In Groundhog Day Bill Murray keeps playing out the same situation, over and over, never finding a way to make the outcome different. Do you ever keep making the same mistake?

I sometimes have to make a mistake many times before I begin to change my behaviour and react differently. Traumatic events can have a galvanising effect on our behaviour. Driving mistakes that nearly result in an expensive bill or a trip to hospital, tend to instantly change how I drive, for a few months at least.

Why does the immediate threat of personal injury or wallet surgery effect how we respond to our environment when, any amount of self-admonishment has no effect whatsoever?

In sales small changes in behaviour can pay big dividends. There are more and more competitors snapping at your heels. Next time you win, ask yourself "How far behind was number 2?"

You can change your behaviour. Almost everyone I ask agrees. It's just a matter of a little will power and remembering to apply it! Take the pain.

Alternatively try a an almost painless method that works like magic. The only painful part is in facing up to your real behaviour - the small foibles, habitual phrases and spontaneous reactions that sometimes spoil otherwise excellent sales meetings.

For example, when you interrupt a customer while they are talking to you. If you truly never do this congratulate yourself. You are amongst a select few.

When engaged in conversation about anything I have strong opinions on, I find it very challenging to curtail my desire to speak. Now that I listen to other sales people in a professional capacity, It seems many others have difficulty with this.

Another common negative behaviour is failing to listen. It's true that some individuals seem to deliberately use thirty-five word sentences when four would have been enough. Others speak in a monotone perfectly pitched to induce sleep. Which party in the exchange should make the effort to bridge communication difficulties?

If you want to change these behaviours all you have to do is pay attention. Once you focus on behaviour that you are unhappy with and deliberately notice every occurrence of it, you will begin to change the behaviour, unconsciously, without having to remind yourself or engage in self-criticism.

The mechanism for achieving this is simple. Create a chart with a column on the left for headings and a further thirty to represent the next thirty days. Include weekends. Use a sheet of graph paper or make a spreadsheet. Divide the rows into two subsections headed 'Behaviours to do more of' and 'Behaviours to do less of'.

Now write in headings describing behaviours that you want to change. You can express them in a positive or negative context. Try writing them from both perspectives. Write a few headings rather than a many. You will have more success the fewer things to concentrate on.

Now simply make an appointment with yourself, in your diary, for five to ten minutes, on everyone of the thirty days. If you skip this step, you will need to find some other way to remind yourself to review each day.

As you think about the day’s events, place a tick in the corresponding box, for each occurrence of each behaviour, both good and bad. Providing you are diligent and complete the review every day, by the end of the month you will observe a significant shift, away from the behaviours you want to eradicate, towards the behaviours you want to cultivate.

Author's Bio: 

Clive Miller is the author of of over twenty training courses covering a range of communication, management, and leadership topics as well as specialist sales skills and methods. He has written hundreds of articles and guides for sales leaders and designed templates and tools that are widely used to increase sales productivity, consistency, and results. More than 100,000 words addressing a panoply of leadership, communication, and sales challenges are freely accessible at

Following a sales and sales management career in the IT industry spanning two decades, he founded SalesSense in 1996 to build a new career helping individuals, companies, and organisations increase performance through the development of better methods and practices and by helping people improve skills and habits.

For more from Clive Miller about public speaking, writing, and leadership visit