Improve Your Sales Behavior by Asking Why Blog Feature
Steve Bookbinder

By: Steve Bookbinder on April 5th, 2017

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Improve Your Sales Behavior by Asking Why

Sales Tips | Sales Training | sales improvement

What does it mean to improve?

Improvement is not about how much better you are now, it’s about the ongoing process of change that’s guided by constantly asking yourself why.

Why am I (still) doing what I do in the way I do it? Is there a better way?

We tend to think of ourselves fine as is, but acknowledge a slight improvement could make us better.  So, we isolate one thing we want to improve and leave everything else alone. Then, at the end of the process we are, in theory, permanently improved and won’t need training or development for a while now. Right?

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein

Training is practice. You must train yourself to improve. Because if you don’t, you are actually training yourself to continue doing what you’ve always done. Improvement requires a different kind of training.  We need to train ourselves to think differently about improvement.

To help you get started, here are the 3 things to consider as you commit yourself to improvement and how you can use these lessons to improve your sales behavior.


Forget About Today…Focus On Next Year

Next year, what will I wish I started today? We can think about the future in this way and gain an advantage by using the power of negative thinking: imagining the future and visualizing disappointment.  In the moment of failure and disappointment, we analyze everything very closely and eventually uncover what we should have done from the beginning. But let’s reverse our thinking by identifying what we should have done before we get started.

Lesson for Salespeople:

Ask yourself why you are focused on certain activities by assessing your weekly priorities and calendar. For instance, if you don’t have any scheduled appointments this week, how will that affect your sales performance and pipeline at the end of the year? The sales you are getting this month began with a combination of marketing and sales activities that may have initially touched the decision maker or their influencers a year ago. The lesson? Start your personal marketing campaign and networking efforts today to reap the benefits next year.

Changing What’s Broken Is Too Limiting

While it’s tempting to focus on changing a broken skill or habit, the process of improvement requires a more comprehensive approach. If you only focus on fixing what’s broken, then you may lose sight of your strengths. Try to focus on positive additions rather than subtractions and your goals will be much easier to obtain.

Lesson for Salespeople:

Sales has changed. Everything from who we are selling to, how we communicate with prospects and customers to how we position our solution in an ever-expanding and competitive marketplace.

So, in this new world of sales, it’s not so much about changing what’s broken but rather it’s about re-evaluating your entire sales process as well as the strategies and tactics you’re using. If you’ve been using the same email strategy and you’re not getting any responses, then it’s time to revisit your email and make some changes. But more importantly, consider what you can do in addition to your email strategy.

Originality comes from reading the changing situation and uncovering a novel way that your competitors may have missed. To do that, you need to be a student of the game of sales. You need confidence in your ability while humbled by how much more there is to learn. The sales winner is the one who does what they do with passion, conviction, and imagination.

Be Aware of Your Daily Decisions

Consider the decisions and choices you make on a daily basis. Some decisions become routine and require less thought like what time to wake up in the morning or what to eat for breakfast, while other decisions require deeper reflection like whether to change your job or make a big move to a new state. The majority of the time you’re dealing with routine choices that are repeated day in and day out, but when you’re trying to improve, how do these decisions influence your rate of success or failure?

Lesson for Salespeople:

To reach new sales heights, we need to make different choices. Whether you realize it or not, sales is a series of choices and decisions. Be aware of this by asking yourself: Why did I make this decision today? And how will this decision get me closer to my goal?

For instance, if you decide to prospect for new business in the exact same way you’ve been doing it for the last 4 years, then you’re making a choice that will most likely produce the same results as last year. However, if you make a different decision and start to prospect using a new approach or a combination of old and new, then your chances of improving your results will increase.

When you take the time to re-evaluate your choices about what sales activities to focus on, how to identify your priorities, and what it will take to manage your time more effectively, you will discover how and why you developed certain habits or patterns in the first place.

So, as we consider the importance of daily decision-making, what is the single most helpful goal you can set every day? Watch the video below to hear more on the subject.


The process of improvement starts with training yourself to ask why: Why am I doing this? And why is this choice important to reaching my goal?

If you want to change and improve your sales behavior, then focus on understanding what you should have done before you begin a sale, don’t limit yourself by honing in on what’s broken instead consider how you can make an addition, and finally, be aware of the importance and gravity of your daily decisions.

Sales success not only comes from selecting the right activities, but also taking the time to properly consider how and why you do the things you do during the sales process.

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About Steve Bookbinder

Steve Bookbinder is the CEO and sales expert at DMTraining. He has delivered more than 5,000 workshops and speeches to clients all over the world and has trained, coached, and managed more than 50,000 salespeople and managers. Steve continuously refreshes his training content to reflect his latest first-hand observations of salespeople across industries and regions. Through him, participants in his workshops and coaching sessions learn the best practices of today’s most successful sellers and managers across industries. Steve understands that sales is a competitive game. To outperform competitors and our own personal best results, we need to out-prospect, out-qualify, out-present and out-negotiate everyone else, not merely know how to sell. Through his specialty programs in Pipeline Management, Personal Marketing, Great First Meetings, 2nd-level Questioning, Sales Negotiating, and Sales Coaching, Steve trains sales teams to master the skills they need to overcome the challenges they face in today’s world… and keep improving results year over year.

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