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In 1936, psychologist Kurt Lewin wrote a simple equation that led to a powerful conclusion: "Behavior is a function of the Person in their Environment," or B=f (P,E). 

In 1952, economist Hawkins Stern tested Lewin's equation in business with a phenomenon he called "Suggestion Impulse Buying" which "is triggered when a shopper sees a product for the first time and visualizes a need for it." In essence, customers will occasionally buy products, not because they want them, but because of how they are presented to them. As an example, items at eye level tend to sell more than those near the floor level.

There is a lot of data around the concept that the environment around us is far more influential in why we make certain decisions than motivation from external sources. Charles Duhigg states, "Environment is the invisible hand that shapes human behavior." 

Motivation matters in sales. But what science tells us is that what we see around us may matter even more. Massachusetts General Hospital saw, over a six month period, water sales increase 25.8% while soda sales decreased 11.8%. Why? Because they placed bottles of water in places where customers could see them, and soda bottles out of immediate site. 45% of Coca-Cola sales come specifically from end-of-the-aisle racks. In other words, people often purchase products not because of what they are, but because of where they are. 

The human body has approximately eleven million sensory receptors. Ten million of those are dedicated to sight. Half of the brain's resources are used on vision. A small change in what we see can lead to a huge shift in what we do. As a result, the environment that we live and work in has a significant impact on our performance and productivity. 

Where am I going with this and what does it mean to you and your business sales? Data suggests that we mentally assign our habits to the location in which they occur (the home, the gym, the office). 

Why is this a potential concern? More and more sales professionals are working from home. That couch that you choose to make prospecting calls from may be more closely associated with where you watch television and eat snacks after work! It might not be the best place to do business. One solution might be re-defining or re-arranging your existing space at home. Create separate spaces for work, exercise, relaxation, or eating. Each space should have its own purpose. 

Scientists tell us that context is the cue that triggers our habits. You can change the context of your work environment by redesigning and re-crafting it. Create a separate workspace with white boards, dream boards, sales slogans, and selling space that is conducive to forming great sales habits. As best-selling author James Clear in Atomic Habits put it, "every habit should have a home." Investing in creating a sales environment at home creates an atmosphere that statistically may drive more sales than motivation from that audio book. 

And as always, below is a link to a value added resource on today's topic. Enjoy!

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Topics: coaching, Sales, sales habits

Dan Whitfield

Written by Dan Whitfield

Dan is dedicated to "coaching up" small business owners and leaders of growth-oriented sales organizations. His goal is to help you get where you want to go. Faster.