Archives for February 2013

The Secret to Making Changes Easily

business woman biting her nailsThe reason most of us don’t make changes is because change is scary. It’s scary to quit your J-O-B and build your direct sales business. It’s scary to send your child to school the first time or away to college. When change occurs, it causes our “fight or flight” system to be activated and we feel anxious, “butterflies” or even nauseated. While this might seem counterproductive, it’s really our body’s way of protecting us. When human beings were hunter-gathers, change was not just scary but actually dangerous. We needed to be prepared to flight or flee in an instant. When we got scared, the fight or flight response causes our blood to flow to our arms and legs and away from our brain. Thinking is not what our body wants when confronted with a dangerous situation. Being prepared to flight or flee is what’s necessary.

The same thing happens when we try something new in our business or our lives. If it’s a new party presentation, making customer phone calls or even just going to a team meeting, it can be scary and our body tries to protect us by activating the flight or flight reaction.

Why is this important?

The reason that it’s important to recognize the flight or flight reflex is that once you know it happens, you can formulate a plan to work around it. Make change less scary by by taking tiny steps so you don’t set off the fight or flight alarms. For example, consider the story of the woman who purchased an expensive luxury car and parked it in her driveway one winter night. This car was equipped with a motion sensor – if you touch the car an alarm sounds. One night, when the car was in the driveway, it snowed. When the woman came out in the morning, her car was under a pile of snow, yet the alarm had never sounded. Why is that? Each snowflake was so tiny and light that it did not active the sensor. And that’s the approach that will work best for us too.

How to make change easy.

When you decide to make a change, make it easy and less scary by doing it one tiny, tiny step at a time. So tiny that you absolutely KNOW you can do it. For example, if you are scared or anxious about making customer phone calls, start by practicing your phone calling system alone in your office. Say each word out loud and practice using the words you’ll use when you eventually pick up the phone. Repeat this daily at the same time (the time you’ve decided to make your customer phone calls) until you feel ready to move forward. Next, make a phone call to a friend and ask if you can practice your new phone calling strategy with her. Continue making practice phone calls daily with your friends until you are ready to move to calling your most friendly customers. Once you are ready, ramp up to making 2 phone calls a day and so forth.

What’s the secret?

The secret to making change less scary is to take the action each day that you absolutely KNOW you can do. If you feel any anxiety about it at all (remember that’s your “fight or flight” reflex being activated), then back off on your goal a little bit. Back off just enough so you don’t feel scared or anxious, but continue to take action. Each day ask yourself “what one small step can I take to ________(whatever your goal is)?” Then take that small step.

What’s the reward?Woman happily on phone

Eventually, you’ll be making your phone calls with ease. You won’t be scared or anxious any more. And if you’ve been practicing at the same time each day, you will have a powerful success habit too!

There are several good books about making changes easier by taking small steps. I recommend One Small Step Can Change Your Life, The Kaisen Way by Robert Maurer.

Your success is my goal,
Linda Sturdivant

Easy phone calling strategies

easy_buttonDo you have a nagging little voice in the back of your head that tells you that you “should” make customer phone calls?

Do you dread picking up the phone?

You know it’s important, yet phone calls are one of the hardest parts of a direct sales business.

The secret to making customer phone calls easily is to create a habit.

What is a habit?

A habit is a regularly repeated behavior pattern that happens without having to make a decision to do it.  For example, do you “decide” to brush your teeth each night?   No, you don’t decide, you don’t think about it, you don’t worry about it, you just do it. And you do it regularly.  And, because of that, you are successfully chewing your food at mealtimes!

How much stronger would your business be if you made customer phone calls as easily and as consistently as you brushed your teeth?

How to create a habit of making customer phone calls

All habits have three characteristics in common.

  1. There is a cue that reminds you to do the behavior.  Getting ready for bed is the cue to brush our teeth.
  2. Every habit includes a routine or set of behaviors that are repeated each time.
  3. The behavior results in a reward or positive reinforcement.  The reward for brushing your teeth is the clean feeling you have in your mouth.

To create a habit, decide upon a cue, set up a routine and identify a reward you will give yourself.  Here is an example of a customer phone calls habit:

Cue – Eat dinner.

Routine – Walk to office, pull out Flash Cards and list of people to call, put headset on  and make phone calls.

Reward – Watch TV

To create your own Customer Phone Calling Habit follow these easy steps:

  1. Decide when you will make your calls – do it at the same time each day or the same time each week and link phone calling to another habit in your life.  For example, make calls every night after dinner, or each afternoon when the kids do their homework or every Tuesday and Thursday when the kids are at hockey practice.
  2. Prepare ahead of time
    1. Create your list of customers to call prior to the time you plan to make the calls.  Make your list very specific and include names, phone numbers and why you are calling them (e.g. answer questions about the products they purchased, thank you for coming to the show last week, hostess coaching, etc)
    2. Collect all the materials you’ll need.  For example: Phone Calling Flash Cards, customer contact notebook or database, computer or a pen, your headset, etc.
  3. Decide on your reward.  For example: push the “That Was Easy” button your desk, stand up and cheer, watch TV, listen to music, read a book or go for a walk.
  4. Commit to making your customer phone calls by making a public declaration.  For example, do one or more of the following:
    1. Call your husband at work and tell him when you are making calls that day
    2. Write it on the family calendar or put a note on the refrigerator
    3. Announce it to your kids (e.g. “I will be making customer phone calls while you are at hockey practice today.”)
    4. Announce to your family that you won’t ___________ (fill in the reward you have set for yourself) until you make your customer phone calls.
  5. Do it — make your customer phone calls when you say you will.
    1. If you hear a voice in your head undermining your decision, then repeat the following affirmation to yourself over and over again as you approach the phone: “I’ve decided to do this and I’m just going to do it.
    2. Have a success ritual you perform before you pick up the phone.  For example, stand up, put your shoulders back, and state “I am committed to providing exceptional customer service” in a strong voice.
    3. Make a minimum of one phone call.  Make more if you like, but don’t “force yourself” to make too many at first.  To begin with you are building up your customer phone calling habit.  Once the habit is established, you can gradually ramp up the number of calls you make each time.
  6. Reward yourself.  Always give yourself the reward you have planned.

Repeat this process over and over and you will find yourself with a powerful Customer Phone Calling habit that will transform your business and make customer phone calls as easy as brushing your teeth!