Thoughts on Mindfulness and Emotional Intelligence with Handshake’s Director of Sales Meg Hewitt
Collin Stewart, CEO
23 November 2017

To one degree or another, most of us can surely agree that “setting yourself up for success” each day at work is a good idea.

After all, work is enjoyable when you’re productive and engaged. And when work is enjoyable, that sense of gratification has a way of bleeding into the rest of your life. A roadmap or happiness, to be sure.

Yet, designing each day to include those goals, however logical or simple they seem, can be a challenge. Emails, calls, quotas, meetings, deadlines – all of those very real, and very time consuming, aspects of one’s day-to-day have a way of chewing through the office hours. Sales (and sales development) has its demands, doesn’t it?

To counter those inevitable hurdles, Meg Hewitt, the New York-based Director of Sales for Handshake, says setting yourself up for success starts with a dedication to positive thinking long before you show up at the office. It starts as soon as you get out of bed.

“This way of thinking will only come up in sales if you set your life up that way. If you are a miserable person, you won’t get to you desk and start having amazing, meaningful conversations with prospects. You have to set your life up that way,” says Hewitt, on a recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.

“It’s how I navigate my day to day; how I get myself in this mindset when working with the team and host meetups. So, it carries through in all aspects of my professional life. The first thing I do: I say to myself ‘today is going to be a great day.’ And, you just stick with it.” But, Hewitt doesn’t end her morning routine there.

She immediately makes her bed, and does 10 pushups each morning (sometimes, admittedly, from her knees) as well. Pushups, no doubt, have a physical benefit, but Hewitt says their real use isn’t just a burn in the shoulders and chest, it’s to provide an early sense of accomplishment.

“It’s a routine that if I do it, I know I’m on the right track,” says Hewitt.

At the office

With that consistent, and positive, foundation set, bringing a sense of clarity and mindfulness to the office is easier. It’s not without traps, however, warns Hewitt.

For example, there are always immediate emails or calls that can grab your attention or a text from a friend that derails your concentration. Who hasn’t felt the need to respond to every personal text during works hours?

(Note: Hewitt leaves her phone in her purse until the afternoon. Limit those distractions!)

But that’s working from a reactive place, says Hewitt. Instead, try getting everything in place before jumping into that tasks that await you every morning. For instance, take 10 quiet minutes when you get in to draft a list of two or three things you wish to accomplish that day. By focusing on a manageable tasks, the day, should you get things done, will always feel like a productive one.

“It can be something so little, or a big thing. Maybe it is a particular prospect you’re chasing, or talking to someone internally that you just haven’t got done yet. Whatever it is, write it down and get them done,” says Hewitt. “So, when the day is done, you have a sense of accomplishment. This helps you distinguish between everything feeling so urgent, versus a couple of things that are important. It helps you focus your energy. And, you never leave the office in a bad mood, because when you do it’s harder to come back.”

In conversation

Of course, life in the office doesn’t revolve around a series of solitary tasks – it also requires effective communication with your colleagues and your bosses.

And, just as routine responsibilities benefit from a mindful approach, so do interactions with peers and prospects. Hewitt is a devotee of Radical Candor (a bestselling book by Kim Scott), and uses the tenets of the book – challenge directly and caring personally – to better communicate with her staff and prospects.

As a result, Hewitt is able to coach and mentor her SDRs more effectively, as well as build the critical trust needed with prospects. In short, Hewitt says Radical Candor has “revolutionized the way she deals with people.”

“Be direct and warm! This is a really great management tactic, and a great way of dealing with prospects too. On a sales call, being direct, reviewing what you understand and being direct about how you can help is very effective. This will inform how prospects relate to you,” says Hewitt.

“So often we’re thinking about how to qualify them. But, they’re trying to qualify us. They’re never going to qualify us, if they don’t like us, trust us and believe in us. You really have to bring a sense of attention and mindfulness to all the calls you have to do.”

On a call

Hewitt mentions that mindful conversation is a crucial component of building trust with prospects. But, building trust over the course of a qualifying call can be a nuanced process, comprised of different parts. According to Hewitt, there are a number of conscious components at work on a successful qualifying call. They are:

  • Have a clear vision going into call (what do you want to get out of this?)
  • Set an agenda (have a clear structure for the call)
  • Get to know the prospect and their business (what is their pain?)
  • Ask thought provoking questions (the prospect has to think while you’re on the phone with them. They shouldn’t just be going through the regular answers)
  • Really learn their personal and professional pain, and what you solving it will mean to them (how do we improve things for them?)
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification (I’ve never heard that before, or, help me understand how that fits into what we’re talking about today)
  • Quantify, is this worth fixing?
  • Ask “why” three times
  • Re-cap the call
  • Set clear next steps – get them excited about getting on the next call (the demo, or follow up call)

The end goal, reflected by the final stage above, is to qualify the prospect and get them excited for an upcoming demo. But before that happens you have to show you are invested in understanding their business.

And you do that by having a mindful conversation, a mindful approach to your day, and a mindful morning routine.

For more on Meg Hewitt’s mindfulness practices, check out her recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.