HHSB: The Physiology of Sales Calls

Do you have the pressure to perform on every sales call? Below is a post from Heavy Hitter Sales Blog.

The Physiology of Sales Calls

Sales is a profession based upon pressure: pressure from sales management to make the numbers, pressure from competitors who are trying to defeat you, the pressure you place yourself to be number one, and the pressure to perform on every sales call.

Pressure upon the salesperson during sales calls has a profound impact. It creates an emergency situation that triggers our body’s “fight or flight” system. Here are a few of the physiological changes that happen to a salesperson who is making a stressful customer sales call or conducting a critical presentation he hopes will land him or her the big deal.

  • The eyebrows instinctively rise and the eyes widen. The iris eye muscle contracts, causing the pupils to dilate. These actions enhance vision so that maximum visual information about the perceived threats can be sent to the brain.
  • The brain’s cortex interprets the visual information it is receiving and transmits messages to the brain’s hypothalamus. The hypothalamus activates the adrenal gland, which instantaneously releases adrenaline into the blood stream. The hormone adrenaline activates the body’s emergency response systems.
  • The heart pumps at up to twice its normal rate. Breathing increases so that the lungs can supply more oxygen to the blood. Oxygen-rich blood is sent to the brain for clearer thinking and to muscles for quick reactions. The stomach stops digestion so that blood can be diverted elsewhere in the body. The liver releases sugar reserves for a quick boost of energy, and the bladder sends a message that it wants to be emptied so the body can flee faster.
  • On the outside of the body, perspiration gathers as sweat glands are activated to reduce the body heat caused by the increased flow of blood. The mouth widens so that air can be taken in faster than through the nose. The face loses color and appears ashen as blood is diverted for more important uses.

The increase in bodily activity corresponds to the escalation of mental activity as well. The salesperson’s internal dialogue speeds up, jumps from subject to subject, and second-guesses itself. “Are they with me?” “What should I say next?” This tension and fear are exposed in the salespeople’s speech. They talk too fast, repeat themselves, stutter, or under extreme stress completely forget what they were going to say.

The reality of this situation is that the salesperson must project a calm, cool, collected presence to the customer at all times. To do otherwise would increase the customer’s stress level. Nervousness and agitation may be misinterpreted and convince customers that the salesperson has something to hide. Verbal faux pas may be thought of as incompetence. Think about your last visit to your dentist. What would your reaction have been if before he started to work on your mouth he seemed nervous, agitated, or flustered? You would be scared and have a very stressful appointment.

HBR: What Makes Great Salespeople

Below is a blog post from Harvard Business Review. Do you have the right customer engagement?

What Makes Great Salespeople

What behaviors drive successful salespeople? Last year, research by my people analytics company VoloMetrix identified three things that were highly correlated with top performing reps: More time spent with customers; larger internal networks; and more time spent with managers and senior leadership. These three behaviors persisted regardless of region, territory, or sales role, suggesting that they are foundational ingredients for success.

We came to these conclusions after studying the sales force of a large B2B software company using six quarters of quota attainment data for several thousand employees. We then correlated it against 18 months of VoloMetrix-created people analytics KPIs. Since then, we have had the opportunity to work with several more companies to perform similar and much deeper analyses.

Building off of the earlier findings, we have developed a broader framework for each of the behaviors we idenftified (two of which we combined), plus an additional one:

  1. Customer engagement.This not not only includes overall time spent with customers, but also factors in the number of accounts touched; time spent with each; frequency of interactions; and breadth and depth of relationships built within them.
  2. Internal networks.We’ve found that it’s useful to break internal network characteristics into three sub-categories:
    • General: This includes overall number of relationships within the company; time spent interacting with other colleagues; and influence within the network.
    • Support resources: A set of metrics focused on the relationships reps built with sales support staff, including pre-sales specialists, inside sales reps, and others.
    • Management: A set of metrics concentrated on relationships between reps and their direct managers, as well as broader rep engagement with company leadership.
  3. Energy:This new angle, which is very much related to the previous two, includes a collection of metrics that measure overall time and effort exerted by salespeople.

In total, our new analysis suggests that sales success requires the right engagement model with customers, the right relationships within your own company, and putting in the needed time and energy. These insights may seem intuitive — and in many ways they are — but, according to the data, the details matter. Here’s how our findings play out:

Customer engagement doesn’t just mean spending time with more customers. We’ve stated before that top performers spend up to 33% more time with customers per week which, depending on the company, is typically 2-4 additional hours of time.  It’s clear that time with customers matters. However, through further analysis we’ve found that degree of focus can matter as much or more than total time. For example, in one large B2B technology company, top performers spent 18% more time with customers per week. Yet they interacted with 40% fewer accounts over the course of a quarter allowing them to spend more time with each of those accounts relative to lower performers.

In other words, depth trumps breadth when it comes to accounts — top sellers focused on building deeper relationships with fewer customers rather than casting a wider net of shallower engagement.

Of course, these metrics are not one size-fits-all and the right balance varies by company based on what they are selling (e.g., highly consultative sales processes benefit most from depth whereas more transactional models can benefit from breadth). Regardless, these key metrics relating to time spent with customers and account relationships have emerged both as strong predictors of sales outcomes as well as highly actionable metrics for sales leaders to track, incorporate into territory design and use to help their teams improve performance.

A bigger internal network is generally better, with some nuances in sales support. No matter how we cut the data, top performers have significantly larger networks within their company (30-40% larger, which typically equates to 10-20 more people they interact with regularly), higher centrality (a measure of influence within the network), and spend more time with leadership. When you think about the level of complexity in a large organization, it makes sense that people who find ways to build more relationships get exposed to more ideas from across the business, are able to access expertise quickly when needed, and have more context about what’s happening. All of these things help them to be successful.

But building relationships doesn’t mean attending lots of meetings, especially those with 20 or so attendees. When we measure relationships, it involves both a frequency and an intimacy component. To qualify as a “relationship,” you have to not only interact with someone frequently (at least 2x per month), but that it also has to be in a relatively intimate group (five or fewer people involved in the meeting or email). So to establish a large network, you have to interact with many people, on separate threads, frequently.

This takes a lot of time. The top performers we study typically spend anywhere from 10-15 hours per week interacting with small groups inside their companies. Often sales executives balk at the idea of their reps spending so much time internally instead of out selling, but the data suggests that it is time well spent.

When we work with companies, we help them find ways to minimize large standing meetings and instead create ways to enable broader networks consisting of smaller groups of people. The unfortunate truth is that top performers in most companies are finding ways to build these bigger networks in spite of the processes they work within rather than because of them.

Management relationships are another important aspect of internal networking. Generally speaking, more exposure to senior leadership correlates with successful sales outcomes. That said, we have found a lot of variation in the specific interaction patterns between sellers and front-line managers across regions, product lines, and companies. For example, in some companies we have seen an inverse correlation between front-line manager involvement and seller success, meaning that top sellers spend less time with their direct manager than lower performers do. However, even in these situations, the top sellers spend relatively more time with other members of senior leadership.

Lastly, in complex sales organizations, the relationships between sellers and sales support staff is an area where more relationships is not necessarily better. In fact, in some cases sellers who have more relationships with sales support workers perform worse. This is sometimes the result of inconsistent pairings in which, for example, sellers aren’t able to work with the same pre-sales specialist consistently and instead have to work with a different one each time. This can lead to more relationships, but a weaker team. We’ve also seen that there is a stronger relationship between the time spent with support relationships and the complexity and number of products being sold than there is to actual outcomes. In other words, sellers who are trying to sell a broader portfolio or simply have more complex offerings are more heavily dependent on support resources, regardless of their effectiveness.

Sales is hard work (but you probably knew that already). Consistently, we’ve found that top performers simply put in more time. Their weeks are approximately four hours longer, with up to 40% more time spent outside of normal working hours compared to their lower-performing counterparts. But the answer isn’t saying that everyone should just work harder; even low performers work an average of 50 hours per week.

The implication, instead, is that every hour is precious. So echoing some of the findings above, here are some changes that could be made at the company level:

  • If salespeople have 15 hours available to spend with customers in a week, focusing that time on five accounts at three hours each rather than 15 accounts at one hour each is likely to lead to better outcomes
  • To facilitate the growth of internal networks, start with onboarding programs. New hires should meet and interact with a large and diverse set of colleagues, and can be supported through collaboration tools, trainings, coaching, and other mechanisms.
  • Create a model where sellers have access to consistent support resources and staff. Having to start over with a different specialist in each account adds lots of overhead and reduces outcomes.
  • Know that every additional product line in a seller’s bag comes at the cost of requiring them to build more expertise and more internal relationships to have a shot at being successful. While offering a broad portfolio can provide a powerful value prop to customers in some situations, the implication on sellers needs to be carefully thought through.
  • The right approach varies by company, and these things can and do change over time; companies that gather objective data on a regular basis to inform decision making have a massive competitive advantage over those that rely only on anecdotes and gut feel. Organizations we work with, for example, receive automated weekly updates on all of these metrics aggregated by team without any manual data gathering.

Lastly, a note on causality. All of the above metrics are highly correlated with sales success, but we haven’t yet accumulated enough data to have confidence on which of these metrics are truly causal. So while it is true that top sellers spend more time with customers, it is not necessarily true that an underperformer would suddenly become more successful simply by spending more time with customers.

That said, rigorously proven causality is not a prerequisite for learning from these insights. Quite a few companies are enjoying immense value in the predictive power of these metrics, which typically account for up to 70% of the variance in sales outcomes quarter by quarter And having access to objective, up-to-date data on what behaviors works and don’t work within a specific sales organization is a powerful compliment to existing management tools and allows leaders to set their teams up for success.

Forrester: Better Customer Experience Correlates with Higher Revenue Growth

Harley Manning wrote a blog post on Forrester. What is your opinion? Does better customer experience lead to higher revenue?

Better Customer Experience Correlates with Higher Revenue Growth In Most Industries

Does customer experience really matter to business success – or is CX just the latest flavor of hype? Recently Forrester completed a six month research effort aimed at answering that question by examining the relationship between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth.

Why did we pick revenue growth as the measure of business success? Because it’s the number one priority of global business leaders recently surveyed by Forrester.

So with that in mind, here’s what we did: Aided by some long-suffering research associates, some of our top industry experts and I picked pairs of competitors where one of each pair had significantly higher customer experience quality than the other (as rated by their own customers). We did this for five very different industries: cable, airlines, investments, retail, and health insurance. Then we built models that compared the compound annual growth rate in revenue of the CX leaders to the CX laggards between 2010 and 2014.

The results were intriguing. There was a clear correlation between superior customer experience and superior revenue growth for cable companies, airlines, full service investment firms, direct investment firms, and retailers.  However, the magnitude of the difference varied widely by industry, with cable coming out on top: 35.4% for the CX leader versus 5.7% for the CX laggard. Even more interesting, the results were a virtual draw for health insurers – superior CX didn’t seem to matter much when it came to revenue growth.

Why doesn’t customer experience always correlate with revenue growth? And why does the correlation differ by industry? Let’s start with the fact that CX drives revenue by driving customer loyalty, something Forrester determined with our CX Index research. But CX-fueled customer loyalty only matters when customers have the freedom to switch their business among competing companies and some of those companies provide superior experiences – so customers can switch and there’s a rational reason for them to switch.

Think of it this way: There are many investment firms out there eager to do business with high net worth customers and there is a big difference between the experience provided by the CX leaders (like Edward Jones and Charles Schwab) and the CX laggards. Therefore superior customer experience drives substantial revenue growth for investments firms.

In contrast, most Americans still get their health insurance from their employers, who subsidize 75% of their premiums. Sure, consumers with employer-sponsored health plans could abandon those plans, go to an exchange, and switch to a different provider. But that’s not happening today because consumers won’t willingly quadruple their costs, even for a significant improvement in CX quality. So right now CX does not drive revenue growth in that industry (though that will change over the next few years, and better CX can reduce cost of service even now).

HBR – What Makes Great Salespeople

Below is a blog post from Harvard Business Review. Are you focusing on building deeper relationships with fewer customers or casting a wider net of shallower engagements?

What Makes Great Salespeople

What behaviors drive successful salespeople? Last year, research by my people analytics company VoloMetrix identified three things that were highly correlated with top performing reps: More time spent with customers; larger internal networks; and more time spent with managers and senior leadership. These three behaviors persisted regardless of region, territory, or sales role, suggesting that they are foundational ingredients for success.

We came to these conclusions after studying the sales force of a large B2B software company using six quarters of quota attainment data for several thousand employees. We then correlated it against 18 months of VoloMetrix-created people analytics KPIs. Since then, we have had the opportunity to work with several more companies to perform similar and much deeper analyses.

Building off of the earlier findings, we have developed a broader framework for each of the behaviors we idenftified (two of which we combined), plus an additional one:

  1. Customer engagement.This not not only includes overall time spent with customers, but also factors in the number of accounts touched; time spent with each; frequency of interactions; and breadth and depth of relationships built within them.
  2. Internal networks.We’ve found that it’s useful to break internal network characteristics into three sub-categories:
    • General: This includes overall number of relationships within the company; time spent interacting with other colleagues; and influence within the network.
    • Support resources: A set of metrics focused on the relationships reps built with sales support staff, including pre-sales specialists, inside sales reps, and others.
    • Management: A set of metrics concentrated on relationships between reps and their direct managers, as well as broader rep engagement with company leadership.
  3. Energy:This new angle, which is very much related to the previous two, includes a collection of metrics that measure overall time and effort exerted by salespeople.

In total, our new analysis suggests that sales success requires the right engagement model with customers, the right relationships within your own company, and putting in the needed time and energy. These insights may seem intuitive — and in many ways they are — but, according to the data, the details matter. Here’s how our findings play out:

Customer engagement doesn’t just mean spending time with more customers. We’ve stated before that top performers spend up to 33% more time with customers per week which, depending on the company, is typically 2-4 additional hours of time.  It’s clear that time with customers matters. However, through further analysis we’ve found that degree of focus can matter as much or more than total time. For example, in one large B2B technology company, top performers spent 18% more time with customers per week. Yet they interacted with 40% fewer accounts over the course of a quarter allowing them to spend more time with each of those accounts relative to lower performers.

In other words, depth trumps breadth when it comes to accounts — top sellers focused on building deeper relationships with fewer customers rather than casting a wider net of shallower engagement.

Of course, these metrics are not one size-fits-all and the right balance varies by company based on what they are selling (e.g., highly consultative sales processes benefit most from depth whereas more transactional models can benefit from breadth). Regardless, these key metrics relating to time spent with customers and account relationships have emerged both as strong predictors of sales outcomes as well as highly actionable metrics for sales leaders to track, incorporate into territory design and use to help their teams improve performance.

A bigger internal network is generally better, with some nuances in sales support. No matter how we cut the data, top performers have significantly larger networks within their company (30-40% larger, which typically equates to 10-20 more people they interact with regularly), higher centrality (a measure of influence within the network), and spend more time with leadership. When you think about the level of complexity in a large organization, it makes sense that people who find ways to build more relationships get exposed to more ideas from across the business, are able to access expertise quickly when needed, and have more context about what’s happening. All of these things help them to be successful.

But building relationships doesn’t mean attending lots of meetings, especially those with 20 or so attendees. When we measure relationships, it involves both a frequency and an intimacy component. To qualify as a “relationship,” you have to not only interact with someone frequently (at least 2x per month), but that it also has to be in a relatively intimate group (five or fewer people involved in the meeting or email). So to establish a large network, you have to interact with many people, on separate threads, frequently.

This takes a lot of time. The top performers we study typically spend anywhere from 10-15 hours per week interacting with small groups inside their companies. Often sales executives balk at the idea of their reps spending so much time internally instead of out selling, but the data suggests that it is time well spent.

When we work with companies, we help them find ways to minimize large standing meetings and instead create ways to enable broader networks consisting of smaller groups of people. The unfortunate truth is that top performers in most companies are finding ways to build these bigger networks in spite of the processes they work within rather than because of them.

Management relationships are another important aspect of internal networking. Generally speaking, more exposure to senior leadership correlates with successful sales outcomes. That said, we have found a lot of variation in the specific interaction patterns between sellers and front-line managers across regions, product lines, and companies. For example, in some companies we have seen an inverse correlation between front-line manager involvement and seller success, meaning that top sellers spend less time with their direct manager than lower performers do. However, even in these situations, the top sellers spend relatively more time with other members of senior leadership.

Lastly, in complex sales organizations, the relationships between sellers and sales support staff is an area where more relationships is not necessarily better. In fact, in some cases sellers who have more relationships with sales support workers perform worse. This is sometimes the result of inconsistent pairings in which, for example, sellers aren’t able to work with the same pre-sales specialist consistently and instead have to work with a different one each time. This can lead to more relationships, but a weaker team. We’ve also seen that there is a stronger relationship between the time spent with support relationships and the complexity and number of products being sold than there is to actual outcomes. In other words, sellers who are trying to sell a broader portfolio or simply have more complex offerings are more heavily dependent on support resources, regardless of their effectiveness.

Sales is hard work (but you probably knew that already). Consistently, we’ve found that top performers simply put in more time. Their weeks are approximately four hours longer, with up to 40% more time spent outside of normal working hours compared to their lower-performing counterparts. But the answer isn’t saying that everyone should just work harder; even low performers work an average of 50 hours per week.

The implication, instead, is that every hour is precious. So echoing some of the findings above, here are some changes that could be made at the company level:

  • If salespeople have 15 hours available to spend with customers in a week, focusing that time on five accounts at three hours each rather than 15 accounts at one hour each is likely to lead to better outcomes
  • To facilitate the growth of internal networks, start with onboarding programs. New hires should meet and interact with a large and diverse set of colleagues, and can be supported through collaboration tools, trainings, coaching, and other mechanisms.
  • Create a model where sellers have access to consistent support resources and staff. Having to start over with a different specialist in each account adds lots of overhead and reduces outcomes.
  • Know that every additional product line in a seller’s bag comes at the cost of requiring them to build more expertise and more internal relationships to have a shot at being successful. While offering a broad portfolio can provide a powerful value prop to customers in some situations, the implication on sellers needs to be carefully thought through.
  • The right approach varies by company, and these things can and do change over time; companies that gather objective data on a regular basis to inform decision making have a massive competitive advantage over those that rely only on anecdotes and gut feel. Organizations we work with, for example, receive automated weekly updates on all of these metrics aggregated by team without any manual data gathering.

Lastly, a note on causality. All of the above metrics are highly correlated with sales success, but we haven’t yet accumulated enough data to have confidence on which of these metrics are truly causal. So while it is true that top sellers spend more time with customers, it is not necessarily true that an underperformer would suddenly become more successful simply by spending more time with customers.

That said, rigorously proven causality is not a prerequisite for learning from these insights. Quite a few companies are enjoying immense value in the predictive power of these metrics, which typically account for up to 70% of the variance in sales outcomes quarter by quarter And having access to objective, up-to-date data on what behaviors works and don’t work within a specific sales organization is a powerful compliment to existing management tools and allows leaders to set their teams up for success.

This Is How I Work – Greg Branecky

Greg Branecky has over 35 years of experience in the building supply industry: in sales, inventory, and purchasing.

Over the years, Greg has been president and treasurer of the Lumber Dealers of Connecticut, as well as Lumber Person of the Year in 2003. He is currently President of the Lumber Building and Material Dealer Foundation (LBMDF), and served on the executive committee of the Northeast Retail Lumber Association.

This Is How I Work

Mobile device:

Moto G

Current Computer:

PC Dell XPS 8500 64 bit Windows; 12GB RAM

One word that best describes how you work:

Working Smart: When I first started a class for Computer Aided Design (CAD), I became easily frustrated because I had to start over if a mistake was made or had to keep drawing the same line until it was correct.  After a week, learned shortcuts and was able to work smartly.

What apps/software tools can’t you live without?

Evernote: I’ve been with Evernote since 2009. Evernote is my digital brain. I can save emails, web clippings, and maps. My newest use is saving highlighted text on a kindle.

IFTTT is another tool. All Lumber Dealers Association of Connecticut (LDAC) blogs posts can be saved in Evernote or tweet them. There are so many channels and recipes IFTTT has.

Feedly is as important as  Evernote. All my RSS feeds are displayed in a newspaper type format. This is how I keep up with my google alerts and news for the day.

What is your workspace like?

I use organized piles. In my next office, I would like to have a desk that can be switched between standing and sitting.

What do you listen to while you work?

Focus@will or Alternative: when I listen to Focus@will, I’m very productive. The music beat works well for me.

What is your best time-saving shortcut or hack?

I setup categories or folders for my emails. For example, I use follow-up folders and separate folders for each of the different organizations I’m involved with.

Also, I use rules to color code my emails by who they are from, like work vs organizational emails.

Another hack is using CTRL-Enter on websites names. For example, type the address name then hit [CTRL-ENTER]. This will add the prefix and .com to the address.  Also, you can scroll down pages in your web browser simply by hitting the SPACEBAR.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

Pen & Paper and ToDoist: Pen & Paper is my favorite. However, I like ToDoist because I can use IFTTT with  Evernote and other apps to plan projects.

Besides your phone/computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

My ten-year-old IPOD. I’ve been listening to podcasts since I received it. I’m able to continually learn while driving. Two podcasts I’ve been listening to for ten years are Manager Tools and Grammar Girl.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Introvert

What’s your sleep routine like?

I’m a morning person. I’m in bed by 10:00 pm and up between 5 and 6 am

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I received is how to institute change at work by introducing new processes in small increments which will make the change less intimidating for others.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading Coolidge by Amity Shlaes. I read 20-24 books a year. You can follow me on GoodReads. There, I post books I want to read and have read.

How do you recharge?

I recharged by being with my wife and family.

Coolidge on Budget and Citizenship

CoolidgeCoolidge by Amity Shlaes is a fascinating biography of the 30th President of the United States. Below is an exempt from the book about budgets and good citizenship.

Coolidge on Budget and Citizenship Coolidge

“The budget idea, I may admit, is a sort of obsession with me,” he told a group of Jewish philanthropists in a phone conversation from his room at the White House. “I believe in budgets. I want other people to believe in them. I have had a small one to run my own home; and besides that, I am the head of the organization that makes the greatest of all budgets, that of the United States government. Do you “Yonder, then, that at times I dream of balance sheets and sinking funds, and deficits, and tax rates, and all the rest?” He continued, “I regard a good budget as among the noblest monuments of virtue.” When you budgeted, you could take care of your own people; that was important, too. Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutchman who had ruled the colony of New Amsterdam, had asked Jews to make what became known as “the Stuyvesant Pledge,” to commit to taking care of their own ill and indigent should they stay in New Amsterdam. The colonial community had honored that pledge and had sustained the tradition through the centuries. Coolidge let the charities know he appreciated that: “I want you to know that I feel you are making good citizens, that you are strengthening the government.”

JMM: 3 Myths About Optimists

Below is a blog post from John Michael Morgan.

3 Myths About Optimists

What is optimism exactly? It’s a mental habit that can impact your life in incredible ways. You can practice and master it. Use it to help you achieve your goals. Or, you can ignore it and live a life of pessimism which lead to a life of failure and misery.

Optimism is one of the most important traits of high achievers. It’s also the most consistent trait among them. How many successful pessimists do you know? Exactly.

History is full of successful people and great leaders who mastered the habit of optimism. Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt both maintained optimism during dark times. I’m referring to the Civil War and Great Depression of course. Despite the challenges they faced each day, they maintained hope for tomorrow.

This being said, optimists are greatly misunderstood. I’ve found three common misconceptions about them I wanted to shatter…

MYTH 1. Optimists are always happy and never in a bad mood.

I wish this was the case! No one is happy all the time. Bad things happen. Sad things happen. It’s okay for you to have bad days. Optimists have their down moments, but they don’t live there. They bounce back and move forward.

MYTH 2. Optimists are lonely because most of the world are pessimists.

While it’s seemingly true that most people are pessimistic in nature, optimists are not lonely. Because likes attract likes and success attracts success. Optimists are easy to find. We aren’t hiding. Although it may seem like at times because we do avoid pessimists as they breed anxiety and worry.

MYTH 3: Optimists don’t deal with reality

Optimists don’t throw judgement to the wind and hope for the best. That’s a foolish way to live. Optimists use sound judgement to find the opportunity in a bad situation. Then they decide on a plan of action based on their judgement. Pessimists lack the courage to find victory in defeat. That’s what draws the line between the two.

Don’t focus on all the bad things that might happen or are currently happening. Instead, make a list of everything good happening now and the opportunities you have for tomorrow. At the start of each day, make a list of 3 things you’re grateful for. It’s wonderful if you have a longer list than 3 (and you do) but just get in the habit of listing out 3. Then list 3 opportunities you have right now.

These opportunities could be a business relationship that is strengthening, or a new idea that would increase customer service in your business. It doesn’t matter if the opportunity is big or small. Just write it down.

Do this daily and you start forming the habit of optimism.

Optimism may be misunderstood by some, but don’t overlook its effectiveness. There’s more to it than just “thinking positive”. If you believe that’s all there is to it, then you have some work to do.

When optimism becomes a strong habit you need not fear the future. Meet it head on. Even when a challenge arrises, you’ll be ready to overcome it.