Self-reflection can be an amazingly beneficial tool. Here are some tips to get you started… I don’t know about you, but I often find myself reflecting on a whole range of things in my life, including my professional sales career and wondering at all the things I have learnt over the years.
Conscious reflecting on sales has now become almost a daily occurrence for me, especially since I have been writing this sales blog. There are so many aspects to selling that the more I look into selling the more I find to reflect upon.
So it was with some amusement that I found myself reflecting on reflecting itself, and how valuable it is to our continued development and overall healthy functioning in this ever-changing world.
Sadly, I have noticed that not too many sales people proactively and independently take the time to reflect on their own performance, the needs and requirements of their customer, business and markets, or their own personal goals. They often need prompting to do so.
How do I know this? Well in every training session I have ever conducted in sales, the feedback I receive from almost every participant is along the lines of:
“This is the first sales training program I have ever done that actually looks at me and how I function in a sales role.”
“I never looked at myself this way before – now I can see where I can make improvements in my skills and behaviours.”
“Now I understand why I am good at sales”
In this busy world, too many of us do not take the time to self-reflect. Yet self-reflection can be one of the best things you can do for yourself personally and professionally.
In fact research reveals that self-reflection and self-appraisal are the top key attributes demonstrated on a regular basis by top performing sales people. Is it any wonder then why they are top of their field?
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So I thought it might be worth reflecting on self-reflection.
Self-reflection involves both skills and an attitude of acceptance
Reflection is “thinking about a thing, particularly with a notion of meditation upon a previous experience or event and its significance” (Penguin Dictionary of Psychology).
In the context of competency enhancement and self-development, self-reflection relates to what a person thinks about the feedback received, whether it be direct feedback or your observations of others’ reactions to your actions and the outcomes you achieve.
Reflecting on self involves:
Making realistic self-appraisals.
Being willing and able to see those aspects of yourself you are less happy with, i.e. your shadow self.
Being motivated to grow, learn and willing to change.
Creating opportunities to receive feedback – It is hard to give feedback at the best of times. We can enhance the likelihood of others’ giving us feedback by giving them invitations to do so.
The benefits obtained from reflecting on self can be enhanced through the use of the following key skills.
Self awareness – the condition of being aware of, or conscious of oneself – in the sense of having a relatively objective but open and accepting appraisal of one’s true personal nature.
Self-appraisal – the process of providing an appraisal of oneself.
Adopt an attitude of…
Acceptance – seeing yourself as you really are, even if what you see feels unpleasant, being receptive to any aspect of yourself without trying to avoid it or deny.
Non-judging – taking an objective and impartial approach. Being aware of your judgments of yourself and others and then taking a step back to watch, listen and understand.
I encourage you to take time in your day to reflect on yourself, your goals, your plans, your career and your life. Here are some questions to get you started:
- How has your marketplace changed?
- How have you needed to adapt and change to stay sales fit?
- What feedback are you receiving from various sources that is giving you further insights into your effectiveness as a sales person or human being?
- Am I aware of all the skills and qualities I possess that allow me to sell, communicate and build relationships effectively?
The time you take to self-reflect might just be worth it.
Sue Barrett is Managing Director of BARRETT Pty Ltd. Sue is an experienced consultant and trained coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating High Performing Sales Teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. For more information please go to www.barrett.com.au
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