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SalesGrowth MD, Inc. | Denver/ Englewood, CO


Most people have heard the title phrase and possibly even used it a time or two but do you know the phrase’s origins? 

The phrase “We have met the enemy and he is us” is an offshoot of the Oliver Hazard Perry quote from the War of 1812 "We have met the enemy and they are ours”. The updated version gained widespread popularity when it appeared in the Pogo comic strip in the 1960’s as a Viet Nam War reference.

Now that you know the history pf the phrase, what does it have to do with selling? Well, for most of us, our biggest obstacle to becoming sales superstars resides in the 6 inches between our ears.

We have an enormous amount of scripting from our past that causes us to avoid the behavior required for sales superstardom. At Sandler Training we call this assortment of mental barriers “head trash” and I think that is a good way to sum it up.

These self-limiting beliefs, or head trash, pop up at the worst times for salespeople and cause the telephone to feel like it weighs 800 pounds when it is time to make prospecting calls. Other times that belief system might cause a seller to drop the price just to close the deal they are too afraid to lose. 

Your head trash almost always impacts sales related tasks or conversations that lie outside your comfort zone. How can you tell if something is outside your comfort zone? It's easy, just pay attention to the selling tasks you regularly put off until tomorrow and you will find the area outside your comfort zone.

So what is a sales professional to do in order to keep the “internal enemy” at bay? The solution is actually quite simple even though the discipline required is far from easy.

I have found that most sales professionals can come up with a great list of the proper behaviors they know they SHOULD be doing and assemble them into a daily behavioral guide or “cook book” as we call them. That, as previously stated, is the easy part.

The more difficult piece is managing the accountability required to ensure that the prescribed behaviors are actually performed on a daily basis (versus being  put off until tomorrow). Once again, the accountability element is far from easy yet that is the only place where our head trash can be shown the dumpster.

The most successful solution we have found is the practice of daily journaling. This is a process where individuals can post their daily goals for both behavior and attitude then capture how well they performed against those objectives every day. 

Journaling can also be a vehicle for expressing your hopes, fears, dreams and any “head trash” you need to dump that day. Of course positive thoughts, beliefs, aspirations, etc. may also be collated and put onto paper. 

Although some people (myself among them) prefer to use an electronic tool such as Evernote for this process most find a nicely bound journal with a good pen to be the more effective and enjoyable way to record their daily journal. It doesn't matter as long as long as the method you choose makes it as easy as possible for you to maintain the disciple

So, the next time you meet the enemy only to find he is you, pick up a pen, grab your journal, and get to writing!

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