Are You Selling on Autopilot?

BY Rachel Cagle
Featured image for “Are You Selling on Autopilot?”

Do you have an “old reliable” selling method that has seen you through many a successful sale? It’s likely your go-​to method whenever you schedule a sales pitch with both new prospects and existing clients. However, there’s another term for leaning on old reliable tactic instead of taking the time to craft a unique sales pitch for each prospect: selling on autopilot.

Selling on autopilot is what happens when sales reps have lost their desire to learn more about sales tactics, says Roy Whitten, writing for SellingPower. “The problem is that we do well enough on automatic that we strongly resist changing.” You may not compare yourself with the salespeople who still stubbornly use outdated methods because they have worked wonders for them in the past. But selling on autopilot will put you in the exact same position sooner than you’d like to believe.

So, how do you stop selling on autopilot? Whitten recommends starting by using a process he calls split attention to bring you to the present moment while you’re working. “You do this by (a) continuing to do whatever you’re doing and (b) at the same time, place part of your attention on something you can physically feel — like your breath, the touch of your fingers, etc.” An example he gives is dedicating 20% of your attention to how your stomach moves in and out while you breathe while you work.

You obviously won’t be able to consistently practice this change throughout the workday, but you will remember to come back to it at random intervals. This technique will help you bring your attention back to the present after drifting back into autopilot and remember to take note of the things happening around you. Whitten said that, during his doctoral research on this process, there was a notable correlation between split attention and, “curiosity, enjoyment, and an awareness of new possibilities.” An awareness that there’s more to observe and learn around you than what’s already in your head breaks you out of autopilot and, therefore, opens you up to the opportunities and drive to keep up with new sales techniques offered through coaching and sales training.