Are Routines Holding You Back
Written by Craig Warren
What routines are preventing you from increasing your
Whether you realize it or not, you are a creature of
habit. Unless you do shift work, you probably get up at
the same time everyday, follow the same routine to wake
up and get yourself ready for the day, drive the regular
route to work, do the same things once you get to work
and take the same route home at the end of the day. Once
there, you probably have dinner, watch television or read
the newspaper and follow some sort of routine once its
time to go to bed. You set the alarm for the same time
and when it sounds the next day, you start the cycle over
Dont get me wrong. Routines can be good. They help us
improve our productivity. They allow us to multi-task.
They make us feel comfortable, safe and secure. They
reduce stress. Plus, when we have developed a great
routine, we can often generate more business. However,
the drawback is that they can be difficult to break away
When you become accustomed to a specific schedule, it can
be easy to forget changes in it. For example, if you
usually schedule your first client meeting after 9:30 it
is very easy to miss a meeting that was recently
scheduled at 8:30. I recently encountered two situations
that relate to this.
The first was an appointment with my massage therapist.
For several years, she scheduled her appointments on the
hour or half-hour. So when she booked my massage at
fifteen minutes after the hour, she forgot about it and
was several minutes late.
The second was my fault. I normally meet with my trainer
early in the morning, three days a week. I had to
re-schedule one workout due to a business commitment and
made my appointment for a later time on a different day.
Unfortunately, I arrived at the gym at my usual time only
to realize that I was several hours early. The change in
the schedule messed up my routine.
So, how does this relate to selling?
As a sales professional, you need to recognize that
routines can prevent you from achieving your full
potential. However, if you persist at incorporating that
new technique into your sales approach, it, to, will
become part of your new routine. That’s the great thing
about the human spirit and brain, it is very adaptable.
The most successful people in business and in sales know
that changes to their routine will cause them some
discomfort. But, they are also very aware that these
changes will become more comfortable and part of their
routine if they work at it long enough.
It can certainly be challenging to change your behavior
and routine when you are used to making a certain number
of calls every day, or meeting with a specific number of
clients, customers, or prospects. When you have a
specific daily routine, it is usually difficult to
incorporate something new. Or, when you have developed
the habit of selling in a particular manner, it is very
stressful trying to change your approach. I see this in
my sales training workshops all the time.
People can intrinsically grasp a new concept or principle
but experience difficulty trying to actually implement it
into the way they sell. That’s why many sales training
programs don’t work; you cant expect to change your
behavior or routine immediately. The key is to keep
applying the concept even though it feels uncomfortable
and foreign. In fact, in most cases, you will begin to
feel comfortable with the concept immediately after you
experience the greatest frustration and difficulty.
Consider learning a new sport, hobby, or task.
At first the movements feel uncomfortable. Your moves are
not smooth, accurate or natural. And this feeling usually
persists for quite some time. However, just when you feel
like giving up because it has become to difficult and
frustrating, something clicks and the movements start to
feel more natural. You have now progressed to the stage
of being able to achieve results. The same process
happens when you decide to try something different when
Most sales people don’t enjoy cold calling because they
don’t work at developing their skill long enough. They go
through the motions of making their calls everyday but
they don’t focus on improving their skill nor do they
stick with it for the necessary period. People who do
acquire the ability to effectively cold call have made
enough calls to understand the dynamics, develop their
skill at calling and incorporate it into their routine.
Routines are powerful. However, to get the most from
them, you do need to change them regularly.
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