Written by Ari Greenbaum, Co-founder of conXpros
To be consistent one must understand what affects your thoughts, feelings, and actions. We are all faced with the increasing challenge of distractions the modern world presents us on a moment to moment basis. We are under constant barrage of potential influencers, but to achieve consistency you must insulate yourself from them. If it sounds challenging, you are correct, it is. No one will ever tell you that success comes easily, rather only through tremendous and consistent effort. This article is the conclusion of Being The Best, Requires Consistency (Part 1) and will focus on the “how to” of consistency. I will categorize the different types of influencers into 3 areas: Outside (day to day), Inside (within the day), and Presentation (while engaged with a prospect). All 3 have their challenges, but with effort and more importantly consciousness, you will successfully manage each area to lead yourself to being super-human, or consistent.
Outside (day to day)
The ability for you to be consistent in your day to day approach to life will determine your success. There is not an individual in the world that is not surrounded by distractions, of both the negative and positive variety. Anyone that knows gumbo or Cajun cooking, is aware that it is not authentic unless you have the “holy trinity” of ingredients; onions, green peppers, and celery. So too, you as a normal human being have what I refer to as the “holy trinity” of problems. Every person has money, health, and family issues. No matter how much money one earns or accumulates, you will always have money issues. As your income increases, so does your list of responsibilities. We all have family members with whom we have relationship issues. Whatever the role; as a parent, a sibling, child, or relative you are constantly faced with someone you love that is sick, in pain, or in need of your financial and/or emotional support. Fortunately, there are also exciting and positive events such as birthdays, celebrations, graduations, vacations, visits, concerts, parties, sporting events, etc. you are anticipating and planning for.
Perhaps you are familiar with the good old cliché “leave your baggage at the door”. Learning how to leave the “holy trinity” of distractions at the door is in its own right a challenge, but you must also look beyond the obvious and make yourself aware of other day to day or “outside” influencers to truly leave all of your baggage at the door. This other baggage I am referring to includes simple things that everyone encounters, such as altering your routine and hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock to get 10 extra minutes of sleep when you regularly awake at the sound of the alarm. This 10-minute delay may seem meaningless, but it is what may prevent you from the shower, cup of coffee, non-rushed morning, meditation, or anything that makes up your daily routine. We cannot ignore the emotions you are feeling when departing your home, as they also have potential impacts on your day. Did you depart with a hug and kiss from your spouse and/or children, or did today start with an argument or other stressor? Even when you are successful at getting your day started with the normal positive routine, you then must go out into the public realm where we must encounter people. These people are the ones that dangerously cut you off on the highway, honk their horns at you, push you out of the way to get on the bus or train, play loud distracting music from their vehicle or headphones while you are in their vicinity. You often encounter the person at your favorite coffee stop “messing up” your order, or not putting the lid on your drink properly, resulting in you wearing your beverage as opposed to enjoying it. You learn of world and local events from the radio or social media. “Friends” opinions bombard you on every issue of importance in the world today as you check your feed. And you cannot forget about the fact that yesterday’s business results (or lack thereof) have left either a pleasant or foul taste in your mouth. These and many other influencers and distractions are encountered by everyone on a daily basis. They all impact your thoughts and feelings.
Your ability to be even keel and approach every day free from potential influencers, will determine your level of consistency. If you approach one day with a positive mental attitude and have success, but then the next with a negative one, poor results will follow. The goal is to become better at controlling your thoughts and feelings that are the result of these distractions. Be influenced by you as opposed to the world around you. To be consistent, you must leave ALL of your baggage at the door. Don’t worry, no one will take them, rather they will all be waiting right there for you to reclaim if you choose to at the end of your working day. My personal approach which has been tremendously successful in my life has been to focus on the present, or be in the moment. I prefer to concern myself only with the things I can control and have an impact on. I cannot change how my child is doing in school or feeling while I am in my work environment, so why focus on it at all? This same approach which I term “living in a bubble” or a controlled environment has allowed me to focus on what is important and approach my day, week, moth, etc. consistently and achieve consistent results. This is how I have found success, and you must find what method works for you. Regardless of the method, the principle remains the same; focus on the present by preventing the distracting influencers from penetrating your thought, feeling, and actions.
Inside (situation/meeting/prospect to situation/meeting/prospect, or within the day)
When you successfully “leave your baggage at the door”, you should be proud of yourself. It is a tremendous accomplishment, but also understand there is more work to be done. As you walk through that proverbial door, there is a whole new set of luggage waiting for you. The distractions and influencers that await you, are more in the moment and in your face than the outside ones you left behind and therefore require a higher level of awareness and commitment to controlling your reaction to them. Like the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind”, you must be super conscious that the opposite is also true, “in sight, in mind”. You must become effective at remaining in the moment instead of elsewhere.
In today’s world, you face challenges that were not present before technology dangled them in front of your face. Our phones and the internet come through that door even when the baggage does not. As a result of this, you are presented with the opportunity to be updated in real time with every possible newsworthy (and some that are not) piece of information, status update, tweet, text, call, etc. There are many benefits to the information age, but when it comes to our ability to focus and be productive at high levels, it is more often negative. So clearly the same distractions that were available to you before you started your working day, are now still with you. There are many other influencers and just like with the outside ones, can be both in a positive or negative form. You may receive praise for your achievement and possibly even publicly. You may be “on fire” and nail a few deals to start your day. Commissions earned and goals achieved. If you allow these positive oriented influencers to affect your approach to your next call or meeting, the results will often fall short of the success you already experienced. You will be in a different mental and emotional state than you were when you experienced your prior successes. You will also have peers performing when you are not, a deal falls apart for no controllable reason, experience stretches of “no’s” and rejection, as well as many other frustrating and negative influencers. You will encounter prospects that make derogatory remarks and cruel judgements of your chosen profession. These are the reality of sales, but also the reality of what effects your ability to be consistent within or inside the day.
In addition to the already lengthy list of distractions, you also have energy related influencers. Fatigue is one of, if not the most common factor that damages sales people’s ability to be consistent. If you are fatigued towards the later part of your schedule, you will approach those meetings and customer encounters from a different mindset and the results will be inconsistent with what you typically achieve when properly energized. Even though we all know that “coffee is for closers”, when you consume it and get the energy boost it provides, you also come down and lack that same energy later. Enjoy a big lunch and you will become sleepy in the early afternoon, which is different from your natural energies. Deprive yourself of sleep the previous night and then suffer the “blah” and dragging feeling later in the day. Fatigue is avoidable, but takes effort. You must be aware of the things that not only influence your mental and emotional state, but also your physical state as they both factor into your ability to be consistent throughout the day.
Presentation (while engaged with a prospect)
For many years, I have used recordings of sales calls as a tool to assist the people I was coaching to recognize how they can improve. As a result of the hundreds of hours of recordings listened to, I also came to the conclusion that sales people are like roller coasters or pendulums on a sales call/meeting itself. Literally going back and forth, up and down based on the response and energies being put off by the prospective buyer. As opposed to controlling the emotional direction of the meeting, the majority of the time the sales person was following the prospects lead. If you are fortunate enough to have this opportunity and experience listening to so many presentations, you will understand and agree with me when I tell you that most start out with some level of passion or enthusiasm by the sales person. When they receive some resistance early in the process, some frustration and combativeness begins. Perhaps at the end of the presentation itself, the prospect asks a “buying question” and the sales person will have their heart rate increase, voice become rapid and at a heightened pitch, which will typically result in the prospect being “stand-offish” and presenting an objection or concern. Frustration ensues for the seller as they thought they had this one closed, yet here they are having to work again. This undulating ride continues, and more often than not, results in a lost sale and opportunity. You are also faced with factors such as anxiety of getting the deal, over-excitement for the opportunity, and the natural nervousness to be engaged in dialogue with someone we are not as comfortable with, like we are with a friend or family.
In addition to the emotional rollercoaster often experienced by sales people, you are also faced with the reality of distractions in the purest form. Whether in face-to -face or over the phone, there are things that catch your eye and attention. As a result, you are far from 100% focused on the customer and providing solutions for their needs. This level of consistency, the “in the moment consistency”, is the most difficult of the 3 levels as it requires complete control of your emotional digestion and responses to what you see and hear.
Successful sales people are consistent in every aspect of life; day to day, throughout the day and while engaged in the selling process. To achieve great results, you must work on mastery of this trait. You must become consistent in your approach to every customer interaction, every day, every week, every month, etc. You must become routine oriented, block out distractions and potential influencers, and be aware of your thoughts and feelings. Engage every prospect the same way regardless of what is happening in the world, your environment, or your head. Your ability to interview, present, answer questions, and address concerns of your prospect with the same controlled approach every meeting or call you are on, will determine your success. To control your results, you must first work on learning how to control yourself. This control allows you the platform for consistency in life and results.
Consistently do this to be more consistent
Consistency means always moving in a positive direction while being consistent in our process and approach to that goal. Author, speaker, and motivator John C. Maxwellmakes this completely clear in his well-known statement, “Master the basics, then practice the basics every day without fail. Small disciplines repeated with consistency every day lead to greater achievements gained slowly over time.” So, other than eliminating distractions as you already learned, what else can you do to achieve consistency? Here are a few actionable ideas which will move you closer to your desired result.
Wake up and smell the ROUTINE! I have never read or learned about a successful individual that does not incorporate a deliberate routine to their day. This must be from the moment you rise and continue until you lay back down at the end of the day. Of course, there are variables to everyone’s day that are many times unpredictable, but the more you stick to a daily routine, the better we are at accomplishing what we set out to do. Commitment to routine is not exclusive to the morning time, but includes checking emails and social media at predetermined scheduled times, remaining focused on one task at a time, keeping yourself accountable to when you allow distractions from co-workers, etc. Whatever the routine is for you (as long as it is healthy for mind, body & spirit), it will put you in the driver’s seat for success. Routine is different than habit, as habit is something we do without much or any thought. However, routine requires discipline and consciousness. When we encounter life’s speed bumps, we must work diligently to get back onto that routine without delay. The morning routine is the most critical aspect of being successful as it sets the tone for the rest of the day. As with any goal, write down your routine so you can keep yourself accountable to it.
Live thePROCESS. Just like creating anything in life there is a process, so too with consistency. A manufacturer creates a process to assemble the specified product. When the process is followed, the factory produces consistent and predictable results. Computers have a process which allows them to function at the most efficient levels. Being effective with process shares similarities to being successful with achievement of goals. When goals are not regularly documented and reviewed, they are rarely achieved, the same is true regarding process. Find, learn or develop a process that you follow religiously for everything you do in life. Become process driven, process focused, and live the processes consistently.
ACCEPT the exceptions. Many people “freak out” (at various levels) when facing the unexpected. You must change your thought process to accept these exceptions to your plans and visions as just that, exceptions. When there are rules and you make an exception, does it negate the rule from existence? Of course not. This is the way you can look at the challenges to your planning. The “rule” still applies, you just made an exception and there is nothing to beat yourself up about. The negative and defeating thought destroys consistency. No one is perfect. Even the most successful people in the world will tell you that they face hurdles and challenges daily that could potentially throw them off from being consistent. But your view of these occurrences determines if you remain on the path to consistency.
ACTIONS speak louder than words. The reality of being consistent is that your words and actions are one in the same. When one says one thing and does another, it is the definition of inconsistency. This concept is applied both with the people in your lives as well as yourself. You must have consistency in what you tell others you will do and what you in fact do. You also must follow through with the promises you make to yourself with actions that match the words or thoughts. This is important as it affects your self-image. If you view yourself as an inconsistent person, you will be inconsistent. On the other hand, when you regularly prove to yourself that you are highly consistent, you are encouraged to continue with consistency in all aspects of your life. How one feels has direct impact how one acts.
Take ownership of yourself with ACCOUNTABILITY. Without honesty and accountability, it is impossible to be aware of any of the above listed concepts. Making the time to take inventory and review individual situations, days, weeks, etc. allows you to be responsible for the results you experience. Only through this awareness can you make the necessary commitments to improve and better act according to your goals, processes, thoughts, and promises. Just as a store owner takes inventory to know what is selling well or not, what needs to be reordered, and what will drive consistent profits, you as the “store owner” of your success, through accountability can make the necessary adjustments to ensure the consistency you desire.
Consistency, like life is a work in progress. The key term in this equation is WORK. Consistency is not easy or natural. It requires conscience effort to be achieved. “Successful people are not gifted; they just work hard, then succeed on purpose” (G.K. Nielson). Put forth the necessary effort towards your success and use consistency as your vehicle to reach that destination.