Monday Mornings with Madison

Monthly Archives:
January 2013

Super Salesmanship

The leadership at every company wishes every employee who interacts with customers was a ‘super salesperson’. Imagine what a company could achieve if all of its employees – that includes anyone dealing with potential customers – did everything possible to convert each potential customer into an actual customer. That is surely every Sales Manager’s dream… or perhaps, they might say, fantasy. Most Sales Directors would likely say “It is easier said than done to make all employees into super salespeople.” After all, there are millions of books, videos, articles, blog posts and consultants touting the best guidance on how to improve sales. If improving sales was easy or if there was a perfect proven formula, there would be no need for so much advice.

Yet, it may be that the best strategies to supersize sales for any company can be found within the company. That is often what managers and leaders find when they step back and observe their own company employees in action. Instead of looking outside to gurus and experts, the best sales ideas often bubble up from within. How might a company begin to identify super sales ideas within their own organization? And how can a company then leverage those ideas to improve sales across the board? Here’s how.
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The Amazing Power of Habits – Part 3

For the last two weeks, we’ve been considering the power of habits. We learned that habits reside in the basal ganglia within the brain and that habits are separate and independent from memory and learning. We discovered that nearly half of all our daily behavior and decisions are actually driven by habits rather than conscious, deliberate thought. Once habits are formed, they become more formidable in controlling behavior as they become ever more entrenched in our brain’s neural pathways. Breaking bad habits, therefore, can be a challenge… although not impossible. The key is to change or remove the cues triggering the habit or the rewards reinforcing it. Even so, breaking a bad habit requires a lot of deliberate thought.

Scientists have discovered that one of the best ways to break a bad habit is to simply replace it with a new good habit. Actually one habit doesn’t so much replace another. Rather, one habit fades while another is reinforced. So, instead of expending a lot of money, energy and time breaking bad habits, most people are better off establishing and reinforcing good habits. Over time, the new good habits will become entrenched in the brain’s neural pathways while old habits fade (through lack of use and reinforcement) even though they can still be triggered by old cues. When harnessed for good, habits can be incredibly productive and positive. Here are 11 tips to help establish new good habits. Continue reading

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The Amazing Power of Habits – Part 2

At the end of each year, many people prepare a list of “Resolutions.” Exercise more. Eat healthier. Put more into savings. Quit smoking. Get organized. Lose weight. Get regular medical and dental care. Gyms sign up tons of new members. Enrollment in weight loss programs swells. Office and organizational supply stores sell more tools and supplies. Intentions are good. Willpower is focused. And yet, despite the best of intentions, most people are unable to keep their ‘resolutions’ for more than a week or two.

Practically speaking, the average list of ‘Resolutions’ is little more than a list of bad habits people want to break and a list of good habits people want to start. Yet, most bad habits persist while good ones languish. Resolutions get recycled year after year. That is because most people don’t understand how habits work so they aren’t able to intentionally stop bad habits or start good ones, even though new habits are continually being formed and old ones discarded unintentionally. Why is it people can’t break or start habits at will, but somehow manage to break and start habits without trying all the time? Is it even possible to control habits? The answer is yes. It starts by understanding why habits are necessary and how habits work.
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The Amazing Power of Habits – Part 1

Have you ever driven home from work and then realized when you got home that you had no recollection of doing it? Or you got up in the morning and did your morning routine (brush teeth, shave, groom hair, shower and dress, make bed, etc.) but could not remember actually performing some or any of the tasks. It was as if you were on auto-pilot. In a sense, you were. But instead of drawing on information from your memory bank, you were drawing information from a different, deeper part of the brain that doesn’t involve either learning or memory. You were performing a habit.

Until recently, most scholars believed that learning, memory, and habits were all inextricably connected. A person learns how to do something, remembers doing it and then, through repetition over time, becomes habit…. a recurrent, often unconscious pattern of behavior acquired through frequent repetition. Based on this, it stands to reason that without the ability to learn and remember, a person could not form new habits or perform existing habits. But research has proven that that is actually not true. The latest brain research is revealing that learning, memory and habits all ‘live’ in different parts of the brain and are not actually connected. A person can form and perform a new habit even if the person has no ability to learn or remember new information. And research has found that habits are more powerful and persistent in controlling individual behavior than conscious thought. This can be invaluable to business. Continue reading

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