The Catalyst … accelerating business growth in healthcare

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Posted by Stan Schroeder on Wed, Jan 04, 2012 @01:16 PM

The old axiom "Practice Makes Perfect" has been around for a long time. Anyone who has seen my golf game knows that Practice Does Not Make Perfect. Perfect Practice Makes Perfect. If I go to the driving range, what I do is practice my imperfect golf swing, to make it more consistently bad.

If we talk about my softball swing - it is another story. From years of baseball from little league through college, and 25 years of softball, I know the fundamentals of the swing and what it should be. The more I practice, the more confident I become and the more muscle memory kicks in so I don't have to think about it.

Have you made any New Years Resolutions for 2012? Why do so many resolutions fail? Most resolutions (assuming they are reasonable, achievable and important to the person making them) fail because we don't make them habits. You have probably seen different opinions on how long we have to do something to make it a habit. I have often heard it takes 21 days (or 28 days) of consistently doing something before something becomes a habit.

Psychological research on this question in a paper was recently published in the European Journal of Social Psychology. Phillippa Lally and colleagues from University College London recruited 96 people who were interested in forming a new habit such as eating a piece of fruit with lunch or doing a 15 minute run each day Lally et al. (2009). Participants were then asked daily how automatic their chosen behaviours felt. These questions included things like whether the behaviour was 'hard not to do' and could be done 'without thinking'.

When the researchers examined the different habits, many of the participants showed a curved relationship between practice and the automaticity of it. On average a plateau in automaticity was reached after 66 days. In other words it had become as much of a habit as it was ever going to become.

Although the average was 66 days, there was marked variation in how long habits took to form, anywhere from 18 days up to 254 days in the habits examined in this study. As you'd imagine, drinking a daily glass of water became automatic very quickly but doing 50 sit-ups before breakfast required more dedication.

The researchers also noted that:

Missing a single day did not reduce the chance of forming a habit.
A sub-group took much longer than the others to form their habits, perhaps suggesting some people are 'habit-resistant'.
Other types of habits may well take much longer.

66 days is a considerable amount of time and requires strong commitment. And remember that this applies to business habits as well.

If you want call on 2 new prospects each day in addition to your current customers, track your progress each day for 66 days.

If you want to do a better job of asking for referalls, track your progress for 66 days.

If you want to lose weight, track your calorie intake, or your calories burned during excercise , check out the free App Lose It! for the iIPad or IPhone. It will give you a good example of tracking and how motivating that can be.

And practicing bad habits will not get you the results you are looking for, don't hesitate to ask for help to make sure you are practicing correctly.

Have a great 2012.


Rob Bahna

Tags: selling, leadership, determination, leader, priorities, referrals, business growth, business development


Posted by Stan Schroeder on Tue, Sep 20, 2011 @12:48 PM

We all know how important and valuable referrals are to our business, both short and long term. Several industries survive on referrals, and they almost always help separate average performers from those at the top of the list in selling success. They will help you get over that quota and earn more.

Like many aspects in selling, the length and depth of your relationships with your customers will likely have an impact on the number of referrals you are getting. If they trust you and believe in your credibility – the risk is minimized in their mind.
However, in today’s fast paced selling environment, the most successful sales people are the ones who are actively asking for referrals from as many of their customers as they can. We have all run into situations where we get contact information and give them a call and they say “We just went with a competitor. If only you would have called us last week.”
In further developing your own sense of urgency, you need to put asking for referrals on your TO ACCOMPLISH list as an activity that you routinely engage in with your customers. But you will find more success if you sell them on giving your referrals versus simply asking.
Answer the question for them of WHY should they give you a referral? Remind them of the positive results and experiences that they have had and get them emotionally involved. I believe people buy on emotion and justify it logically – which is why it is always critical to recreate a portion of that emotion before you ask for something.
Kathy, from our conversations it appears that you have been happy with the service that Resuscitation International has provided, and you have told me that our pricing has been very competitive. Is that a fair statement? Great - I am glad to hear that. Do you know of any other departments/services in your area that could benefit from our outstanding prices and service - I am sure they will thank you for it....
John, I am glad to hear about the great results you have seen from using the Weil Mini Chest Compressor. You mentioned that the ease of implementation, and consistently providing compressions at the adequate rate and depth, without interruption have resulted in some very positive outcomes. Do you have any colleagues at other departments in the area that you feel might benefit from this device to help them experience similar results in their communities?
Sandy, thank you for sharing your experience with the Weil Mini Chest Compressor and how it has helped you streamline your protocols and your training. Obviously, quality CPR sustained over time is a critical link in trying to save these patients, and I am glad you have found the MCC a valuable tool to help accomplish this. Can you think of any other departments or colleagues who you feel would benefit from this great new device?

You may never know exactly why they will give you a referral (maybe they are interviewing at that facility and they want to show how up to date they are on industry trends…). But you won’t get very many if you don’t sell them on it. We all know we should ask for referrals. Like everything in sales – it is not what YOU KNOW, it is WHAT YOU DO that matters.

Rob Bahna 
Vice President of Sales
Resuscitation International

Tags: Essential Healthcare Management, Schroeder, hard work, EHM, healthcare, medical devices, brand management, referrals, sales, business growth, strategic thinking, business development