Do salespeople meditate? I asked myself this question recently and as I contemplated I realized there had to be more business people meditating than just me. I’m not THAT special. Or was I? After all, I WAS living in San Francisco, a mecca for all things spiritual, new age and psychedelic.

However as I started talking to other sales and business colleagues I realized I was NOT the only one…far from it. And a growing number of high profile business execs do it. Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons meditates. So does Ray Dalio, the 61-year-old founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s biggest hedge fund. Bill Ford’s a big advocate. Steve Jobs was often associated with the practice. Facebook, Ebay, and General Mills execs are meditators. Google set up separate rooms so senior staff would be able to pursue it.

What is meditation? And why should you do it? The reasons are straightforward:

1. Meditation trains your mind to focus- With all of the thoughts, decisions, and information input the typical salesperson deals with, focus is essential. Furthermore, focus enables active listening because it allows you to focus on what the customer is communicating – verbally and non-verbally.
Meditation creates a “mind like water” (as Bruce Lee used to put it) which will make a huge difference on your level of concentration. How would your sales benefit from being twice as focused and listening more deeply to your customers?

2. Meditation increases your ability to relax – Relax much? I didn’t think so. With the pace of life today and the need to stay ahead of quotas, bills and family responsibilities, life can seem like a perpetual struggle. The problem is the mind is constantly grasping at “more”: more prospects, more deals, more emails, more problems. This isn’t your fault, it’s just how the mind is wired.
Meditation releases you from this mental trap, allowing your body to release built-up tension which increases your ability to relax. Not just relax at night after work, but DURING work so that you will make better decisions and stay focused on your top priorities. How would your sales benefit from being relaxed in front of the customer and staying hyper-focused on your top opportunities?

3. Meditation increases your empathy and emotional intelligence – The quality of empathy tops the list of the 5 qualities of great salespeople. Empathy allows a salesperson to understand what their prospect is feeling, allowing them to create an authentic connection with them, which opens the customer up to sharing their biggest business problems, challenges, and opportunities.
Meditation is arguably the best way to develop empathy because it enables you to be more introspective, and it increases your emotional intelligence (ability to sense emotions and maintain positive emotional states), thereby increasing your level of empathy. How would your sales benefit from being able to open your customer up to sharing their deepest and most troubling problems?

4. Meditation gives you access to deeper insights – How do you make big decisions throughout the day? Do you stop and think strategically or do you decide on the fly? The best leaders make decisions by being in the present while integrating their knowledge and all the events that are happening around them simultaneously.
Meditation cultivates this ability to be present while simultaneously receiving input and tapping into your knowledge and instinct in the middle of a busy day. How would your sales benefit from being present while making strategic decisions?

The essence of learning meditation is to practice it. Below is a quick meditation to get you started.

1. Choose a quiet place. Sit comfortably in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed for ten minutes. Try sitting at the edge of your chair with your back gently straight to help you avoid slouching (and falling asleep).

2. Breathe naturally. Close your eyes and take 3 slow deep breaths to relax, then breathe naturally and slowly. Inhale in through your nose and out through your nose.

3. Focus on your breath. To help you concentrate, try focusing on your breath. Counting may help: while breathing in, count “one, one, one, one…” until the lungs are full, and then “two, two, two, two…” until the lungs are empty.

4. Managing distraction. You’ll inevitably find your mind drifting to other thoughts as you meditate. Don’t worry, this happens to everybody, even meditation pros. Just bring your attention back to your breath every time you catch yourself losing focus, and if you’ve lost count start over at “one, one, one, one…”

5. Practice for ten minutes. Continue focusing on your breathing for ten minutes. A timer with a non-jarring alarm can be used to help you keep track of time. When done, slowly open your eyes and stretch for a minute as you get up. Write down any insights and thoughts in your notebook.

I hope you find meditation helpful for increasing your mental clarity, empathy, relaxation and ability to be present while making tough decisions. Give it a try and let me know your experience in the comments below. I’ll be glad to answer any questions you may have.
Are you making the biggest impact possible for your customers, your stakeholders and for yourself? If you’d like to explore this question, contact me to sign up for a 1-hour strategy session to find out how you can make a bigger impact. Guaranteed.

Author's Bio: 

For over 15 years, Justin McSharry has worked with organizations in a variety of ways to make an impact. He founded EvoLeadership Academy from his passion for facilitating change in individuals and organizations who are ready to make a bigger impact in their business and with their stakeholders. Justin is a lifelong student of human potential and his multi-dimensional corporate background includes engineering, training and sales in the fast-paced and highly competitive Silicon Valley. He’s engineered multi-million dollar technology deals, facilitated and lead training, all while developing his peers through mentoring and coaching.

Justin brings a calming, realistic, and supportive presence to all of his engagements so that clients feel heard and inspired to take their next developmental leap. He’s happily married and enjoys practicing meditation, making music, and traveling.