I recently came across a great article on Business Insider, “A Former Army Sniper Shares a Trick for Staying Focused”. The article outlines a unique military approach to focusing that can also be applied to your day-to-day, 9-5 lifestyle. The tactics were fundamentally different than anything I was expecting to see. If you’ve ever been in the Military then you might be familiar with S.L.L.S. This stands for “Stop, Look, Listen & Smell.” For the purpose of this article let’s make it “Stop, Look, Listen, SELL!” (yes, I’m corny and I know it) One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in selling is that you need to slow down. Everyone knows the cliché, “time is money.” You know what matters more than selling with a sense of urgency?
Selling with a sense of purpose. Staying focused and listening to your customers needs and goals will separate you from the B and C players who simply sell their products or services before taking the time to understand their customer’s business.
Picture this. You look at your watch and it’s 10:30 AM. You’ve barely accomplished anything. You can’t focus with the constant bombardment of emails and calls. Your calendar is full and you’re behind on your to-do’s. Sound familiar? This is a struggle many face on a day-to-day basis. The battle between accomplishment and completion. I know I’ve been there. Finishing an entire day thinking, “Wow, I completed a lot of tasks but what did I actually accomplish today.” When it comes time for a weekly sales review you’re behind on your number. What should you do? Start dialling?! Easy there fancy pants. Before you start dialling for dollars; take a second and understand why you choose this prospect or customer. What do you know about their business? Do you understand their current challenges? And if so, why does your solution solve their problem (s)? Re-focus your approach and try to cut out the noise. Jeffry Harrison, the former Army sniper and author talks about how we applied the lessons he learned during his training and time in the field to his 9-5 lifestyle.
“They said, “When the heat, weight, and fatigue take your focus off moving in silence and invisibility, take a SLLS break — Stop what you are doing. Look around. Listen to your surroundings. Smell your environment.” The purpose of this is to take a timeout and refocus. This allows you to stop reacting to the external stimuli, be mindful of your environment, and focus on what really matters. Yes, it works. It helped me be invisible as a sniper. And later on, at my desk job, I discovered that it helped me regain control of my workday when all I was doing was reacting to emails and other people’s priorities.”
I have found this to be immensely helpful recently when the noise of the day began to interfere with my goals. I’ve started checking my emails only at designated times, silencing my phone apps that are distractions and whenever I feel like I’m hitting a wall to stand up, grab some water and just re-focus my thinking for a few minutes. I think this is important when distinguishing when it’s time to “power through” and when it’s time to SLLS. I’m all for pushing past tiredness and making that extra call. Or staying that extra hour at work when your friends are on their way to happy-hour. But if you’re feeling like a leaf in the wind and you’ve lost control of your day it’s time for an SLLS check to reset, re-focus and start crushing your accomplishments.
Take it from “The Rock”, bad things can happen when you’re not focused.