By Kent Mulkey

It is normal for business leaders, sales professionals, teachers, and the like to hit the ground running at the start of the day. I did, for years. It left me less than effective and successful. I was hurried, worried, and almost buried.

But there is a different way to start your day: slowing down and taking stock of your motivations, thinking through conversations you will have with people the day ahead, planning your meetings and phone calls instead of just winging it.

Some business leaders call this exercise “going to the balcony,” a metaphor for stepping back to gain perspective, to take a big picture view of the situation.

Much of the focus on my writing is related to selling to seniors, so here are four questions for sales professionals to ask themselves before they dive into the busyness of a selling day.

  1. Am I being honest and authentic or trying to manipulate the prospect (getting them to do something they don’t want to do)?
  2. Am I being empathic and seeking to see things from that person’s perspective or just concentrating on my own point of view (following what I think is best for them)?
  3. Am I respecting and reinforcing people’s right to choose, or am I trying to force them to do what I want (rent an apartment!)?
  4. Am I listening carefully and reflecting to show a deeper understanding of their wants and needs, or am I trying to guess at what their needs are (and usually being wrong)?

I happen to keep these four questions near my phone, and review them regularly before calling a prospect, resident, or family member. I want to make sure my mind and heart are aligned, that I am focusing on giving to the other person and not just focused on what I can get from the conversation.

Slow down and head to the balcony. You will see much more clearly, and enjoy meaningful, life-changing conversations with people, whether they buy from you or not.