Imagine if there was just one sales pitch. For every appointment, you’d pitch it the same way. You say this, you say this, you say this. The homeowners buy or they don’t.

Wouldn’t life be simple?

And if there was one sales pitch, guess what: I’d hire a parrot and send him on the call.

Of course selling situations are case by case, and those salespeople who succeed more than others — let’s say succeed far more than others — are the ones who have good habits. We all have habits, some for better, some for worse. And they’re hard to break — good habits as well as bad ones.

The Habits of Good Selling

Great salespeople have good habits. They read books on selling. They learn the most effective ways to overcome objections. They ask questions. The good habits kick in in the presentation. They’re all happening at the same time and one after another.

And they take time to learn. Not just in selling but in anything relatively complex. Take golf, for instance. They tell you to keep your head down ... Keep your arm straight … . You’re running through this mental checklist. Golf pros don’t do that because when you do something enough times and put enough passion into doing it, it eventually becomes what you do and who you are.

So in selling, here are some good habits:

Habit 1:Never assume. You acquire just enough experience that you know, or think you know, within a minute or two whether or not your prospect is going to buy. His tone and body language tells it all. Your instincts say: Hey, this guy is brushing me off. Develop the habit of dismissing that thought. You’re just getting started.

Habit 2: Stick with it. A lot of sales are won by attrition. You hung in long enough and they gave in. They gave in because you didn’t give up. Make it a habit not to give up.

Habit 3: Feel that change is in the air. Whatever’s standing in the way of the sale, figure out how to change it. Guy standing there jaw clenched, arms folded? You point to the piece of siding on the coffee table and say: Go ahead, feel that. Now he has to reach down and pick it up. No more arms folded. Show him another siding sample and invite comparison. You’re in motion.

Habit 4: Make him say yes. Get him to say it again and again. “Beautiful day today, isn’t it?” On a bright sunny day when it’s 65 degrees out, who but a misanthrope could disagree? “You like saving money, don’t you?” Yep. We all do.

Habit 5: Find his passion. Whatever he loves, whatever he cares about, know what that is so you can draw a clear, logical correlation to it in your presentation.

Habit 6: We’re all in this together. Find out how he’s like you and use that to make him like you.

Sales can be the hardest work for the highest pay, or the easiest work for the lowest pay. Take your pick. Do it well by equipping yourself with the habits of good selling. Make them part of what you do and say. It will get to the point where they’re ingrained and your competence as a selling professional is unconscious. You just do it, and in doing it, you do it well — like your golf game.

—Sales veteran and trainer Mike Damora has been the sales manager at several large home improvement companies. Reach him at