I have a friend who’s attentive, asks great questions, and always makes me feel important. She’s an amazing listener. I think about her often when I find myself intentionally trying to be a better listener. A little voice says, “What would Leah do?” in the back of my mind.
That may sound strange since (as a coach) I listen to people for a living. But like most salespeople, I love talking! For most of us, listening takes a lot of practice.
That’s why I’ve created a whole set of rules and guidelines for myself so that I’m always working to become a better listener.
I was recently the guest speaker at a 7:00 am business breakfast at a women’s conference about 90 minutes from my house. That made for an early morning – even for me. It was a cold, rainy day and Shane wasn’t up to give his normal cheerful send-off. Not the start of a great day.
When I got there, I went to the restroom to pump myself up. While washing my hands, I thought, “what a perfect day to stay in bed in my pajamas and watch a movie.” Just then, a woman came out of another stall. Our eyes met in the mirror and I smiled.
“It’s gonna be a great day!” I said.
She sheepishly smiled back at me and said, “Yes. I guess it could be.” I didn’t know it at the time, but that little exchange made a big difference in her day.
If you’re in sales, public speaking skills matter. Now, if you do your selling one-on-one, you may think this doesn’t apply to you. But we’re always presenting, even if we’re selling to just one person. Besides, at some point you’ll need to lead a meeting, accept an award, or give a presentation.
When I was 20, I had to give a speech to an audience of 3,000. I thought I was prepared (I wasn’t) and that my speech was fully memorized (it wasn’t). Suddenly, 5 minutes in, I went absolutely blank. I still remember it vividly: a pounding heart, two sweaty palms, and a sea of blank faces. After the event, I vowed to never step on stage again.
A few years ago, Shane and I started living a more minimalistic lifestyle. While it started with our home life, I’ve been able to see huge improvements at work, too. It’s amazing how much you can boost your productivity and simplify your workday when you eliminate non-essentials and create no-brainers.
A no-brainer is a decision that’s so easy and automatic you don’t waste any time thinking about it. You just do it. We create no-brainers when we set up simple systems or delegate tasks to make our day easier.
Here’s a few no-brainers I’ve implemented to boost my own productivity:
I often tell my coaching clients there’s only one way to get over call reluctance or master their sales pitch: you have to write it down and put some deliberate practice into it. If you want to get good at something – anything – you have to do it over and over again. Makes perfect sense, right?
Pretty much everyone agrees with all of this. Until I ask them to practice, right now… on me.
“But, Dew… I hate role-playing!” Or, “It feels like such a waste of time when I’ve got so many other things to do.”
I’ve found that a rock solid morning routine can be the first and most important ingredient for daily success. Looking back to my teenage years, my mother (and my 16-year-old self) would be shocked to know that the 40-year-old me is such a morning person (actually, I like to refer to myself as an “all day person”)!
The more structured my morning is, the better I feel throughout the day, and that means I get more work done and close more sales.
My clients ask me a lot of questions about my personal habits, so here’s a little snapshot of my morning routine:
Today I want to tell you all about the book The School of Greatness, by Lewis Howes. I read multiple books each month, but rarely do I finish a book and put it on my desk… to stay. I have a small row of books that I reference over and over again, and continually refer to my clients. Lewis’s book made the cut.
Each of the 8 chapters is a separate section full of inspirational stories, thoughts, processes, and exercises to implement the steps in that section. Instead of giving you an overview of each chapter, I’ve decided to give you a deeper breakdown of my favorite: Chapter 4 – Develop Hustle.