“The secret of the future is hidden in our daily routine,” says Vicki Bradley, Executive Coach with Vicki Bradley & Company, and if sales and marketing professionals can cultivate new habits as part of their routines, they will increase their chances of success.

To achieve that, you have to rewire your brain, Bradley told ITWC President Fawn Annan during the recent Closing the Gap in Sales and Marketing webinar. “The brain’s highest priorities are survival and comfort, so it resists change in the form of excuses and justifications.”

This is normal behaviour, but it’s important to be open to changing existing habits or starting new ones to support greater success, she said. Bradley outlined three steps to change brain programming to establish a new routine.

Step 1:  Build a solid foundation

The first step is to develop a plan based on what you want to achieve, said Bradley. Choosing your top priorities will help to maintain focus.  It’s important to think about why it’s important to you to make a change. “Understanding your ‘why’ is absolutely critical,” she said. For example, as a senior corporate executive, Bradley asked employees to change habits to cut costs so the company could avoid making layoffs. Once everyone understood the rationale, they were motivated to adjust their routines.

As part of this process, professionals should consider what strengths they can leverage to help them change their habits. Finally, they should make it easier to build new habits into their daily routines with a strong start and end to the day. “Instead of jumping into email in the morning, begin the day by thinking about what you want to accomplish and then review what you’ve done at the end of the day,” she said.

Step 2: Strategies for Implementing and Sustaining Change

The next step is to set yourself up for success by making it harder for your brain to self-sabotage, said Bradley. First, establish a frequency and a rate of progression for practicing the new habit. “Start at a level that is well within your range and build over time,” she said.

It helps to set up a solid support system to give you reminders or to challenge you to go the extra mile. “People function at a higher level with support from others,” said Bradley. As well, try to build the new habit into things you do on a regular basis, called keystone habits, such as your morning routine, she said.

It may be necessary to reset with changing schedules, such as after a vacation. You also need to think about how structure can help you adopt a new habit, Bradley said.

Step 3: Create newly designed thoughts and actions

To change habits, you need to change your thinking, said Bradley. You can do this by identifying the habit you want to change and “redesign the old habit into a new thought and visualize success.” For example, before making a sales call, a sales representative should visualize the client signing the deal. At the end of the day, the salesperson should review why the call was successful and refine those habits. After that, it’s a matter of continuing the habit until the brain sees it as a new reality. “You’ll be surprised how quickly you can make a positive change,” said Bradley.

This was the second if a four-part webinar series.

The first episode The Secret to More Deals: Open your mind can be viewed on demand

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada