Coffee and Sales

Cup O’ Joe: Does Coffee Improve Sales Performance?

Theory: Coffee = Sales Performance

I admit it. I am an addict and coffee is my drug. I am an early riser, and usually get started between 4 and 5 am. From the minute I wake up, I think about the smell and taste of coffee, it is part of the ignition cycle for my primitive brain. It has become part of my morning ritual, and there is nothing like that first sip while reading the morning’s latest news to kickoff a great day. I have noticed one thing over my time in sales: many of the greatest sellers I have known always have one thing in common – they are patrons of the mocha gods, and always seem to have coffee interwoven into their day.

Little Known Fact: The phrase “Cup of Joe” originated in the U.S. Navy in the early 1900’s when the Secretary of the Navy, Josephus Daniels, prohibited the consumption of alcohol on naval vessels. This led to increased coffee consumption, and sailors sarcastically used the salutation “Cup of Joe” to thank Josephus for their lovely new drink of choice.

Why is this? I can only assume, for obvious reasons, the caffeine factor (as if the ADD-ridden sales trade needs a turbo mode) . The fact that you can kick into overdrive later in the day when you need a boost to cross the finish line. I also think its the basis for routine and good habits in the AM. It’s that morning routine and ritual where you start the day with a pattern of habits, and that beautiful drink is woven into your mindset.

But in homage to my favorite drink, I wanted to take it to the next level, and put my biases aside, and find the proof.

I needed to ask some critical questions. Where is the scientific proof that it could possibly enhance sales performance? Can increased caffeine intake increase revenue? So here is some research I did to bolster my theory:

  • A study involving 68 Navy SEALS showed that caffeine (200+ mg or one big cup) significantly improved visual vigilance, choice reaction time, repeated acquisition, self-reported fatigue and sleepiness with the greatest effects on tests of vigilance, reaction time, and alertness. Marksmanship, a task that requires fine motor coordination and steadiness, was not affected by caffeine. Overall Result: Caffeine significantly improved cognitive performance during high stress and sleep deprivation (Sound like end of quarter?) NIH Study: Caffeine and Cognitive Performance: Navy SEAL Study
  • A Harvard study shows that not only is caffeine a brain stimulant, but it also blocks receptors for a chemical called adenosine, which normally prevents the release of excitatory brain chemicals. With adenosine out of the way, these brain-sparking chemicals can flow more freely—giving you a surge of energy and potentially improving mental performance and slowing age-related mental decline. Harvard Study on the effects of Caffeine and Diet
  • A British study of 9,003 adult subjects reported a dose-related improvement in cognitive performance with higher levels of coffee consumption. Higher overall caffeine consumption (from coffee and tea) improved simple and choice reaction times, incidental verbal memory and visuo-spatial reasoning. UK Caffeine Performance Study
  • A study on over 200,000 subjects found that participants who drank coffee were less likely to die early than those who didn’t, with the greatest longevity benefit going to those who drank between 3.1 and five cups a day. All about the delaying death benefit of coffee. Maybe coffee drinkers live longer and therefor sell more? 😉 Harvard Brain Expert on How Much Coffee to Drink.

This is obviously an ongoing study. So, is coffee a path to your new Sales Superpower? 3-5 cups will do. Let me know how it goes or if you have evidence. Coffee loving comments encouraged 🙂

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