Friday, 10 October 2014

Mindful Attention and your Selling brain part one

The much loved comical saleswoman Mrs Slocum ( played by Molly Sugden) from BBC’s TV sitcom  “ Are you being served” used to express her decisions  about various matters with the catchphrase
“... and I am unanimous in that...”

A salesperson’s mind  however is not one thing.

 Apparently the Old English word from which our word 'mind' is derived is gemynd which  refers to memory. As neuroscience discovers more about the workings of the brain, we realise that memory – although an important aspect is not the only aspect.

The Thinker in Lego® bricks @NathanSawaya
 #artofthebrick exhibition currently 
at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London
Our human mind is the most complex information processing system we know. 

Suppose our mind is seen as a contemporary mobile device,  let's call it the FOS i-mind * , it has all sorts of useful design features. (* Fruits of Success i-mind  :) )

However this sales mind also has many glitches and weaknesses.

 Fortunately, your FOS i-mind* has apps to help it work better available for retinal download from this blog  ;) !  

Using your industry standard  free Retinal Information Download App (RIDA) you have free access to the 24/7 streaming fruitsofsuccesswithhugh.blogspot  through FOS i-mind *. 

The content is in the form of fonted characters and images received by your FOS i-mind * and RIDA software to your personal retinas through your natural focusing facility i-lens. 

OK enough of this funny nonsense-  now to the serious matter of using our selling brain better.

Neuroscience in the last few years has been helping us to better understand the workings of our mind.

  1. Attention
  2. Working memory
  3. Logical and rational thought
  4. Learning
  5. Knowledge 
  6. Creativity
  7. Intelligence 
For this post let's look at how to use the first app for better selling  brain usage

1. The Sales Attention App
The Sales Attention App.
Probably the most useful feature  of a salesperson's brain begins with attention. Attention determines what you are conscious of at any given moment of opportunity.

 Learning to work this app is just about the most important thing your selling brain can do. 

Firstly this app will help you give your buyer a 'damned good listening to !' .

In research polls of Buyers' views of salespeople, time and again they wish we would listen more !

However to make sense of the frantic business world world , we need to filter out almost everything around us and focus only on what is relevant - namely what the client is saying to us.

Such focused attention is essential for our learning and memorising.

So if you can BOOST your ability to pay attention it follows you can at almost improve everything in selling.

Apparently the the brain has two attention systems.One the 'bottom up"   BU mode, automatically snaps up potential new information (but often distracting information) e.g. moving objects, sudden noises and sensations of touch. BU mode is fast , unconscious and always on.

The other system the " Top Down"  TD mode is  deliberate , focused attention which zooms in on what ever we need to think about  and hopefully stays there long enough to get the job done.

This is the type of attention that is useful for doing tasks that require concentration like listening to your client.

Unluckily being distracted is both a bug and a design feature. TD mode requires effort and is prone to losing focus or being overridden by the BU system

Distractability comes therefore as both a bug and a design feature. The good news from neuroscience is that we can tweak our attention settings to stay more focused more easily.

We can cut down BU mode by:

  • switching off email notifications, Facebook alerts etc
  • putting mobile on silent 

UCL's cognitive neuroscientist  Nilli Lavie suggests we actually should give our brains MORE  to do.

Her work has shown that better control of TD mode comes by not reducing but increasing inputs.  Lavie's Load Theory says that once the brain  reaches its limits of sensory processing , it can't take in anything else including distractions. She observes that this seems to work for both distractions and mind wandering.

Hugh Alford standing next to the attention grabbing
 Giant Pencil in Lego® bricks 
 #artofthebrick exhibition currently 
at the Old Truman Brewery, Brick Lane, London 

Lavie recommends adding visual aspects to make more attention-grabbing without making it more difficult e.g. colour bordering a document , using a colour for copy. So the old adage about taking physical notes has neuro-scientific support.

Further studies are under way  and initial results appear to  suggest  the right kind of brain training could help most people.

The next best option is learning to chil-out in the right way. 

Experienced meditators  have been shown to have thicker parts of the brain associated with attention, while other studies have found that attention scores after a short course of meditation.

So learning to focus better may be as simple as making time to sit still and focus on not very much.

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