While it may sound silly, the role that food and sales play together interact in ways that you may not expect. Fatigue is a natural part of any work day – a good night’s sleep and a hearty breakfast can go a long way in determining the quality of your performance. But planning your work day around things like lunch breaks, and offering your employees snacks throughout the day, can help optimize their performance throughout the day.
Behavioral Economics, Food, and Sales
In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner for his research on Behavioral Economics, provides interesting examples of how we automate our thinking. He differentiates between two systems of thought that people utilize throughout the day – our automated tasks (the state in which most of our decisions are made) and the times where we are actively engaging our critical faculties. Things like water cooler conversations, scripted calls, and replying to simple emails might fall into the first category. These revolve around intuitive judgments. Our critical thinking – the latter category – involves more intensive behaviors. These can include presenting a product to customers, taking a challenging call with clients, or difficult mathematical procedures.
Our brains prefer to take life at a casual stride. Laziness and procrastination are deeply ingrained behaviors in our psyches. When we have to actively engage in thinking, the brain has to work harder, and must use more resources to function. This might all sound pretty intuitive, but psychologists have proven that “mental resources” take a physical strain on the body.
Hunger and the Body
In one experiment, participants are made to focus on a video of a woman while words pass in front of the screen. They are instructed to ignore these words, and when they fail to do so, must re-engage with the video and start again. This takes a toll on the glucose levels in the brain. After finishing the first part of this test, some of the participants were given lemonade with sugar afterwards. Those that did performed much better on making intuitive judgements in the second portion – those that didn’t struggled with “ego drain” and made worse judgments.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Now that it has been proven that rigorous mental activity drains the brain’s resources with physical consequences, a second study was given to judges that gave paroles to prisoners and the times of the day that these paroles were given. In particular, the food breaks were given particular consideration. Right after any food break, judges gave out 65% of their paroles. That number steadily declined as the judge grew hungrier, moving down to virtually 0% right before the next food break. The individuals most responsible for impartial decision making prove to be, when hungry, unreliable decision makers.
OK Pete, So What Does This Have To Do With Food and Sales?
Have you noticed a trend in sales that many of the sales that you are getting happen after lunch? There is a flow that many businesses have in any given day. The time that you call somebody is far more essential than you could possibly imagine. Kahneman suggests that many of the choices that we make in each day are not made by our own understanding (engaging the critical part of our brain.) A good night’s sleep, or the timing of a meal, can make or break a deal.
We recommend taking detailed notes on all of the people that you are speaking with. While you can take notes on a person’s schedule or on their personality, you can also take their lunch time into account. If Kahneman’s assertion is correct, a person’s receptiveness to new ideas, like how your product can work for them, increases after lunch. Not in outsourced B2B sales like us? Taking a client out to lunch can also put you in their good graces. Food and sales share a quiet link that are crucial to decision making.
Food and Sales Matter For You Too
You can manufacture situations like when the timing of a conversation happens. You can’t determine when someone chooses to eat lunch. However, there is always one person you have control over: yourself. Before taking an important call, check yourself. Are you hungry? Are you tired? Do you have everything in order for the rest of the day? A healthy body is an optimal environment for a healthy mind.
Offering snacks for employees might feel like a waste of company resources. At Acquirent, we offer these to employees to keep their mind sharp and morale high. Lunch is an hour long, to allow employees time to eat and recoup their energy. Many of us go to the gym at lunch. Finding ways to break up your day and enrich it ensures company success.