In 2014, I attended a 3 Day Intensive with spiritual teacher David Deida.
He is perhaps best known for his book, “Way of the Superior Man”
David is also well known for his work in the masculine and feminine polarities,
As well as opening oneself to love more, be a greater blessing to the world, and just overall show up in the world in a better way.
Perhaps I should have started this blog post with a disclaimer:
If you’re not into hearing things like “energy” or “spiritual practices,”
You should probably stop reading here.
A lot of this stuff will sound “airy-fairy” or “woo-woo” but it’s made a big impact on my personal life and professional life.
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I’ll share how.
First of all, if you haven’t read “Way of The Superior Man” by David, I highly recommend you pick it up.
There are a lot of useful insights everyone could use and learn regardless of if you’re male or female.
It sheds a lot of light on the masculine and feminine energies (not actual genders),
And the roles they have in our day-to-day lives and careers.
Masculine energy is very driven and purposeful, and again, I’m not talking about the gender of a person, but rather energy and polarity.
Anyways, without getting too deep into that aspect…
I’ll share the takeaways I got and how I’ve applied it to sales from a high level:
So one of the practices you do ALOT of is deep breathing.
In fact, David says:
“If you just get this one thing right, it can change everything in your life”
You see, most people have forgotten how to breathe.
(You might be saying, “huh? I know how to breathe, dummy”)
Heart me out…
Take a deep breath right now, what happens?
Do your shoulders go up when you breathe deeply? And your belly go in?
That’s what most people do.
But that’s actually the improper way to breathe.
Like many things in life, we’ve either at one point or another forgotten how to do them properly or developed bad habits.
If you watch how a baby breathes, their belly actually goes out.
But for some reason, maybe due to stress, anxiety, and just for the mere fact that no one really teaches us…
We’ve forgotten how to breathe properly.
Proper breathing is deep belly breathing.
If you ask musicians or singers, they will know how to breathe properly.
Proper breathing means to first fill your belly with air. Therefore your belly should push out not in.
Only after your belly is filled with air, do you then fill your upper lungs.
Improper breathing means you’re getting 33%-50% less oxygen to your body and brain!
How does this apply to sales do you ask?
First of all, state management.
See, this might sound obvious, but what’s the number 1 thing our body needs before all else?
If we’re not breathing correctly, this impacts everything else.
Here are 8 benefits cited by the top snippet from a quick google search (click here to see)
- Decreases stress, increases calm
- Relives pain
- Stimulates the lymphatic system (detoxifies the body)
- Improves immunity
- Increases energy
- Lowers blood pressure
- Improves digestion
- Helps support correct posture
But you probably didn’t need Google to tell you that.
We’ve all been in stressful situations where our friend or a family member has told us to take a few deep breaths.
Well, that’s not just beneficial during stressful situations, but beneficial ALL the time.
The main ones we’ll focus on are #1 and #5.
It’s no secret that sales can be stressful.
Developing proper breathing not only helps calm our nerves, but it’s absolutely essential in having a tool to maintain our calmness and peace of mind, especially when there’s a lot going on around us.
It also increases energy!
One of the key aspects of being a good salesperson is being able to control our state.
In other words, being able to control and direct our thoughts and emotions.
It’s also well known that sales is nothing more than a transference of energy.
So in order to transfer “good” energy, you must be able to take control of your internal state and emotions, and a key way to do that is through proper breathing.
Okay, I think I’ve drilled this point home enough, let’s move on.
Another thing we practice often in one of Deida’s 3 Day Intensives is both emoting and receiving energy.
Whether you believe in this or not, is fairly irrelevant.
Energy is real. Vibes are real.
I’m sure we’ve all been in the position where we’ve got a weird vibe or even a good vibe from someone.
And we go on later to experience something to really validate that.
It’s also a scientific fact that everything is made up of energy.
Well, in this intensive we practice emoting and receiving different energies.
Basically, this makes you much more sensitive and attuned to the energy around you.
Considering that most of communication is non-verbal, but rather physical and energetic…
Don’t you think this is incredibly valuable in sales?
As I think about, I would say one of my strengths in sales is being able to pick up on the non-verbal cues a prospect is giving me.
Whether through their body language, tonality, vibe, or otherwise.
Another word for this is sensory acuity.
How well are you able to sense and be aware of the people and situations around you?
How perceptive are you?
Some examples can be noticing the other person’s breathing, eye movements, tonality, and postures, etc. etc.
Really feeling what they are saying.
I made this point in another post about Bruce Lee in learning to feel, not think.
I think oftentimes in sales there’s a HEAVY emphasis on the tactics.
While the tactics and strategies are important, you want to learn to know & understand people.
Again, I think I’ve made my point here.
Let’s continue on.
Number 3 is really a combination of aspects of numbers 1 and 2.
It’s both state management and sensory acuity, except for yourself.
Being highly attuned to the energy that you’re giving off.
It’s well known that SALES is a transference of EMOTION.
Typically the best salespeople are the ones who have the MOST passion, the MOST belief in their product, and exude the MOST enthusiasm.
But it’s not JUST enthusiasm… it’s CONTROLLED enthusiasm.
What do I mean by controlled enthusiasm?
Well, first I’ll explain what’s NOT controlled enthusiasm.
What’s not controlled enthusiasm is someone who is overly excited and… is not able to control themselves.
That’s not what we’re talking about here.
Controlled enthusiasm is like a tap, a gauge that you can control how much of it you give out.
And having control on that gauge allows you to turn it up in some moments, and dial it down in others.
This is an art.
The best people have mastered this aspect of communication.
And I don’t just mean salespeople who are in the profession of direct selling…
But orators, speakers, athletes, leaders, they can emote effectively.
Because emotion is INFLUENCE.
As Tony Robbins says:
“In order to influence someone else, you must already be influenced.”
In other words…
You cannot give people what you don’t have yourself!
While the focus wasn’t necessarily on emoting enthusiasm at the David Deida Intensive—we practiced emoting many different emotions and this skill transfers in many other areas of your life.
A more advanced and subtle technique I’ll mention here is the ability to control your own thoughts in a sales conversation.
This is a very internal skill.
For example, when you’re talking about your product or about to discuss the next steps with a prospect…
You direct your intention and thoughts to the awesome aspects or successful outcome of that situation.
I hope that makes sense.
It’s directing your focus to how you want the outcome to end up, and your feelings to that outcome.
Again, what I learned from Tony Robbins is this:
“Where your focus goes, energy flows”
Direct your attention and focus on the desired outcome. And it will happen!
One of the core emphasis’ in any David Deida practice is presence.
I’ve mentioned presence before, but in short, it’s being fully aware in the moment.
Being totally present, here and now.
You’re not thinking of what to say next or having a conversation in your own head.
Your attention is focused 100% on the person in front of you.
This is absolutely POWERFUL.
Another word for this in the business world is “active listening.”
It just means paying 100% full attention to your prospect.
I’m reading “What It Takes” by Stephen Schwarzmann, Chairman, CEO, and Co-Founder of Blackstone, one of the largest private equity, and largest alternative investment companies in the world.
And he writes:
Listening to people seemed obvious. But it evidently marked me out in Wall Street. I didn’t just try selling whatever it was I had to sell. I listened. I waited to hear what people wanted, what was on their mind, then set about making it happen. I rarely take notes in meetings. I just pay very close attention to what the other person is saying and the way he or she is saying it. If I can, I try to find some point of connection, an area of common ground, and shared interest or experience that turns a professional encounter into a more personal one. (Building rapport) It sounds like common sense, but apparently in practice, it’s relatively rare —Stephen Schwarzmann, “What it Takes” (p.76,77).
Stephen leads Blackstone as their CEO, but doesn’t that sound like great salesmanship to you? (It does to me!)
Oh, and by the way…
Mr. Schwarzmann is worth 18 Billion dollars.
Billion with a capital B.