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The first habit of highly effective salespeople: Be proactive!

In our pursuit of what makes the winning sales mindset, to get maximum revenue and consistently hit target, we find ourselves continually coming back to Stephen Covey’s ‘7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’

It’s worth thinking through each one of these, because these principles have been shown to have and real and tangible influence, not only on sales, but on the wellbeing and happiness of everyone who adopts them. It’s pretty powerful stuff!

So over trhe next fewweeks, the Borg & Overstrom Sales Academy will be focusing on studying these habits to help us all get the basics right.

Habit one – Be proactive

“It is our willing permission, our consent to what happens to us, that hurts us far more than what happened to us in the first place.” [Stephen Covey]

Many people spend too much time thinking about what they can’t do, what’s impossible, what they can’t change etc, rather than focussing on what they can do – the positive.

Covey’s first habit, to ‘be proactive’, encourages us to take charge of our own lives and the consequences of it. He says that we must choose the script by which our lives are lived; in short, he believes that if we take control of our lives and our response to any situation we will be more effective.

It’s simple really – can you think back to a time when you reacted in a negative way to something that was well out of your control?

Maybe the power cut out at work and your team was left without computers, lights or phones.

There’s a chance you may have reacted to this situation with stress, anger and frustration. That’s just a natural response that we, as humans, are prone to make.

If you stop and think about it, are there any benefits of reacting in this way? Does it make the problem go away? Does it give you options and help you get your team back on track?

It doesn’t, does it? There’s absolutely nothing you can do – no amount of shouting and fuming will turn the power back on.

And this is the point of Habit one – if you respond to a negative situation in a proactive way, you’ll focus on the things that you can change. Things like a ‘Plan B’ so that you get productivity and results even from a crisis. 

This is your ‘Circle of Influence’ which will expand as you keep expending positive energy.

As a result you’ll be less stressed and you’ll keep a clear head to see your way forward – you’ll rise above your circumstances, rather than let your circumstances dictate your life.

So what can you do to make a start?

Use positive language

Give yourself a chance. Instead of saying “That’s just the way I am and I’ll never change”, say to yourself “What are the benefits of changing the way I respond?”. 

Instead of saying “there’s nothing I can do”, find something you can do and get on with that.

Organise your life

Instead of reacting to everything that comes your way, plan your time and make a proactive task list. You can still allow free time to respond to spontaneous tasks.


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