'All his life he looked away… to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doin’ - Yoda to Luke Skywalker
You are in your car on your way to the next appointment. What are you doing? Are you rehearsing your presentation? Going over answers to possible rejections. Role playing scenarios in your head? Are you psyching yourself up by listening to your favorite music at a loud volume?
Stop. Stop now.
You are missing dozens of leads.
The basic tenet of Zen is to live in the moment, to pay attention. If you are driving in your car you really should be paying attention to the environment around you instead of having your mind on other things. Your sales will increase because of this.
Clear the monkey mind
There is a monkey chattering in your mind. You are thinking about everything BUT driving. You may be thinking about your schedule, your kids, your spouse, what to bring to the bake sale. All the while the monkey in your mind is screeching away. You just missed the sign that said 'New Owners' outside the auto mechanic garage you passed a moment ago. You just missed a lead.
By passing the same things day in and day out people tend to dismiss what they see. They fall into familiar patterns and that’s when the mind begins to wander to other things and the monkey mind begins.
By living in the moment, paying attention to what’s around you, you will begin to notice things. The billboard you pass by every day has changed, a new business has opened up. The marquee outside a restaurant is advertising new chef. The carpet store expanded their showroom. These are all possible sales opportunities depending on what type of service or product you offer.
One way to combat the monkey mind is to decide to pay complete attention before you even set foot in the car. Get a label maker and past the words “PAY ATTENTION" to the steering wheel. This is a fantastic reminder to be in the moment as it’s always right in front of you. Make a note of discovering ten things in between your start and your destination. Chances are you’ll find a lot more.
The road less travelled
We get it. The main roads are usually the fastest ways to get somewhere. The fastest way isn’t always the best way. How many mom & pop businesses are located on side streets? Lots. As a brand new TV station Account Executive I asked if I would inherit a sales list. I was handed a phone book instead. Great. Not only did I not have a list, all the established salespeople had gobbled up most of the big accounts and ad agencies. If I was to survive I needed to build a list, and fast. I began driving down side streets and visiting neighborhoods off the beaten path. I found dozens and dozens of businesses that had never been called on by media salespeople. Within a year I had built a massive list of small businesses. Some had surprising ad budgets for their size. I was able to help them grow and got referrals, increasing my list and hitting my budget. I was given the nickname 'The Bulldog' because I could sniff out business where none was perceived.
The next time you are in between appointments take a back road or two. You may just find a treasure trove of opportunities hidden in a neighborhood or side street.
Make a note of it
So, you’ve noticed a lot of opportunities to take advantage of. There’s new businesses opening up, restaurants changing hands, businesses expanding, relocating, and growing. How are you going to remember them all? You can’t exactly write them all down while driving in traffic. Some people take vocal notes on their smartphones. The trouble with that is they have to hunt for an app and open it before recording. One way around this is to buy a hand held voice recorder. Keep in next to you, out in the open, in a center console pocket. Recorders usually have a convenient record button that’s easy to find and you don’t have to open an app first, just press record and leave yourself a message on what you saw and what action you will take.
Putting it into action
Hopefully now you will be ready to make use of your new Zen technique. You will quiet the monkey mind and begin to discover that life happens outside the bubble of your driver’s seat. Leads will start to pile up and your sales will increase. How much does it cost to pay attention? Nothing. It’s an investment of being in the moment that will lead you to not only be more aware of your surroundings, but will allow you to be more productive with a slew of new prospects to call on.
By Duel Christian is a freelance writer and owner of Enso Creativ Advertising & Marketing LLC.