The Power of Your Procedure

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You can separate everyone on the planet into two broad categories: procedurally-based or option-based.

People whose minds are procedural see things as a process to be repeated. Procedure-based brains immediately think “how” when they have a task in front of them. They think how they accomplish something, how long they will need, they think of how the steps will help them complete a task.

Option-based minds are less ordered. They think in “why” terms. They think why this is the way to do something, they think why the task needs to be done a certain way, they think why one way will work better than another way. Instead of connecting the dots from A to B to C, they might go from C to A to B on Monday and A to C to B on Tuesday.

Both are equally valid ways of experiencing the world, but only one embodies the mindset of a sales warrior.

And that’s the procedurally-based mind.

Everyone uses both to some degree, but the most successful salespeople on earth live and die by their procedures.

Procedurally-based minds thrive on using repeatable processes and laid out steps to accomplish something. Option-based minds try to find the best way for them to accomplish something based on whims, or how they feel in the moment. In short, procedurally-based brains think “how.” Option-based brains think, “why.”

“A repeatable process will propel you towards profit.”

Think about an airplane pilot. The success of every flight depends on the success of their procedure. The only time they deviate from it is when something unexpected happens, like severe turbulence or, in extreme cases, a blown engine. And in that case, they have separate procedures for those scenarios as well.

In 2017, surgeon Atul Gawande researched whether a 19-item checklist would reduce human errors during surgeries. Gawande’s team applied this checklist to eight sites in eight cities across the globe. Then they measured the rate of death and complications before and after they started using the checklist.

I’m sure you can guess what happened. The emphasis on procedures caused the mortality rate to drop, and the number of surgical complications diminished. When they had a process in place, they literally saved lives.

Just the same, a sales warrior knows that sales boils down to 80% science and 20% art. The science is the procedures you know to follow to maximize your success. This is someone who thinks in systems and processes, who is open to adopting a new process, and who will work extremely procedurally and follow the science so they can let the score take care of itself. I know those mostly procedurally-based sales warriors will outperform option-based salespeople every time.

The place where option-based tendencies emerge most with salespeople is during conflict. Consider about what people do when they get stressed: they go shopping, or they change up their routine and do something spontaneous or offbeat.

That may work as a coping mechanism, but it doesn’t work in sales. There’s actually no better time to follow your process than when you get a tricky objection, or when the prospect says “no.” It just takes repetition, commitment, and mindfulness to make it happen. At FPG, the beneficial brain science behind the procedurally-based warrior mindset is why our programs are so tactical. We know it works. And the proof is in our clients’ sales success.

If you’re naturally option-based, don’t panic. I believe anyone can do anything, so becoming more procedurally-based is… a process (surprise). You can consciously shift toward procedures by embracing them, not moving away from them. Spend some time each morning organizing your day. Learn a selling process and commit to using it 100% of the time. Plan out your cold call structure. These are all steps to program yourself to become more procedural.

And every time to do it, you’ll notice yourself becoming more and more comfortable adding your own art to your science-based process.