Tom Black | April 6, 2014

For 30 years, I have been saying “Embrace Change.” Our hope for the future is based on “change.”

In every change we face, there is a seed for greater growth. Charles Darwin said in “The Origin of the Species”: “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most adaptive to change.” All very true.

However, let me back up a step. We as salespeople can change our brains to improve our performance, the amount of money we make and our lifestyle — but improvement is based on change.

Science used to believe that once the brain reached maturity it could no longer change, leading to “You cannot teach an old dog new tricks.”

In other words, our potential is fixed biologically. Shawn Achor explores this thoroughly in his book “The Happiness Advantage.” We now know that there is something called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to the brain’s ability to restructure itself after training or practice. No matter how old we get, our brains can change.

Scientists proved this with brain scans of taxi drivers in London. A cab driver’s hippocampus, the part of the brain that holds spatial representation capacity, is measurably larger than that of a bus driver. By driving the same route every day, the bus drivers do not need to exercise this part of the brain as much. The cabbies, on the other hand, rely on it constantly for navigation.

As salespeople, we want our brains to change in order to make us tougher emotionally, more positive, better wordsmiths, etc. The beautiful and exciting part is that scientists have found no limits by age and no limits on the human mind’s capacity for change. We can change as much as we want to for as long as we live. Better yet, we can make the change last as long as we like. Now that you know the facts, scientifically how do you make change that keeps you growing and lasts your entire adult life?

As I read and live here are three things I’ve found that can help you grow and succeed as salespeople:

• Exercise. Everything I read says exercise releases endorphins that improve our mood and attitude. Without drugs we can improve our disposition and our confidence. In fact in some studies exercise was better than anti-depressants in relieving depression. In selling I always want to be up and exercise helps me biologically to improve my mindset.

• Give to others. When we give to others, our brains release more chemicals. Chemicals that help us to have lasting improvements in our performance and how we deal with people. One of my sales people who makes too much money (just kidding) says that every act of kindness he does for others who cannot repay him makes him more enthusiastic and appreciative of his life. Then these positive feelings are conveyed to the prospect when he talks to them. Selling is a transference of feeling. I did not think of it but I believe it and have seen it work. “Whatever you put in the lives of others comes back unto your own.”

• Give unbridled praise. Just like the wild horse that runs without a bridle; praise your co-workers, your customers and your vendors. Scientists tell us that the act of praise for others causes our brain to react as if we were praising ourselves, and we could all use more praise and recognition. The benefit — you will perform better yourself.

Science is learning more about the brain’s ability to change us and improve what we do and who we are every day. But for now know, “You can teach an old dog new tricks.” We can change for the better every day.

Sales consultant Tom Black hopes to provide a touch of humor, inspiration and motivation for those along for the ride in the roller-coaster career of sales. Learn more at Questions or comments? Email me at [email protected]. {end}

Read online