short-term memory

How often have you heard that cornerbacks in football need to have a short-term memory? Well guess what? In sales, you need a short-term memory too.

When cornerbacks mess up, everyone notices, but they can’t afford to spend the rest of the game distracted and wallowing in self-doubt. For example, take the 2015 story about Jimmy Smith, a Baltimore Raven player. He had a terrible day at the office, but he knew he had to move past it. And he did–fast.

You will have bad days, too, but if you dwell on them, they’ll just repeat themselves. Here are three examples of when a short-term memory can actually help you in business.

1. When You Lose a Sale

You worked hard on this deal, you felt sure you had it, and then it was gone. Either a non-consumption or maybe a competitor got the better of you. Go ahead, get frustrated, that shows you care, but you have got to move on. Even if the loss leads other people to doubt you—your boss, your teammates, even your spouse—you can’t let yourself get caught up in feeling like a failure. If you do, you’re toast. Identify your mistakes, learn from them, and move on!

2. When You Give a Bad Presentation

You get up to deliver a PowerPoint and you mangle your lines or that slide that was supposed to be funny offends somebody or just falls flat. It happens. The consequences might be minimal or catastrophic, but either way you can’t let it create self-doubt. If you start to worry about failure every time you get up to speak, you will no longer have a speaking career. So let it go. Laugh at yourself, if possible. It helps.

3. When You are the Weak Link in a Process

In many industries, there is a process to a sale. In my business, life insurance, that process can take months. Many people are involved and any one of them has the potential to make a mistake, drop the ball, and stop the whole sale. Let’s say the one who makes the mistake is you. You have got to admit your fault, learn from it, and then move on. If you focus on the mistake or if you try to deflect the blame, either way you’ll cause a distraction that will make things worse for the other members of your team—in other words, a new mistake! Obsess about or try to deny that mistake, too, and you’ll quickly dig yourself a hole you can’t escape from. Do yourself and everybody else a favor; learn from it, forget about it and get back to your job.

Cornerbacks know they won’t win ‘em all. They will get beat, but then they will come back. You cannot win every sale, either. Know this up front and save yourself angst by having a short-term memory.


3 Key Points:

1) If you lose a sale, identify your mistakes, learn from them, and move on.

2) Don’t let a bad moment be your downfall. Gain confidence and get back at it.

3) Mistakes happen. Realize this early. Admit when you make a mistake and be better for it.





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