The Controllables.


Under the best of circumstances, sales can feel like a hall of mirrors; full of distorted images, dead ends and confusing passageways.  Factor in the inherent complexity and ambivalence of our digital marketing and advertising world and it all comes right off the chain.  Almost every digital seller I meet in workshops, forums and coaching talks desperately wants more control in their sales lives.

They don’t realize just how much control they already have.

This week’s Drift is proudly underwritten by Salesforce DMP. Salesforce DMP allows you to capture, unify, and activate your data to strengthen consumer relationships across every touchpoint. Find out more here.

Controlling your controllables is no mere cliché; it’s the recipe for a satisfying, effective and full life in sales (not to mention a truly satisfying life overall).  Focusing on factors and events you don’t control burns precious hours and energy and leaves you with nothing to show for it.  What will the boss decide? How will the budget shake out?  How will the markets react to the latest world news?  What can you do about any of these?  Just worry and wait… the two least productive and most frustrating options available.  So let’s take a quick look at four things you absolutely control every single day.

Curiosity.  This is as simple as asking one more genuine question to learn more about the customer or how their business works.  It’s saying “tell me a little bit more about that.” Don’t be tricky or clever with your questions: it’s not about how much you know, but rather about how much you want to know.  When people feel interesting they will be interested in return.  And you control this action completely.

Organization.  To say you’re simply not organized is a cop out.  Every one of us can stop and make a list, gather notes into one document, close a few windows on our desktop.  Disorganization isn’t charming or quirky; it’s a choice you make and a form of self-sabotage.  Just a few minutes each day to pull things together before you start responding is all it takes.  You don’t leave the house without looking in the mirror and checking your appearance; just add five minutes of intellectual organization to your routine.

Response.  Challenging stuff happens.  But none of us is ever really responding to what’s taking place or what’s being said.  We are responding to the story our ego is telling us about what’s happening. Your ego tells you unreliable stories about the other guy’s intentions or the fact that it’s all a big conspiracy against you.  Instead of responding instantly with the harsh comment or defensive email, pause and consider other possible backstories and motivations. Your emotional IQ soars. Slow down, reconsider, control.

Attention.  The root word here is attend; literally, being present.  With just a modest amount of discipline, you can choose to give just a minute or two of your full, undivided, undistracted attention to those you rely on and those you serve. Those 60 or 120 seconds will be more productive and constructive than all those endless meetings you half-attend.  Put away your phone and let your full attention nourish the quality of your relationships and your work.  It’s controllable and it’s transformative.

This all requires zero talent and you depend on no one but yourself. Enjoy your new superpowers.