From time to time I have found myself watching ESPN’s coverage of the World Series of Poker. It provides an interesting look into human nature. Statistically, roughly 12 million Americans play poker, but only 5% are consistently profitable. Some of these 5% make hundreds of thousands of dollars every year and all they do is play poker. The winner of the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event… $12 million dollars in approximately six and a half days. Now, those of you who understand the game of poker, you know where that money comes from. That’s right, it comes from the losers!

You have to wonder- what are the winners doing that the losers aren’t doing? That’s a great question for your business isn’t it? What does the top 5% of your industry do that the other 95% does not do? If you do what the top 5% does, you too will be successful. The best poker players have what is referred to as “poker instinct”. Poker instinct is the ability to read people and situations; to pick up on verbal and non-verbal hints and clues; to understand basic personality styles, to anticipate tendencies. Based on this read they make better decisions, in other words they alter their communication, and in the long run, if their read is accurate, they make more money. Doyle Brunson, considered to the “Godfather of Poker,” once said, “Being able to read people, understand people, is as important as the mathematical knowledge necessary to weigh pot odds and figure out betting strategy. Poker is a game of people, not cards, and you have to be able to understand and know people.” Reread that last sentence and replace the word “poker” with “sales”, “communication” or “leadership”. Replace “cards” with “services”, “products”, “prices”, “numbers”, or “features.”

In sales, in communication, and in leadership we have instincts. They are very similar to those poker instincts. They are your ability to read people and situations, to understand human behavior, to pick up on verbal and non-verbal hints and clues. Based on an effective read you can make better decisions, in other words you can alter your communication. You can become more appropriate, relevant, and specific to the situation and the person you are working with. If your read is on, your communication will be on and in the long run you will make sales you previously would have missed. Let’s start with a basic premise- it’s not about you. There is only one entity which ultimately determines whether or not a sale is made or a commitment is reached and it is not you. It is your potential customer. The speed and manner in which different customers go through these steps varies based on many factors: personality, external influences, culture, even mood of the day. Based on an accurate read you will make better decisions, you will alter your communication and ultimately achieve more sales, more results in a shorter period of time. Here are a few simple strategies to improve your read:

?Do your homework- the simple task of “googling” your prospect before you approach can give you invaluable insight into who they are and what they are all about.
?Become a student of human behavior- study basic personality types and how they communicate.
?Become more flexible in your communication. Try mimicking the voices you hear on the radio and the actors you see on TV and in the movies.
?Ask better questions and become a great listener. Most of us can dramatically improve our listening ability. Be interested not interesting.
?After every presentation ask yourself 2 questions: “What did I do right?” and “What could I have done differently?”
?Get coaching. Find someone you trust and share with this person a challenging communication situation for feedback. Better yet, record a live presentation with a live prospect and watch it with your coach. This can be as enlightening as it is uncomfortable.
Develop your sales instincts, improve your reads, make more sales…

Recommended High Achievers Network programs: Niurka, Brinkman, Grady, Reaves, Hutson, Weldon, Gundrum

Author's Bio: 

Doug Grady is President of High Achievers Network. For over 16 years, Doug has been engaging audiences from coast to coast with his wit and wisdom. Exciting, entertaining and enlightening are words invariably used to describe his unique seminars and workshops. As a business owner, professional speaker and musician, Doug is a jack of many trades and a master of one: helping you master yours. He has been privileged to share the platform with legends Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, Tony Robbins, and Denis Waitley. The companies he has trained include Nextel, Re/Max, Bank of America, and State Farm.

"Doug Grady gives you practical, proven ideas and methods you can use immediately, and he presents them in a fast-moving, entertaining and enjoyable style." -Brian Tracy, Author, Maximum Achievement