SAN FRANCISCO—Reaching the top in home salesisn't about intelligence or education or even about personality.These traits are important, but I am convinced that manysalespeople struggle because of a flawed paradigm. The mostimportant sales presentation you will ever give will be the onethat convinces you to believe in yourself!

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A perfect example of a salesperson whose shift in mindsetresulted in great success is Khadeejah Johnson, a 15-year homesales veteran who knows and loves a good challenge.

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“I started by leasing apartments when I was nineteen. Mylearning method was to throw it all against the wall and see whatsticks. I tried as many approaches and techniques as possible,”Johnson says. “In time I learned that my greatest strength is myability to be conversational. I want to connect on a more personallevel. I want to work as if I'm selling to my best friend.”

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And most importantly, Johnson has embraced a bold paradigm thathas enabled her to overcome the biggest discomfort she experiencedwhen she first started in home sales.

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“It was always uncomfortable asking people to buy. Honestly, itstill is from time to time,” Johnson notes. “But now, my sense ofobligation and commitment trumps my discomfort. I don't ask for thesale as something I'm doing for myself—I do it for them.”

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Learning to be bold and not shy away from discomfort has servedJohnson well, with one of her most recent examples of success beingthe sale of a residential community in an area of New York Citythat still carries a stigma. “It was a condominium community:forty-four homes above the Aloft Hotel in Harlem,” Johnson says,noting that she took care to address preconceptions about theneighborhood during her sales presentation.

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In addition to convincing customers about Harlem's potential,Johnson also had to win them over when it came to the financing. “Ireally had two sales presentations. The first was in selling thehome and the location. The second was in selling the financing. Allwe had available was an adjustable rate loan that was higher thanthe prevailing fixed rate,” Johnson notes. “Customers reallystruggled with that idea. It took a lot of persuasion.”

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Johnson did not let any challenge dissuade her when it came toHarlem real estate and her consequent sales success earned her theprestigious honor of Salesperson of the Year (2013) by the NationalAssociation of Home Builders.

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As Johnson and many other sales professionals have shown us,there is one consistent truth: you are the sum of your bolddecisions. Bold decisions make for incredible opportunities. Startwith changing your mindset and the right technique will follow(along with increased home sales in this New Year!). These ideasand more are discussed in my latest book from McGraw-Hill, BeBold and Win the Sale, which debuted on January 3 as the #1hot new release for Sales & Selling on Amazon.

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Selling homes is tough work. I know; I did it for manyyears.

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In such a competitive industry, having the right intention—thecorrect purpose— drives us toward success. And the proper techniqueis clearly critical to accomplishing that purpose and intention.But when it comes to which is more important, intent or technique,I would make the case that there is hardly an argument to be had.It is intention—a driving purpose, if you will—that makes forsuccess in home sales. If your intention is flawed, all the besttechnique in the world will not save you.

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So, if our intention must be in place before we can effectivelyutilize strong technique, we are then left with an even biggerquestion. Where did that intention come from? What prompted thatpurpose? I can intend to be a great salesperson all day long, butthat intention has to be based on something bigger.

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The fact is that the majority of underachieving salespeople getstuck right here. They do what they do because that is what theyare both told to do and trained to do. All too often they fail toconsider this motivation question on a deeper level.

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Let me offer a simple but important premise: our purpose is bothdesigned and defined by our paradigm: how we see ourselves, and howwe see the world around us. Our actions and behaviors (techniques)are always consistent with how we see ourselves (paradigm).

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Repetition

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The most successful people understand the importance ofbelieving in themselves. They also understand the importance ofrepetition. It's all about repetition. In music, in art, inathletics, in surgery, in writing software…you name it. Thedestination called mastery is on a road called repetition, and onthat road there are neither short cuts nor express lanes. It's goodold-fashioned roll-up-your-sleeves hard work.

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But it's not just any kind of repetition; it's constantlyimproving repetition. And that's where my 10-5-3-1 plan comesinto play.

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In Geoff Colvin's excellent book, Talent is Overrated,he talks about moving along the path of three zones:

  • The Panic Zone
  • The Learning Zone
  • The Comfort Zone

The idea is that repetition takes us from one zone to the next.I agree with Colvin's concept, but what happens when we reach the“Comfort Zone?” If we're not careful, we will enjoy theaccomplishment, we will settle into that zone….but we won'tchallenge ourselves to grow yet further.

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The 10-5-3-1 plan is predicated upon the idea that I mustconstantly raise the discomfort bar if I am to constantly improvemy performance. The premise is simple but profound: If it does notchallenge me, it does not change me. (How's that for words to liveby???)

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Here's how it works:

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10 Practice a very limited and specific skill out loud and into avoice recorder ten consecutive times. Listen after eachrecording and make notes. Listen for word choice, pace, enthusiasm,relaxed tones, etc. Do it ten times, even if you feel like you haveit down. You want to turn the technique into muscle memory. Afterten times, you should be comfortable with the technique…which meansyou need to get uncomfortable all over again. So you….

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5 Practice the same technique with a peer, five times. Find someonewho will be brutally honest with you and who will coach you forperformance improvement. This will be uncomfortable at first, butfar less so after having practiced repeatedly alone. Get bettereach time, and continue to build your muscle memory. After fivetimes it will be much more comfortable. So you….

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3 Ratchet up the discomfort by practicing three times with yourmanager. Now you're into the fine tuning, so pay close attention.You are honing in on perfection! You're getting insanelycomfortable with the technique. So you…

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1 Demonstrate your perfected skill in front of the entire team. Youcan do this…you've put in the necessary repetition. You've movedfrom the panic zone to the learning zone to the comfort zone. Bynow you should be on autopilot.

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Here's my question: How ready are you to now take your perfectedtechnique and use it in real life? How high is your confidencelevel? How bold will you be when others are uncomfortable?

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Get To Work

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Here's an idea: TRY IT! Right away! I mean, pick a skill and getto work on it right now. Find the voice recorder feature on yoursmart phone and lay that baby down. Do not hesitate; do notgive your comfort addiction the chance to derail your quest formastery.

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Think of the industry's top performing salespeople. Are theysuccessful because of their actions, because of their purpose, orbecause of their paradigm? All three, actually, but in a specificorder. They do the things that top performers do (actions), becausethey desire to be as successful as possible (purpose), because theysee themselves as the best of the best (paradigm) and theyunderstand the value of repetition.

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Jeff Shore, of Shore Consulting, is a highlysought-after sales expert, speaker, author and executive coachwhose innovative BE BOLD methodology teaches you how to change yourmindset and change your world. His latest book, Be Bold and Win theSale: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Boost Your Performance, waspublished by McGraw-Hill Professional in January 2014. For moreinformation, visit http://jeffshore.com.The views expressed in this column are the author's own.

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