Less?

Do you know how you’ll start out and what you’ll say in the first five minutes? Do you write down the questions you want to ask and the ideal sequence for them? Have you thought about what you’d suggest as a logical next step?

If you’re like most salespeople, you haven’t done these things. You figure you’re pretty glib. And besides, you tell yourself, each prospect is different, so you want to be adaptable and go with the flow. Big mistake. You have placed yourself smack dab in the middle of the dual-task interference trap.

It’s a trap!

Now you’re in a bit of a panic, trying to think about what you’ll say or do next. Then, because you’re panicking while your prospect is talking, you miss all sorts of valuable information that could help you better position your offering.

This leads to muddled thinking; you have fewer relevant ideas or insights to share and your strategies get lamer. You actually become dumber. Now you’re thinking like an eight-year-old instead of the brilliant salesperson you really are. 

Don’t do this to yourself. Prep for sales conversations ahead of time. Then, when you’re actually talking (and listening), you’ll be at full strength. Yes, it takes longer, but the results will be so much better. I guarantee it!

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