I was recently asked, “What is the one thing that moves the needle the quickest to obtain increased sales results?”. This question got me thinking, and I realized that my answer would be the same regardless of the type of result I was trying to achieve. My answer is mindfulness and preparation together or mindful preparation.

Preparation is a big part of sales. Call prep, meeting prep, travel prep, daily prep. You name it, there is always something we are getting ready for. Naturally, this means that sometimes we will simply “go through the motions” of those activities. We’re just “checking the boxes” of the things we know we should be doing, without actually paying attention. Even worse, we’re not preparing for what we want to happen, often because we haven’t taken the time to figure out what that is.

How to mindfully prepare and plan

The quickest way to change that is to thoughtfully prepare and plan. This doesn’t mean you start to overthink everything. In fact, it’s the opposite. Being thoughtfully prepared allows you to cut down on noise and reduce wasted time and energy.

To get started, spend some time visualizing the ideal outcome of the event you are preparing for. This allows you to work in reverse and create a plan, recognizing the things you need to do to achieve your desired outcome.

An example: the big meeting

Let’s say I have a big meeting coming up. I know I need to have the meeting be successful. My natural tendency is to just plug ahead, “making progress” and “preparing” for that meeting to make it successful. However, if I do this, I’ve skipped a critical step: determining what I want to accomplish during the meeting. I need to first spend some time thinking about what would make that meeting a success. I should be very specific about the key outcomes, goals, and actions each participant will have if it’s to be a success.  Then I need to visualize this over and over in my mind. It has been shown, demonstrated, and most likely proven that we achieve in life what we continually focus on — good or bad.  I must build and ‘run in my mind’ the visualization of the successful outcomes, goals, and actions I want to achieve in the upcoming meeting. Once I visualize what that looks like, I can work backward towards the things that need to happen to get that desired result.

How to deal with internal chatter

If I have thoughts pop up during my prep, which make me feel like I may forget something, I have a rubric to measure against. Is the thought I’m having going to help me accomplish my desired outcome? Or is it just noise? Internal chatter can prevent me from focusing on the next best step. But if I’ve put in the work to mindfully prepare and am continually visualizing the desired outcome and plan, then I will have my blueprint drawn up. I can keep moving forward and making progress.

The more we can shut down the internal and external noise, thinking instead about the necessary next steps, the more positive our outcome will be. Running the visualization helps us and our mind find all the ingredients required to achieve the desired outcome.  So do it over and over, and you will be surprised how the outcome of the meeting hits the mark EXACTLY.  The frequency and intensity of how you visualized and prepped will determine how closely you hit the mark.

Taking things to the next level

While this example is focused on a short and specific event, you would follow the same process to mindfully prepare for bigger things. Think about your goals for exceeding quota. To do that, you must first have a very clear picture of what that success looks like. In this case, it’s a number. From there, you can start working backward to determine the steps you’d need to take to make that visualization a reality. You can figure out the number of deals you’d need to close, which would help you determine the number of calls you’d need to make each day.

If you’re using the mindfulness preparation philosophy to its fullest potential, the meeting in our first example should be a steppingstone towards achieving your bigger goal such as exceeding quota or other items as a means to your end goal. Part of the visualization technique described above should include seeing that meeting and steppingstone as already completed. You should think and visualize “it is X date and I have achieved Y objective”. Running that visualization over and over in your mind will make it more likely that you achieve your desired result.

The next chance you get to prepare for something, do it mindfully. Think about the desired result and what it would take to get there. You’ll likely find a better outcome waiting on the other side.

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As Founder and CEO of Visualize, Scott spearheads the company’s overall strategic direction, planning and execution. Scott has over 25 years of experience in sales and sales leadership, building profitable companies.