Meditation and the mindful sales rep with Keith Cordeiro
Collin Stewart, CEO
1 May 2019
Over the last few years, the practice of meditation and mindfulness has begun to penetrate nearly every sphere of daily life – teaching, parenting, and consumer habits, to name just three examples.
Gone are the days of meditation being resigned to the yoga studio, or a secluded retreat. These ancient practices are once again finding their way into the fabric of society.
Sales is no exception.
Sales is not for the faint of heart – becoming a top producing salesperson is a difficult balancing act. And learning how to cultivate a mindful, meditative state can do wonders for one’s sales career and be an important stabilizing force in our hectic day to day routines.
Keith Cordeiro, Account Executive at Crosstex International and Host of the Philosophy Of Sales podcast, has been meditating for years before he became a veteran sales leader. In fact, he doesn’t know a sales career without the practice of meditation. For Codeiro, meditation has a made him a more empathetic sales rep, in addition to helping him stay calm and collected in the face of challenging situations.
“I don’t really know what a life in sales is like without meditation – meditation came first. It has allowed me to have a more empathetic and compassionate view on others in my personal and professional life,” says Cordeiro, on a recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.
“It’s all about how we deal with struggles and challenges we face. We need to be prepared for it, and cultivate an appropriate reaction to navigate through those challenges and suffering. That’s what meditation can offer.”
Cultivating a more present mind
Defining meditation is a challenging task – one I will not pretend to definitively answer here. But, at its core, meditation and mindfulness practices are aimed, by one method or another, to cultivate a more present mind. A mind free of the attachments, emotions, and distractions that daily life serves us. A mind focused only on the next call, the next negotiation, or the next close.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
“Emotions are a large part of what makes us humans. That can be beautiful, and troubling. Meditation helps you find what the Buddhists call “the middle way.” We lose sight of simple, present moments often because we are so busy,” says Cordeiro.
“In Buddhism, Nirvana has been described as “chop wood and carry water” because it was told by a Buddhist who was responsible only to chop wood and carry water everyday. To that Buddhist, that daily work was transcendence – just being in the present moment. We have all been in those present moments, when we are doing what we want to do. When we are completely in the moment. That is the essence of being what a human is about and meditation is one way of doing that.”
Getting started with meditation
(Editor’s note: we spoke with Mike Fiascone, Directory of Sales productivity at DocuSign, about the power of a mindfulness practice in sales. You can read about our chat here, or listen to the interview here)
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: “I can’t meditate because my mind is too busy.” I’ve said those words thousand times myself.
But accessing meditation, making it a part of your daily routine, can be as simple as committing to 1, 2, or 5 minutes a day where all you do is focus on your breath. Suspend judgment, thinking, and focus on your breath. That’s it.
You can do this by sitting in a quiet place and simply breath in for one breath, and exhale for one breath. That’s just two breaths: one on the inhale, and one on the exhale.
“Just do that for a minute. When you make that a habit, you’ll start seeing results,” says Cordeiro.
“It’s even been shown that meditation can have real neurological benefits – huge, superhuman-type stuff, in fact. So, find a quiet spot. Turn off your phone and breathe in and out.”
Feel free to try some of the many apps on the market to help with your introduction to meditation. Headspace works well, as does the Breathe setting on your iWatch, if you have one.
After that simple, introductory practice, Cordeiro suggests trying a walking meditation. In a walking meditation, you’re uniting the mind and the body – focusing on how your feet hit the ground, and how you move through the new space.
“When I still worked in an office, I made sure to carve out 10-15 minutes to go on a walk. And I would do a walking meditation,” says Cordeiro.
“It takes a bit more focus, because there is a lot more to capture your senses. But it can be a very powerful form of meditation.”
Finally, in Tibetan practice, there is a style of meditation called Tonglen meditation used to cultivate compassion. In sales, this particular practice can help with tough calls and tough meetings. Let’s face it, part of our job is to disturb people (especially those of us on the frontlines of outbound sales). And that disturbance can produce some interesting reactions from prospects.
What Tonglen meditation helps with is visualizing the pain or negativity your prospects are experiencing. For example, a Tonglen meditation is often described as the breathing in black smoke (the suffering of others) and exhaling love and compassion for that same person.
It can be easier to start with someone you love, rather than someone that is giving you trouble. I didn’t come to Tonglen meditation at first. It was when I was going through a divorce,” says Cordeiro.
“And it really helped, completely changed my life at that time.”
For more on Cordeiro’s thoughts on mindfulness and meditation – as well as his answers to our sales tactics lightning round – check out the rest if his interview on The Predictable Revenue Podcast.