Sales, believe it or not, is an incredibly creative endeavor. There’s the constant considerations about presentation and marketing, as well as the fact that we’re frequently confronted with client problems and are expected to solve them.
There must be a means in which we keep those creative juices flowing so that we don’t experience the burn out and idea blockages so many others are faced with. Here are a few ways to battle your own creativity sabotages inspired by a recent blog on Lifehacker.
While it may be tempting to just keep pounding away at prospecting, or trying to find the right answer for a client’s problems, chances are you’ll end up with a headache and have nothing but pain to show for it. In fact, studies show that taking a break can actually bolster your creative thought processes. When we let something go, our minds are free to wander all around the periphery until an answer can be acquired.
So how’s that work? Well, your mind’s got two positions basically, diffused and focused. Focused mode is great for accomplishing a task that’s already outlined, making those phone calls, sending those emails. However, the diffused mode (our more relaxed state) is best for creative imaginations and ideas. That’s why taking a break is essential, it allows your brain to shift from focused to diffused and thereby become more creative! If you have a customer that you just don’t know how to handle, play a round of golf or go on a jog and mull it over.
Push Your Limits
We all get stuck in a rut. We find a place that’s comfortable, people that we like and are used to, and we just kind of stay there. That’s how you wind up sounding like a salesperson. However, that passive comfort zone propensity is actually killing our creative thoughts. We have to step outside of our neat little lives and experience new and different things.
Studies show that traveling and living abroad, immersing ourselves in other cultures, increases our innovative thought processes and creative accomplishments. Certainly we can’t all move to another country, but we can explore and investigate the world around us so that we start to see things in new ways. We’ll be opening our creative eyes to other inventive opportunities. Maybe take a different route to work, eat at a new restaurant, do activities that break your normal routine.
Find What Works Best for You
No doubt we’ve all got a sales guru we’d like to embrace as a mentor. Just as inventors latch on to Einstein and artists want to be more like O’Keefe or Van Gogh, the fact of the matter is, their methods of creativity and innovation might not work for us. Who wants to cut off his ear or study cow skulls?
The key to success is to discover what works best for you. If you’re most creative in the morning, do most of your creative work then. If you find that taking a walk is better for your diffused mind than doodling, then walk. If adding a bit of humor to your day helps you be more productive, then use the Spiro app, to help lighten your mood as you make your sales calls. Creativity is inherent in us all, we’ve just got to discover the means in which the juices flow best.
Take on a Side Project
Side projects are great, unfortunately we often let them fall by the way-side so to speak. We get started on something and then get distracted and our garages become masses of half-finished works. While our friends might be impressed by all our creative endeavors, those closest to us just wish we’d pick something and finish it. Plus it will make a great story to help you charm your next prospect.
Finishing what you start is a great way to bolster your confidence and drive. As sales professionals we only make money if we close the deals. We can’t give up on clients, or products, when they become challenging. Neither should we surrender our side projects, they will enable us to engage in new ideas and designs and help us accomplish the next tasks at hand.
Sales can be a stressful career, but it’s also a creative one. We need to learn the ways we’re sabotaging our creative processes and then make determined steps to eradicate those behaviors. Let’s start taking breaks when we can’t seem to get at an idea we need, step out of our personal shells and experience the world. Then, once we’ve gotten ourselves back into diffused mode, let’s utilize the methods that work for us, finish up all those side projects hanging around and close some deals!
Also published on Medium.