What is the Tough-Timer Challenge?
The rules are simple. For thirty consecutive days (including weekends), complete the Daily Mental Flex® and plan every sales call.
The Daily Mental Flex® is your daily guide to building mental strength. It’s a collection of exercises inspired by positive mental programming, positive environmental programming, and tough-timer characteristics. You’ll notice the common themes presented in the six daily mental flex exercises. The Daily Mental Flex® requires commitment. Positive change only happens through commitment and dedication to the process.
Begin your DMF® in the morning before starting your day. You don’t need to complete the DMF® in one sitting, but you do need to complete each exercise before the end of the day. This requires focus and commitment.
The Daily Mental Flex® includes a weekly focus. Focus on one area where you need extra conditioning. For your focus area of the week, you’ll double-up on your exercises. For the sake of clarity, EVERY DAY YOU MUST COMPLETE ALL SIX EXERCISES. Every morning, write down your flex focus for the week. Each exercise is critical, but it is most critical to focus on the areas where you need the greatest improvement. For example, if your weekly focus is discipline, then you should repeatedly strengthen this area to build on it. It is important to switch your weekly focus. Switching focus creates balance and a strong mental foundation.
Step One: Complete the Daily Mental Flex® every day.
Prevailing through tough times requires daily commitment. Condition your mind every day to get mentally stronger. These six exercises represent your daily workout. For your complete guide to building mental strength, refer to Chapters 5 and 6 in your book.
Exercise #1: Gratitude
Journal a half page on what you are thankful for. If gratitude is your focal exercise, journal a full page.
Tough timers have an attitude of gratitude. Being grateful reduces stress, enhances health and happiness. Can you think of a better way to begin your day? The key is not just to answer the question, “What are you grateful for today?” but to think about the answer.
Exercise #2: Continuous Improvement
Spend fifteen minutes on a continuous-improvement activity. If continuous improvement is your weekly focus, then spend 30 minutes.
Tough timers look for ways to improve. Highlight one area you need to improve. This area of improvement could be personal or business related. Tough timers challenge themselves to get better daily. Here are several other continuous improvement ideas: read, listen to a podcast, role-play a presentation, get organized, improve writing skills, product training, tweak your messaging, improve selling skills.
Exercise #3: Discipline
Complete a task you don’t feel like completing. If discipline is your weekly focus, then complete two tasks you don’t feel like completing.
Tough timers have the self-discipline to complete tasks they don’t feel like completing. What is the one thing you don’t feel like doing today? On your to-do list, the bothersome tasks are at the bottom of the list. For some salespeople, it’s making a tough call, cold calling a prospect, completing a call report, or scheduling next week’s appointments. Do the things you do not feel like doing. Every time you do, you become mentally stronger.
Exercise #4: Pruning and planting
List one way you will prune negativity or plant positivity. If this is your focus exercise, then list two ways.
Tough timers prune negativity and plant positivity. Pruning is removing negativity whenever and wherever you can. For example, if a colleague is negative, prune them from your day. At the same time, surround yourself with positivity. That includes positive people and positive messages. Surround yourself with positive people and messages that inspire you. These messages include positive affirmations, quotes, positive videos, posters, podcasts. Every day, prune negativity or plant positivity.
Exercise #5: Positive Reframing
Think of something negative that happened today and find a positive outcome resulting from this negative event. If this is your weekly focus, think of two events.
Tough timers achieve positive outcomes through negative events. Tough timers train their brain to find opportunities through adversity. For example, you lost a sale, which is obviously negative. Instead of moping over the loss, learn from it. You conduct a review of the loss and realize you weren’t prepared. As a result, you take positive action. You practice, role-play, and prepare for your next opportunity. You think, ‘I lost the sale, but now I’m better prepared for the next one.’ Think of a negative event. How can you positively reframe the event?
Exercise #6: Reducing Friction
Complete one activity today to make tomorrow’s goals easier to achieve. If this is your weekly focus, complete two activities.
Tough timers proactively set themselves up for success. Your daily success does not begin that morning, it begins the day before. Prepare today for tomorrow’s success. For example, your goal is to make ten prospecting calls before lunch. How would you prepare today to accomplish tomorrow’s goals? You could prepare a list of prospects in advance, research those prospects, and pre-plan each one of these calls.
Step Two: Plan every sales call
Our research shows that only 10 percent of sellers routinely plan their sales calls. There’s a good chance that pre-call planning will be the greatest challenge over this thirty-day period. That’s where a majority of sellers will fail. Tough timers use pre-call planning to gain a significant advantage over the competition. Pre-call planning is addressed in Chapter 13.
What is my call objective?
A sales call with no objective is defective. There must be a purpose to your call. A well-thought-out call objective is the foundation for any successful customer interaction.
How will I demonstrate support on this call?
During tough times, it’s critical to support your customers and prospects.
How can I be a merchant of hope on this call?
During tough times, people need hope. Your buyers are surrounded by negativity and uncertainty. Be a positive information source. Before you call or meet with a customer, find good news to share with them. During tough times, people are hungry for hope. Hope helps you see a brighter future, even when dark days are upon us. You have an opportunity to lift people up. Share a helping of what people are hungry for, hope.
How will I stretch this decision maker’s time horizon?
Stretch the buyer’s time horizon forward and backwards. Transporting the buyer into the future enables you to bypass today’s negativity. Ask future-oriented questions so the buyer takes a longer-term view. Stretch the buyer’s time horizon backwards. Reflect on a previous tough time with the buyer. This reflection highlights how the buyer emerged stronger from a previous tough time. This reflection reminds the buyer of their resilience and their progress from the previous tough time. Refer to Chapter 9 (Discover) for a list of questions and ideas.
What is my probing objective?
The types of questions you ask vary depending on your call objective. Refer to your call objective and determine what questions you need to ask. Create a list of questions to generate dialogue. Refer to Chapter 9 (Discover) for a list of questions and ideas.
What is my presentation objective?
What you present is determined by the buyer’s needs. Those needs can change. Be flexible in your presentation. Refer to Chapter 10 (Persuade) for a complete list of presentation ideas.
What obstacles do I anticipate?
Obstacles appear at any stage of the selling process. If you’re in sales, you’re going to hear objections. Buyers might say, “The timing just isn’t right,” or, “We just don’t have a budget right now.” These objections are common as cash-strapped buyers wait out the tough times. Be prepared to respond to these objections. You can anticipate this resistance without creating an objection.
How was the overall health of this business before the tough time?
Some companies are better prepared to handle tough times. Financially sound companies see tough times as opportunities.
How is this specific industry impacted by tough times?
One person’s pain is another’s pleasure. Tough times affect each industry differently. Just because some companies are suffering doesn’t mean all companies are suffering. Analyze your customer base to determine what industries are performing better. Increase your activity in these industries.
What action do I want from the buyer at the end of this call?
There must be a call-to-action. The call-to-action is what you want the buyer to do at the end of the call; for example, sending information, scheduling a follow-up meeting, or signing a contract. Clearly state the customer call-to-action.
The great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.
Have you ever been told you cannot do something? A colleague may tell you, “Don’t bother pursuing that prospect, they’ll never buy from you,” or “You’ll never get a meeting with that prospect.” Like me, you heard these skeptical remarks from colleagues over the years. How do you respond to these doubt-filled statements? Did you give in or push even harder? Although these words are meant to discourage your effort, they encourage you even more. The more you are doubted, the harder you should push.
In that vein, you need to know something about the 30-day Tough-Timer Challenge. A vast majority of sellers attempting this challenge will fail. I don’t say that to frustrate you. I want you to succeed. However, our research shows that a vast majority of sellers who attempt this challenge, will not successfully complete it. Are your competitive juices starting to flow? Good. Prove me wrong and prove yourself right by completing the thirty-day challenge.