Breathing life into your selling

By SteveLewit

United Advisors

So, my wife, Jessica, comes home from her yoga class and says, “I know how to get you guys to sell more.” Now, my wife has never sold anything in her life, but she is pretty intuitive, as most women tend to be. So, I ask her what she has in mind. Here’s what she said.

“Well, when your agents sit down with a client, they are trying to take control of the selling process, right?”

I respond, “Uh huh.”

“OK, and they try and do that using all these selling tactics, old fashioned ones and the ones you teach, which are new fashioned. Right?”

I agree.

She continues, “Here’s something I want you to think about. The person who takes control of the meeting isn’t the person with the best tactics, it’s the person with the strongest breath!”

I respond, “OK, but could you explain what you mean by the strongest breath? This sounds a little esoteric.”

“Sure,” she says confidently. “Look at it this way. Breath is life. When one person has a deeper, more consistent, more rhythmic breath, his or her breath carries more life in it. When your agents are sitting at a meeting with their clients, if their breath carries more life than the clients, it is a stronger breath, and the client will be influenced by whatever is carried in that breath. Likewise, if the agent's breath is weaker than the clients, then the agent will be influenced more by whatever is carried in the client’s breath.”

I nod my head, as if I truly understand all this.

She goes on, “For example, the words that are carried in a weak breath will not have much impact on the other person; put those same words into a stronger breath and the words will have a much deeper impact. Sure, the words you choose carry their own strength, but well-chosen words contained in a breath are like rowing upstream with oars that have holes in them. You can row as hard as you want, but you won’t get very far.”

“OK,” I say hesitatingly, “Let me see if I got this right. I suppose if you place a bullet in a gun that doesn’t shoot well, in other words, a gun that has very little breath, that bullet will not go very far. If that’s so, and it seems to me like it is, to shoot well, or for us, to take control of the meeting, you need to develop a strong breath. So, how do you do that?”

“Well, you do have it right and I’d like to show you how. There are three dimensions of the breath: depth, breadth and rhythm. When a person with a shallow breath tries to communicate, the words carried in the breath are like feathers, easily blown away by the ideas or words carried in the breath of others. This type of sales professional finds that he or she has very little control in life in general and typically loses control in most all meetings with clients.
Selling professionals with a very narrow breath are typically very stubborn and often very irritating to be with. The narrow breath is like an arrow. If the breath is both narrow and deep, then the words carried in this type of breath could come on like a sledge hammer or a sharp sword. People find this type of person very difficult to be with in that they are inflexible and just want to tell people what to do and what’s best for them.

A sales professional with a breath that is out of rhythm makes clients nervous and jittery. Words transmitted on this type of breath are like a gusty storm. One minute, the wind is blowing hard, pushing you in one direction; the next minute, it’s raining like cats and dogs; the next minute, the wind and rain stop and there is calm; the next minute, there’s snow. Since there is no rhythm in the breath of this type of person, sitting with him or her is very disquieting, as you can never find a firm footing in anything that he says or does. When the breath is in chaos, everything and everyone that breath touches will move towards that same chaos.”

“OK,” I say, “so if you strengthen the breath, then you strengthen the words and level of communication that flows on that breath. So, how do you strengthen the breath?”

She looks at me and says, “For me, that’s what yoga is all about. Now, I don’t expect agents to go out and do yoga, even though it would be great for them. But I can give them some basic breath exercises that will make a huge difference in their lives and the way they communicate.”

To create rhythm in the breath

“Rhythm in the breath is like rhythm in dancing. If you want your dance partner to be able to follow you, you need to have the right rhythm. If you want your clients to follow you easily, put rhythm in your breathing.
  • Breath in the left nostril, holding the right nostril closed for four counts

  • Hold both nostrils closed for eight counts

  • Breath out of the right nostril, holding the left nostril closed for four counts

  • Do three rounds

  • Repeat, beginning with the right nostril holding the left for three rounds

  • Repeat, breathing in four counts with both nostrils, hold both nostrils closed for eight counts, breath out both nostrils for four counts
To create depth and breadth in the breath

This is the same as the above exercise, except we are going to increase the count by one for each breath.
  • The first series, starting with the left nostril, will go 4-8-4; 5-10-5; 6-12-6

  • The next series, starting with the right nostril, will go 6-12-6; 7-14-7; 8-16-8

  • The third set, beginning with both nostrils, will go 8-16-8; 9-18-9; 10-20-10
Since this is a strengthening exercise, treat you breath as you would treat a muscle. Don’t push it or make yourself uncomfortable. Just count rhythmically and at a speed in which you can complete the series.

Tell you agents to do both series at least twice a day, preferably three times a day and their selling will go through the roof.”


So she sayeth, and I doeth! And guess what, the proof is in the pudding, and this breathing stuff is making me a great pudding.

You see, in my world, selling is all about communication. In Jessica’s world, communication is all about the sharing of breath, which she experiences as the sharing of life itself. For some of us, this may be too far of a reach philosophically. That’s OK. Everyone finds a different way in life. But for those who have an interest in the Eastern philosophies, or who are open to the vast history and practice of yoga, developing the breath may be just the remedy to bring more life (and more sales) into your selling.