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Amp Up Your Sales Performance with a Ritual w/ Daniel McGinn [Episode 616]

Daniel McGinn, author of Psyched Up: How the Science of Mental Preparation Can Help You Succeed, joins me on this episode.


  • Daniel says the single biggest challenge facing sales reps today is the ‘no-decision.’ Sales are getting stuck in the quicksand of corporate bureaucracy. CEB research shows that corporate decision-making is bogged down.
  • Daniel wrote his book based on his experience in school athletics and observing rituals business and sports high performers used pre-game. He researched ‘psyching up.’
  • Daniel’s first concept of psyching up was the adrenaline rush before. Research pointed him more to emotions than adrenaline. Crank down your anxiety; amp up your confidence; calibrate your energy to the activity.
  • Daniel reported part of the book at the Juilliard Music School. They have a semester course on preparing your emotions for an audition. If you don’t manage the pressure you won’t do your best under the pressure.
  • One professor had students physically exercise before playing. Andy had a bicycling coach who taught him to “Calm your breathing — control your chaos.” We have stresses we need to control.
  • A surgeon cited in the book used a five-part ritual before surgery: pause and clear the mind, think of the patient, review the plan, state affirmations, and say a prayer. He also kept his mentor’s surgical instruments in the O.R.
  • “It’s not weird if it works.” A salesperson wears his prom king crown before making a phone call. Daniel listens to himself giving an interview on NPR. At Westpoint, they listen to personalized audio highlight reels before a game.
  • Andy tells himself, “Action!” before he goes onstage. It makes him smile. Research shows that people who have a ritual perform better, and people who are taught to do a ritual also perform better after doing the ritual.
  • The Yerkes-Dodson Law says people perform best when their stress is in the middle — when they’re neither bored not frightened. Focus on excitement (anticipation) rather than nervousness (fear). You will be at your best.
  • Cold calling is difficult. Finding ways to tweak your emotions and be excited about successful engagement will help. Daniel suggests a playlist. Use what works for you.
  • Daniel recommends centering. Look for a YouTube video to see how. Whatever psyching up technique you choose, let it build positive emotion, practice it, and make it a ritual.