Memory Hacks for Sales Success

Sales Excellence

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Boosting mental agility in a fast-paced world with these memory hacks.

perhaps you’ve found yourself at a social gathering, nudging your partner and whispering, “If that person approaches us, please introduce yourself first because I’ve forgotten their name despite meeting them thrice before.” Maybe you’ve even stood in front of an ATM, staring blankly at the keypad while struggling to recall the same PIN you’ve used for over a decade.

Now, let’s rewind to that recent sales meeting where you sat through seven new product presentations and left with a stack of 26.5 brochures. How in the world can you remember all that information? It seems implausible, doesn’t it? Well, here’s the surprising truth: It is possible.

How do I know? Because I recently had the opportunity to interview a remarkable individual named Dave Farrow. Despite being diagnosed with dyslexia and ADD in high school, he achieved the incredible feat of setting two Guinness World Records for his exceptional memory. After doing a little YouTube research, I was blown away when I saw a video of Dave having memorized the order of 59 decks of cards, totaling a mind-boggling 3,068 cards! Additionally, he astounded everyone by effortlessly reciting the names of the entire studio audience on a live morning show.

Now, you might think Dave possesses some extraordinary gifts. But guess what? You’d be wrong! When asked if his memory was a natural talent, he emphatically replied, “I don’t have a gift. Memory is a skill that can be learned. Most people mistakenly believe that memory is determined by innate ability, but once you understand how your mind works, a new world opens up. Anyone can acquire these techniques.

You see, it’s all about having a trained memory versus an untrained one. It’s like the difference between pushing a car and driving it. You have the same tools in both situations, but one requires tremendous effort while the other employs effective strategies for success.

Below are some tips to remember not only names but also phone numbers, product details, and even your mother-in-law’s birthday. The tips can also keep your brain physically fit so you can use the tips provided.


Illustration of man lifting a weight with a clock and dollar sign as the round weights.
For information to transition from short-term memory to long-term memory, concentration is crucial.


Name Brain

Never resort to calling someone “Dude” or “Buddy” again. Associate names with vivid mental images. For instance, how would you visualize a name like Frank? If you are me, I’m seeing old Blue Eyes Frank Sinatra holding a cocktail and a smoke belting out “My Way” on a stage in Vegas. The technique also works well when imagining them dressed in elaborate costumes. (i.e., random dude Frank turns into Old Blue Eyes, wearing an Elvis costume.) Crazy? Yes. Effective? Absolutely.

Number Brain

To remember numbers, create associations. Let me share an example. Recently, I had to memorize the code to unlock my car: 99513. My son Jake came up with a brilliant trick. He said, “Dad, it’s Wayne Gretzky, George Brett, and Bad Luck.” Can you imagine ever locking your keys in the car again after that? (By the way, if you plan on using that code to break into my car, it’s a 1978 El Camino, and I reside in Liberal, Kansas.)

Office-Time Brain

View tasks as a series of smaller, manageable actions. If, for instance, you need to write a 15-page Sales Territory Analysis, try setting a timer for 15 minutes. Write as swiftly as possible during that timeframe, then pause and move on to another task. It could be another section of your analysis or an entirely different assignment. (I applied this technique while writing my first book, “20 Days to the Top,” and if I hadn’t, I’d still be writing it!) Additionally, don’t focus on critiquing or editing your work until you’ve unleashed all your ideas onto paper. Remember, short bursts of activity keep your mind fresh and foster creativity.

Take regular, short breaks. Think about the story of the lumberjack who worked tirelessly all day while his friend, who worked half the time, managed to chop twice as much wood. The secret? The friend took frequent breaks to sharpen his axe. Even if it’s just closing your eyes for a moment or taking a sip of water, stepping away from work momentarily and returning with a refreshed mindset can make a significant difference.

PIC Knowledge Brain (Know your Product, Industry, Competition)

British author Samuel Johnson once said, “The true art of memory is the art of attention.” Direct your attention to the literature, brochures, or clinical studies you review before you call or walk into that vet’s office. For information to transition from short-term memory to long-term memory, concentration is crucial. So, create a study environment free from distractions such as television, music, or email. Minimizing diversions helps maintain focus and aids in retaining information.

Presentation Brain

Practice and role-play the information you’ve learned. To retain information, it’s essential to encode it into long-term memory. One of the most effective techniques for encoding is elaborative rehearsal. So, if you aim to excel in prospecting for that new product of yours, rehearse the scenarios you might encounter on the big day. Then do it again and again.

Fit Brain

A healthy body leads to a sharp mind. Exercise boosts oxygen flow to the brain, which, in turn, enhances memory function. More oxygen equals better memory. Additionally, exercise can help reduce stress, which negatively impacts short-term memory by activating an enzyme called protein kinase C. This enzyme weakens short-term memory and other functions in the prefrontal cortex, the region responsible for executive decision-making.

So, this month, dedicate some time to giving your brain a much-needed workout by implementing these techniques. While I can’t guarantee you’ll end up in Vegas counting cards and making bank, I assure you that you’ll remember more names, numbers, product information, and much more. By doing so, you’ll save time, gain confidence, and avoid calling your customer Randy instead of Sandy.

As Founder of PRECISE Selling, Brian Sullivan, CSP creates top performers in sales, customer service, negotiations, leadership, and presentation skills through seminars and Internet training programs. He is also the author of the book, “20 Days to the Top – How the PRECISE Selling Formula Will Make You Your Company’s Top Sales Performer in 20 Days or Less”. To learn more, go to


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