Sep 24, 2020 • Podcast

How do I create a goal-achieving environment in tough times?

In this episode, Paul explains how positive environmental programming leads to goal achievement

Show Notes:

“Success does not have to be as has hard as we make it.”

Positive environmental programming (PEP) is proactively controlling your environment to achieve your goals successfully. 

As Mary Poppins said, “Well begun is half done.”

Conduct a barrier analysis and identify what is getting in the way of achieving the goal. Then you focus on removing the barrier. Don’t make success any harder than it has to be. 

Reducing friction is another way to proactively set yourself up for success. “Don’t set your alarm and place it on your nightstand, place it on your dresser.” Keep it out of arm’s reach.

Positively stage your environment. Surround yourself with positive messages. Pull a Dwight Schrute and blast some rock music before a call. “I sing my heart out to Eye of the Tiger.”

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How do I create a goal-achieving environment in tough times?

(Transcribed from podcast)

Hey, ya’ll. Paul Reilly here welcoming you to another episode of The Q and A Sales Podcast. I say, “Hey ya’ll” ‘cause I just listened to Dolly Parton’s America. If you haven’t listened to that podcast, it’s a great podcast. Really enjoyable; highly recommend it. So, check it out.

On today’s episode, we’re going to talk about setting an environment—creating an environment—that can help you achieve your goals. In a recent virtual meeting, and I’ve had so many virtual meetings lately, but I love connecting with my clients. In fact, I’m not experiencing Zoom fatigue. I think Zoom is experiencing Paul Reilly fatigue. Enough of that. Anyway, let’s get back to this question. How do I create a goal-achieving environment in these tough times? That’s what we’re going to focus on in today’s session.

Before we get into that, though, a quick shout-out to our sponsor, Andrea, and The Creative Impostor Studios. I’ve got to say, when it comes to helping launch the podcast, when it comes to editing services, just general tips, advice, Andrea is the go-to person. Andrea does a wonderful job of helping you out getting the podcast launched. Even if you have questions here or there, she’ll work with you. She’s flexible. It’s really great. And she’s a big reason why this podcast has now spanned the globe. It’s now in over . . . I think it was 53 countries when I last checked. It continues to grow, and a lot of it is due to her and her [Andrea} team and the work that they do. If you’re interested in starting a podcast, make sure you reach out to her [Andrea] and her team. There’s a link to her website on this episode’s webpage.

Also, pick up your latest edition of Value-Added Selling. Value-Added Selling is your go-to guide. If you’re sick of dealing with price objections, if you’re struggling to find ways to create more value for your existing customers, if you’re having trouble prospecting and figuring out how to craft a compelling message, I guarantee you, you are going to get a lot of value from the book. The Value-Added Selling fourth edition is available on Amazon. It’s available at Barnes and Noble. Wherever you get your books, you can get it there.

All right, let’s go get into today’s show. How do I create a goal-achieving environment in tough times? The reason we’re going to talk about “in tough times” in particular is that during tough times, you’re going to face more challenges. Your goals are going to seem loftier because of the current environment, whatever it might be. So we need to talk about some of the little things you can do to help you become successful. When we think about setting up our environment—how to create a goal-achieving environment—we have to remember that success doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. Think about that. It doesn’t have to be as hard as we make it. Sometimes we inadvertently do things that create friction between us and our goals that reduces the likelihood of us following through and actually taking action.

We’ve got to remember, our first response to adversity, it has a snowball effect or a domino effect. And, our first response can either generate positive or negative momentum. So, on today’s show, we’re going to talk about positive environmental programming—P E P—positive environmental programming. What this really means, it means you are proactively taking control of your environment and you’re influencing it. You’re controlling it. You’re making it easier for you, yourself, to achieve success. When I think about this, I’m reminded of Mary Poppins, the original Mary Poppins back in the day. I remember wearing out the VCR watching this movie. But, there was always one quote that Mary Poppins had that stuck with me, and that is, “Well begun is half done.” What she’s talking about is that if you start a project or an activity in the proper way, it becomes easier. It’s almost halfway complete. And so that’s what we’re going to talk about today. That’s one aspect of positive environmental programming.

So, here are a couple of things you can do. We’re going to give you three ideas along positive environmental programming. The first one is to conduct a barrier analysis. Look at your goals that you have set for yourself right now, whether it is to set up three brand new prospects every month for the rest of the year— That was one of my clients that I’m working with. That was one of their goals is that each salesperson has to sign up, I think it was actually two-and-a-half prospects per month, but let’s round up to three. Why sell yourself short?

So, in order to do that, to set up three prospects a month, let’s think about this for a moment. We could conduct a barrier analysis and we could ask ourselves, “Okay. What’s getting in the way of me achieving this goal? What’s getting in the way of me achieving this prospecting goal?” And if I’m a salesperson looking at that goal, I’m going to say, “Let’s look at my activity level. How do I spend my time right now? Is that something that’s getting in the way? If I’m spending too much time babysitting existing customers and not going after new prospects, that’s a barrier that I can remove. I can figure out a way to shift some of that responsibility. If I’m spending too much time playing the customer-service salesperson, where I spend all my time fixing issues, things that could be handled, maybe, with a different person within the organization, that’s something that I can remove. If I don’t have enough qualified opportunities in my territory, that’s something I need to try and remove. I need to reach out to my sales manager. I need to get their feedback or their ideas on how I can find more viable opportunities.”

The key is, you’re looking at what is potentially getting in the way or blocking your success. That’s why we call it a barrier analysis. And once you identify the barrier, you need to try to work through it, or you need to try to remove it altogether. If you can’t remove it, that’s when you reach out to your sales manager, you reach out to your sales leader, whoever it might be. The key is removing those barriers.

Next thing, we’ve got to talk about reducing friction. Reducing friction is about proactively setting yourself up for success. Let’s think about this for a moment. So, tomorrow morning, I’m going to go work out. And I’m going to do a couple of things to make it really easy on myself to go and work out, to reduce friction, because we’ve all faced it. I’m going to get up at probably right around 5:30 in the morning. I’m going to get dressed. I’m going to do all that stuff. And then I’m going to hit the gym. Remember, when you wake up in the morning, you get that feeling like “Uuh, I just want to stay in bed,” and it feels really cold out, and you want to kind of snuggle into the blanket and all that good stuff. Well, all of that can create friction between you and your goal.

Again, my goal is to work out in the morning, so, I’m going to do a few things to reduce that friction. For example, I’m not only going to set my alarm on my phone for 5:30, I’m going to set another one for 5:35 in the morning. And not only am I going to set the alarm, or two alarms rather, I’m going to take my phone and I’m going to put it on my dresser. The reason I’m putting it on my dresser is because I have to actually get out of bed to turn it off. Now, once I get out of bed, I’m out of bed.

Next thing I’m going to do, I’m going to look at my workout clothes. They’re going to be right there on my chair, along with my shoes and my earbuds. Everything that I need, I have it right there. I’m ready to go. It’s about reducing the friction. Because, let’s think about how this could happen. Let’s say I set my alarm, and I only set one alarm, so it goes off. It’s right on my nightstand. I can easily hit the snooze button. Let’s say I, then, have to go pull out clothes out of the drawer. I’ve got to think about what I want to wear and all that stuff. That’s creating more friction. I’ve got to find my earbuds. That’s more friction. Again, at each point of friction, there’s an opportunity for us to give up. Not that I’m going to give up, but again, we don’t have to make it as hard [harder] on ourselves as [than] it needs to be. So reducing friction, it’s about proactively taking action to help you achieve your goals.

So let’s stick with the prospecting example, again. So, I’ve got to close two-and-a-half new prospects per month. You know what I’m going to do? Before I plan my week, I’m going to say, “Okay. I’m going to dedicate one day this week to pure prospecting activity.” On my calendar, I block out, let’s say Thursday. Thursday, that’s my prospecting day. Now, before Thursday, I’m going to put together a list of prospects. I’m going to put together the contact information; I’m going to get their names. I’m going to do a little bit of research on each one of these prospects. I’m going to plan my day so that I can go stop by each one of these prospects on the same day. I’m going to route myself. I’m going to have a schedule.

You see, what you’re doing is you’re setting yourself up. It’s the equivalent of setting two alarms, putting that alarm or your phone on the dresser, laying out your clothes, and your shoes, and your earbuds and all that stuff. That’s what you’re doing. You’re reducing friction. Again, that’s positive environmental programming.

The third thing— Positive environmental programming is also about staging your environment in a positive way. In the real estate world, they have a term, staging a home, and you want that home to look its very best. And what you’re going to do is you’re going to make sure it’s clean. You’re going to make sure you have mulch, you know, laid out, fresh mulch. The grass is cut. All that stuff. You’re creating a positive environment. We need to also stage ourselves. Positive staging is about surrounding yourself with positivity.

You know that maybe you’re out there prospecting and you’re going to make eight prospecting calls on that particular day. That means that you need to positively surround yourself with messages to keep you going, to keep you focused. I know one thing that I used to do before prospecting calls. When I go in and make a call, man, I would blare some music. I would play “Eye of the Tiger,” you know, from Rocky. I would listen to that, get me pumped up, get me in the right mindset to go in and make that prospecting call. I would also plan and prepare, but I would sing my heart out to “Eye of the Tiger.” Oh, I loved it. That reminds me, Dwight Schrute actually did that on “The Office” as well. He would listen to music to pump himself up. That’s what you’ve got to do. Get jacked up and then go make that prospecting call. Again, that’s staging yourself in a positive way— Staging your environment, rather, in a positive way.

Those are the tips today. Again, when you’re trying to create a goal-achieving environment, remember positive environmental programming. You want to positively program your environment. You do that by conducting a barrier analysis, reducing friction between you and your goal, and then, you want to stage your environment in a positive way.

All right folks. That’s the show for today. Just a reminder, visit While you’re on the website, check out the new search function. You can search for questions that we’ve already answered on previous shows. And if you can’t find the answer to your question, go ahead and fill out the question form and I will turn it into a future show.

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