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sales success
Aug 04

Simple Secrets for Using the Power of Positive Affirmations to Supercharge Your Sales Success

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Confidence , Sales Professionals , Self Improvement

Since Ruth Fishel published her classic book, Change Almost Anything in 21 Days,” the power of using positive affirmations has gained much attention.  We now know from the rich research conducted in the field of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) that our belief systems and the thoughts connected with them drive our success or failure.

Much outcome research has been conducted with sales professionals. Why do some sales professionals get overwhelmed and flee the profession within a year, while others flourish and continue to build successful careers?  The answer lies in the self-talk habits that sales professionals bring with them when they first enter the profession and continue to use as they adapt to the stresses and strains of selling as a career.

What Are Affirmations?

Affirmations, positive or negative, are the statements we make to ourselves, based on how we interpret the situation in which we find ourselves at the moment.

All too often, our affirmations are negative and self-defeating, such as “That client said ‘no’ to the sale because I screwed up.”

Such a negative affirmation will produce serious damage to the sales professional’s confidence and self-esteem, thus leading to more “failed sales attempts,” and a self-fulfilling prophecy of feeling hopeless and helpless results in continual selling failures.

The good news is that we have choices in the types of affirmations that we say to ourselves, and positive affirmations said consistently can have powerful benefits, both in career success and even your health.

World-renowned experts, such as Dr. Bernie Siegel and Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of the Positive Psychology Movement, point to many cases of people overcoming devastating illnesses, using positive thinking, including repeating positive affirmations.

Dr. Seligman sites 40 years of his own research connecting sales success with affirmations that sales professionals use to maintain an attitude of optimism and gratefulness, discarding “failed” sales as flukes and focusing on the next sales opportunity.

5 Characteristics of Successful Affirmations

1. They must be positive.

The verbiage must always be positive. For example, saying, ”I am confident about my sales skills” is much better than saying “I no longer doubt myself in terms of my sales skills.”

2. The must be said with passion and gusto.

When we believe that our affirmations are true and in the present, and we repeat them with power and energy, we begin the process of conditioning our subconscious minds to actually strive toward making these beliefs true in the present.

Affirmations must be given more than lip service. When you say it with conviction, feel it by visualizing it as real, and let the wonderful feelings of having already accomplished this, then you re-program your mind and your body to accept it as part of the new you.

“I know that what I have to offer my customers will absolutely impact them in a positive way and they will thank me over and over for providing these products (or services) to them!”

3. They must be said in the present moment.

Our subconscious minds do not know whether something is happening in reality or in our minds. For example, if you close your eyes and visualize holding a half of a lemon and see yourself taking a juicy bite out of it, you will salivate, as your subconscious mind believes this visualization is in fact really happening.  Our bodies respond to what we think about just as if it were actually happening at that moment.

So, with affirmations, be sure to state them in the most positive way and as if they are happening and real, right now. Even if you don’t know who your next prospect is, state it as if you have already met this potential customer:

“I know exactly how my product (service) will benefit this customer and if I were this customer’s best friend, I know exactly what I would say right now to convince him to buy.”

4. They must be realistic.

Giving yourself unrealistic affirmations sets you up for frustration and disappointment. Positive affirmations should reflect views of yourself and your success that are truly possible, not only in your fantasies.   For example, I cannot realistically affirm that I am becoming a famous actor or athlete, but I can affirm that I am a terrific psychologist and mentor for sales professionals.

5. They must be personal.

We can only make affirmations about ourselves, not what we want other people to be.  So, give yourself affirmations about your success as a sales professional, living out your career goals in the present.

A wonderful example of using a positive affirmation to explain ones’ success, despite missed opportunities in the past, is this quote from Michael Jordan:

I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career.  I have lost almost 300 games.  On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game-winning shot and I have missed.  I have failed over and over again in my life.  And that’s precisely why I succeed!”

How to Get Started Using Positive Affirmations

  • Use your computer desktop to post your affirmations and repeat them at least 10 times a day, rotating new ones weekly
  • Use sticky notes posted on your bathroom mirror so you will begin to repeat your affirmations while brushing your teeth or brushing your hair
  • Use more sticky notes on your refrigerator, your car visor, or other places that you frequent daily
  • Use affirmations as mantras to use during meditation, while engaged in yoga and while conducting mindfulness exercises

The key to success is repetition and, as Ruth Fishel has shown, if you are consistent, you can change your life and your success in as little as 21 days!

The Important Link Between Optimism and Sales Success
May 26

The Important Link Between Optimism and Sales Success

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Confidence , Sales Professionals , Self Improvement

How do you explain unfortunate events to yourself, such as not getting the sale? Is the tone of your self-talk optimistic or pessimistic? As it turns out, the way you explain negative life events matters because there is a link between optimism and sales success. Based on over 1000 studies, we know that optimism has the power to boost your sales.

Research on the link between optimism and sales began with an investigation of a major life insurance carrier, and since then it has been replicated in more than 1000 studies over 40 years, across many industries and sales organizations. The findings of these studies proves definitively that maintaining an optimistic explanatory style brings dramatic success.

Optimistic VS Pessimistic Explanatory Styles

Explaining Failures

It boils down to how you explain unfortunate events to yourself.  For example, if a sales professional has a disappointing sales call, how does he/she react and explain that disappointment to himself/herself?  People with an OPTIMISTIC explanatory style rationalize the “failure.” They see it as a fluke, a temporary setback and not representative of who they are in general.

A person with a PESSIMISTIC explanatory style, on the other hand, will view unfortunate events as directly related to their inadequacy. They see it as a permanent issue and representative of other “failures” in their lives.  They often view the situation as an insurmountable obstacle and conclude that they may need to consider a change in career.  Sales professionals who quit or are fired are most often pessimistic in their explanatory style.

Explaining Successes

When good outcomes occur, such as closing a sale, OPTIMISTS believe it was exactly because of their skill. These successes will repeat themselves and they view the success as proof that they have the talent to continue to be successful.  Optimists have what social scientists refer to as an “Internal Locus of Control.”  They perceive that outcomes are in their control.

When good outcomes occur to PESSIMISTS, they are more likely view them as “lucky.” The success was temporary and not indicative of their skill and effort.  Pessimists embrace an “External Locus of Control,” where they believe that circumstances beyond their control impact them constantly.

This ground-breaking research by Dr. Martin Seligman led to a questionnaire which can easily determine whether someone tends to maintain an optimistic or pessimistic explanatory style. Knowing the link between optimism and sales, companies often use this instrument to select the optimistic applicants.

Want to learn more? Check out Dr. Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism: How to Change Your Mind and Your Life. You can also take this Learned Optimism quiz from Stanford, which is adapted from the book.

Research on Optimism and Sales

Here is a sample of the many research findings that show a clear link between optimism and sales:

Insurance

Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 38 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 88 percent.

Real Estate

Optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 33 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by a whopping 319 percent.

Banking

Top sales people are 25 percent more optimistic than below-average sales people.

Automotive

Optimistic sales people outsell pessimists by 20 percent, and optimistic sales managers outsell pessimists by 27 percent.

Telecommunications

Optimistic sales people outsell pessimists by 29 percent, and extremely optimistic sales agents outsell pessimists by 39 percent.

Customer Service

Top customer service staff are 50 percent more optimistic than below-average staff.

In addition, optimism is good for more than just posting excellent sales numbers. Research also shows that optimistic people live longer and have stronger immune systems.

The link between optimism and sales may have you wondering – are you doomed if you are hard-wired with “Pessimistic Genes?”  Absolutely not!  Developing optimism can be easily learned, so there is hope for all professionals. Every individual can start today by practicing a more optimistic style of self-talk. Also, if you think your sales team could benefit from a lesson, I am available to help – just email me at DrJack@FunSpeaker.com or give me a call at 800-497-9880.

Become an Inner Winner and Skyrocket Your Sales Performance
Oct 15

Become an Inner Winner and Skyrocket Your Sales Performance

By Dr. Jack Singer | Advising the Advisors , Financial Advisors , Sales Professionals

Matt is a sales manager in a large insurance company. Besides making sure that his salespeople can answer questions about their products, Matt trains them to communicate with potential clients, how to get them to realize how his company’s products will be great investments, and how to close a deal. But Matt is befuddled at the poor sales success rates of his sales professionals. Traditional sales training techniques ignore the biggest obstacle to sales success: Not recognizing and taking control of the Internal Critic (the habitual pattern of negative thoughts) that lingers within every salesperson.

Here are four tips that you can use:

1) Understand the warning signs of your Internal Critic at work.

Self-limiting, negative and pessimistic thoughts (self-talk) inhibit your success. Examples are: “What if . . .,” “I hope I don’t . . .” “I should have said . . .” “The client won’t like me if . . .” “I always have problems with . . .” “I probably won’t be able to close this sale,” or “I can’t believe how stupid I was to say that . . .” Negative, messages that pass through your mind immediately lead to muscle tightening, rapid breathing, and perspiring. These physiological responses are perceived as “stress.”

When negative thoughts go through your mind, make a fist (out of view of the prospective customer) to remind you to stop thinking that way. Take a few breaths, relax, and think positively and optimistically. What you believe, you can achieve. Internal self-talk leads to beliefs (positive or negative), and beliefs lead to reactions. You need to believe in your products and in your ability to show customers why they need to purchase that product today. Once you believe in yourself and your products, you are in a much better position to achieve sales success.

2) Give yourself positive affirmations

Start thinking optimistic thoughts about your sales success, as if it’s happening today. When you give yourself positive affirmations and imagine that these things are happening right now, your subconscious mind buys into it.

Here are examples: “I know my products and I will show my customers how these products are perfect for their situation,” I know how to treat people so they will be open to my suggestions,” My self- confidence as a sales person grows each day,” I see myself breaking sales records each month.” List 10 positive affirmations and say each one 10 times in the morning and 10 times in the evening, breathing slowly and visualizing the each affirmation happening now.

3) Visualize sales success before you approach potential customers.

Visualize yourself preparing for the sales call and feeling confident as you enter the room. Visualize the sights and sounds around you as you begin. See the client smiling and nodding in agreement as you show them how your product will serve her insurance and investment needs. Visualize yourself shaking hands with the client, closing the deal, and writing up the order.

4)Show them the power of goal setting.

You are 11 times more likely to reach a goal when you write it down. Write down short and long-term goals that are specific and action-oriented. En- sure the goals are realistic. Next, visualize yourself feeling wonderful once you achieve that goal. Imagine it as if you’ve already achieved the goal. List ways in which you tend to sabotage yourself, and how you’ll stop that behavior.

Becoming an Inner Winner leads to sales success every time!

Add the Sales TRIUMPHS Model to Your Selling Skills Repertoire
Oct 08

Consistently Outperform Your Sales Competitors

By Dr. Jack Singer | Advising the Advisors , Sales Professionals

Add the Sales TRIUMPHS Model to Your Selling Skills Repertoire

By Jack Singer, Ph.D.

Susan has been doing well in her insurance sales career for many years. She understands how to prospect, how to follow up on leads and referrals and how to offer excellent customer service. Yet, she’s amazed at how much more successful her colleague, Michael, is, when she puts much more time and sweat into her work than Michael seems to do. She wonders what is missing in her approach.

The key difference between Michael’s and Susan’s approaches is the fact that Michael has trained himself to be an ““active listener.” He uses my sales T.R.I.U.M.P.H.S. model to not only help him maximize his sales deals, but even when he is not “selling” anything, it is a powerful technique that helps him communicate effectively with his wife and teenagers.

This model works wonderfully for virtually any product or service that one is selling.

Here are the components of your sales T.R.I.U.M.P.H.S.:

T Treat your client/customer with respect and value. Developing rapport with the prospective client/customer is a crucial first step. Smile, position yourself at the same level (sitting or standing, depending on what the client/customer is doing), and slightly lean toward him, maintaining eye contact. Make sure your cell phone is on silent and you can give undivided attention to the customer.

Listen to what the prospective customer is saying and don’t shuffle papers or start thinking about your response. Just listen to her. Regardless of what the person asks, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you need to answer immediately. It’s ok to say, “That’s a great question. Give me a day or so to research our products to find the one that precisely addresses your goals and needs.” Some prospective customers can be long-winded, nervously asking a lot of questions, especially with expensive products. Cutting off a speaker may lose you the rapport you need to develop. Always give the speaker the courtesy of finishing a point before you interject yours. Again, take notes so you won’t forget what you wanted to say.

R Reflect the meaning of what your client is telling you before you actually respond. The best way to understand your prospective customer is to make sure you are listening carefully and the best way to do that is to reflect or paraphrase what you heard him say before you comment on it. An example is, “What I’m hearing is that you are not certain that this particular annuity product will serve your goals and needs.”

I “I statements” are powerful. As you paraphrase and reflect back what the buyer is saying, you can use “I statements,” which are very powerful. For example, “I am getting the feeling that you are uncomfortable with this product and would like some other options.” For you to start with “You” would be much more threatening for the buyer. “You don’t like this product.”?

It is important to realize that by understanding what the listener is saying, doesn’t mean necessarily agreeing with him. You are simply showing that you are hearing his concerns. Example, “Fred, I hear your concerns because of your last experience with a similar annuity product. Let me get the information you will need to make you feel better about this.” Always acknowledge the speaker and his position before voicing your opinion.

U Understand the needs and goals of your client/customer. If you are genuine and sell quality products that will truly satisfy your customer’s needs and desires, the customer will trust you. That includes not selling him the most expensive product if you believe it is not right for him. Nothing gains their trust more than you being honest with him.

M Monitor the tone and mannerisms of the prospective customer. Body language is so important that studies point out that only a small percentage of what is “heard” by a listener are the words of the speaker. Most of what is “heard” by the listener is tone of voice, smiling, facial expressions, vocal inflections, etc. Watch for all of these indices of your customer’s mood and attitude. You might even wait for a pause and make an interpretation of what you are sensing. An example is, “I am getting the feeling as if you believe that I am trying to force you to buy this product. Is that what’s going on in your head, Alice?”

P Probe gently and with respect. Your job is to try to understand what your prospective client/customer needs and how you can accommodate those needs. The only way to show people that you have exactly the product to satisfy those needs is to ask gentle questions about their goals and hopes (related to your product). An example is, “If you could describe the ideal insurance product to give you peace of mind, what would it be like?”

H Help your client feel safe in the conversation. For major purchases, such as insurance policies, clients needs to feel safe discussing her specific money issues. Gently probing about personal and family situations that affect their pocket book requires them being able to trust you. This entails ensuring confidentiality and showing genuine concern for their needs. If you expect them to share their biggest fears and insecurities, you must focus in on what they’re saying, be sensitive and assure them that you will help them to meet their goals.

S Summarize. You’d be amazed at how much you show the speaker you are listening by frequently summarizing what you just heard. This will also help you to focus and remember what the speaker is telling you. If you have hit the key points in your summary, the speaker will feel validated and closer to you. If you missed key points that he is trying to convey, he can inform you about that at this time. Practice this with friends and family. It’s easy to get the hang of it and it really works!

Sticking to this Sales TRIUMPHS model will surely bring you your share of triumphs over your competition!

Please feel free to print this graphic and keep it handy!

Add the Sales TRIUMPHS Model to Your Selling Skills Repertoire

Imposter Fear by Dr. Jack Singer
Jul 01

What Financial Advisors Can Learn From Joe Flaco

By Dr. Jack Singer | Advising the Advisors , Sales Professionals

How to Conquer the Real Threat to Your Success as an Advisor

By Jack Singer, Ph.D.

I don’t know Joe Flacco personally. But I know a thing or two about what it takes to become a champion, as he did by leading the Baltimore Ravens to victory in the 2013 Super Bowl.

With my 33 years of experience as a Professional Sport Psychologist, I have counseled and trained many professional football players and world champion athletes. They all face challenges, adversities and setbacks during their careers. One thing they had in common was that most suffered from “imposter fear” – a psychological obstacle that many financial advisors experience.

“Imposter Fear” occurs when – no matter how much confidence or even swagger an athlete may display to teammates, opponents, coaches, or his fans – self-doubt nags at him, and he worries that he will be exposed as inadequate to the challenges he faces. In Joe Flacco’s case, he was always unheralded, first by entering the NFL out of I-AA University of Delaware, where the level of competition did not match up with large I-A programs. Pundits wondered if the unassuming Flacco could perform on the big stage of the Super Bowl, and they predicted that in the line of fire he wouldn’t compare to the much ballyhooed quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers, Colin Kaepernick .

Advisors can also experience “imposter fear” – worrying that their success owes to luck and somehow they’ve fooled others into believing they are skilled advisors. They believe that it’s only a matter of time before that luck runs out and they are exposed. This is a frightening prospect. They anticipate embarrassment and ultimate failure in their career. This fear of failure causes performance anxiety.

I have helped many athletes overcome their “impostor fear” to consistently perform at their best. The exact same set of skills I teach them can be employed by advisors. I was recently invited to consult with a wealth management firm whose president was concerned about inconsistent performance from a large percentage of his advisors. Moreover, because of the ailing economy and a roller-coaster stock market, his assets under management were declining sharply.

Following a series of confidential interviews with a sample of advisors in the firm, it became clear to me that many suffered from anxiety, because of the market conditions and because of the somewhat unrealistic expectations of their president, but also because they harbored their own internal insecurities. I designed a series of training programs to teach the advisors how to recognize and overcome their fears, maintain an optimistic and proactive approach with their clients, use active listening skills, overcome stress and anxiety and ultimately how to lead to their clients directing new referrals to them.

What was the most important issue I helped these advisors overcome? You guessed it: “impostor fear.” Stay tuned for my next blog, where I will discuss the Origins of the Imposter Fear.

 

Jun 22

Advising the Advisors – Part 1

By Dr. Jack Singer | Advising the Advisors , Sales Professionals , Stress

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Financial Advisor Trainer and Coach

A Psychological Perspective of PTSD Among Financial Advisors

When we think about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), we typically envision tornadoes, hurricanes, combat, and other life-threatening events. But PTSD is not limited to life-threatening events. For example, events threatening financial security and even career-threatening events can be very traumatic, as well.

A recent study reported in Health & Social Work examined the risk of PTSD associated with sudden and dramatic personal financial loss.  The authors conducted a survey among 173 Madoff victims and found that 58 % met the criteria for the PTSD diagnosis, 61% acknowledged high levels of anxiety, 58% were depressed and 34% had health-related issues.  Moreover, 90% of these victims felt a substantial loss of confidence in any financial institutions.  In short, severe economic trauma can certainly lead to PTSD.

We know from the famous work of Dr. Abraham Maslow, that when people have their security threatened through any event, all of their confidence and self-esteem can be dashed overnight, and they then focus all of their attention on desperately searching for recovery.  Certainly, this holds for both clients and financial advisors, when their financial security is undermined. 

A major study of the emotional well-being of financial advisors during the 2008 financial crisis (documented in the May, 2013 Journal of Financial Therapy), showed that 93% reported medium to high stress levels and 39% of the advisors reported stress symptoms at levels considered to be diagnostic of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In the case of advisors, it was not only the threat to the security of their careers, but the threat to their own portfolios, as well.  After all, in an ideal world, advisors basically make the same financial decisions and use the same strategies with regard to their own portfolios, as they would make for their clients’.

So, many advisors suffered the double whammy of major losses in both their clients’ portfolios and in their own portfolios. Added to this stress, is getting bombarded with calls from frightened, disgruntled and hostile clients, who blame the advisor for not having seen this coming.

Diagnosing PTSD. The manual for diagnosing emotional and mental syndromes is the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual IV-TR (DSM-IV-TR). Diagnostic criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder include being confronted with an event, where ones’ response involves intense fear and helplessness.  In addition, recurrent and obsessively distressing thoughts about the event persist and can become all consuming. It is easy to understand advisor’s fearing the collapse and the domino effects, and feeling helpless since they obviously have no control over such events.

People suffering from PTSD feel as if the traumatic event is still occurring or will reoccur and the psychological distress  intensifies at exposure to external cues that resemble any aspect of the traumatic event. So, the traumatized advisor comes to the office each day, dreading watching the market fluctuations and even hearing their phone ring.

In order to reach the specific clinical criteria of PTSD, the symptoms must persist for at least one month, and at least two of the following specific symptoms must be present:

  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Irritability and angry outbursts
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Hyper-vigilance
  • Exaggerated startle response

It is common for PTSD sufferers to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollection of the trauma, so avoiding the office and looking for a career change is a common outcome of PTSD. In addition, the traumatized advisor may avoid contacting clients, anticipating a negative, hostile conversation. I have spoken to many advisors, who, when they are stressed, simply avoid coming into the office or call in sick.

In Australia, for example, when the government imposed fee-for-service demands on advisors, removing the traditional commission based services, a large percentage of advisors panicked and looked for new careers. If the thought of telling clients that they were moving to a fee-for-service status frightened advisors, imagine the huge impact of the economic collapse of 2008 and the anticipation of future collapses. Many advisors began to question whether they could continue to work in a profession where they have the huge fiduciary responsibility of safeguarding their clients’ family savings; moreover, making midlife career changes is also traumatic, so many advisors facing these decisions felt trapped.

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and AskDrJack.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

 

May 24

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 5

By Dr. Jack Singer | Sales Professionals

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Friday Finale

Today is “Friday Finale!”

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 5 of a 5 part series.

Part 1: Gameplan for Sales Success

Part 2 : Triumphant Tales Tuesday

Part 3: Wednesday Workshop

Part 4: Mental Toughness Thursday

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports CoachThis is the final day of my week long Game Plan for Sales Success. Just like the first day, Magic Monday, the intent of this wrap-up day is to provide fun and more bonding to end the week long training program.

When a football team is preparing to face an opponent on Saturday, Friday is the day for a no pads, relaxed “walk through” and team bonding. For sales professionals, the game plan to develop revamped selling skills, new products or services, and learning best practices from each other has now been conducted and the final day is the time for a wrap up, which may be accomplished with low stress team building exercises and work-games. There are many workbooks on the market, describing sales training exercises and games.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Friday Finale Agenda

#1. Open the day with a fun icebreaker exercise: The Human Treasure Hunt. This is my favorite exercise to begin a training day. Hand out a page that contains a checklist of what attendees need to gather among their colleagues. The checklist actually describes characteristics of the attendees, rather than things. The first person to complete the checklist wins a nice prize.

Each of the items on the checklist begins with this sentence opening: “Find two colleagues who…”

You can have fun items, such as “Find two colleagues who have the same birth month as you” or “enjoys the same flavor of ice cream.” And…you can have job-related items, such as “Find two colleagues who have been recognized for their success selling (a product or service) and ask them the secrets of their success.”

By blending fun and job-related items, the Human Treasure Hunt becomes a great way to open the day. It also has a side benefit of allowing more networking among all of the participants.

Now, the first person to complete the checklist doesn’t win the prize until she/he reports the information in front of the entire audience, so when approaching people to get information for the checklist, participants need to carefully listen for their names and listen carefully to what they tell them, so they can accurately repeat the information to the audience. For example: “Mary Jones and Tom Smith both have been honored for their sales success this year. Mary attributes her success to….and Tom attributes his success to…”

This trains participants to listen carefully, memorize the material, and then present it correctly.

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#2. Games for building rapport with customers. Like all sales games, these customer rapport building games can be conducted individually or in teams, which compete with each other. One hilarious way of practicing these skills is by using improvisation methods. This stimulates thinking on your feet, and having excellent communications and careful listening skills.

In one of these games, Alphabet Soup, divide the participants into pairs, and have them choose who takes the role of sales person and who takes the role of customer for round one. In round two, they will switch roles.

Set up this game by telling everyone that they are in a sales setting with their product or service being discussed with a prospective customer. The sales person starts by making a comment about the product or service, but the comment must begin with the letter “A.” The person playing the customer role responds, but his/her response must start with the letter “B.”

The two continue alternating sentences until they complete the last statement or response with the letter “Z.”

This can get hilarious and teaches quick thinking, while building rapport with a customer.

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#3. Games for improving listening skills. Developing wonderful listening skills is critical for the success of any professional sales person. I like to begin by teaching a method of listening that I call the T.R.I.U.M.P.H.S. model. While a description of this model is beyond the scope of this article and can be found detailed elsewhere, let me summarize each heading in the model.

Treat your customers with respect and value each one.

Reflect the meaning of what your customer is telling you before you actually respond to it.

“I” statements are most powerful.

Understand the needs and goals of the customer before trying to sell.

Monitor the tone and mannerisms of the customer, as well as the content of what she/he is telling you.

Probe gently and with respect.

Help the customer feel safe in the conversation.

Summarize frequently during your conversation to ensure that you are hearing what the customer is trying to relate to you.

Once your audience has a thorough understanding of this model, you can ask for two volunteers: one to play the role of sales person and one for customer. Have them come to the front of the room and have the “customer” role play the type of customer with whom your team members typically deals. Have the role playing “sales person” try to listen to the needs and goals of the customer, and the objections or concerns about the product/service, etc. After 10 minutes or so, stop the exercise and ask the “customer” whether he/she felt listened to. Why or why not did they feel that way?

Once questions are answered and feedback is given, pair up the entire audience and have them practice the skill.

A second exercise is a really funny way to demonstrate how most of us do NOT listen. This is the party-game called Telephone. Get six volunteers to leave the room and give a seventh volunteer a card with some information or a short story written on it. Then call in one volunteer from the other room and have the volunteer with the information read what is on the card to the second person. The second person is then charged with the task of memorizing the information and reporting it (without the card) to the third volunteer. The process proceeds one volunteer at a time until the last volunteer is given the information.

By the time the story is told to six or so people, it is completely distorted from the original. This game is loads of fun, but makes the point about how important listening skills are.

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#4. Games for closing and handling customer objections. Another improvisation exercise can be used in for closing deals and dealing with customer objections. Again, have everyone in the room pair up. One member of the pair will be the customer and the other the sales person, and then the roles can be reversed for a second round with different instructions.

Have all of the “sales people” leave the room and give them their written instructions, while the “customers” get their written instructions separately. Then bring the “sales people” back in, find their “customer” partners and begin the exercise.

Here’s an example of how to set the scene for round 1: The sales people are told that “You only have time to make one more sale today and you only have until the end of this workday to close a sale worth $5000 in order to win a bonus trip to Hawaii.” (Note: if possible, use actual products or services that your team sells.)

The “customer” role players receive these instructions: “You are considering purchasing _____, but you are only interested in one of her/his products today, and it’s the one that sells for $4000.”

Let the fun begin. You’ll hear uproarious laughter throughout the room, as sales people wheel and deal with customers and the customers resist. Many great closing techniques will be demonstrated, which can be presented to the entire room by those “customers” who were actually swayed to purchase the more expensive product.

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#5. Closing exercise. If your team is small enough that everyone knows each other, the Brag Bag exercise is a marvelous way to close the day and the training week. Each attendee has a small paper bag and puts her/his name on it with a permanent marker. Each bag is hung around the room with masking tape, leaving the open end exposed. Now each attendee is given enough small strips of paper to have one for every bag (or attendee).

Here’s the best part: After learning much about their colleagues during the five-day training, each attendee has several positive impressions of each colleague. So, each attendee writes the most positive thing she/he can say about each colleague on separate slips of paper and drops each slip in the appropriate bag. Each attendee then picks up his/her bag and staples it shut. They are not to open the brag bags until they leave the seminar. Imagine the joy and comfort on the way home, waiting for their flight, or when they finally arrive at home, to read a whole group of slips, relating positive feedback from each of their colleagues! What a great way to end your training week.

Of course, for many of you, the training will involve large numbers of attendees, where you will not have much information about the colleagues with whom you did not interact during the week. Therefore, here is a closing exercise for large groups of attendees:

Random Picks 

The trainer reviews the content for the entire week and then each participant writes down an Action Plan for him/herself. I prefer having a handout, with numbered lines on which to write down the actions/behaviors each participant will begin practicing and the date by which they hope to accomplish those actions. A sentence beginning with “I will” can lead off each line. For example, a participant my write down that she/he will “practice listening skills with my spouse or best friend for a week and solicit feedback about how I am doing.” They then write down a date by which they plan to complete the task.

On the bottom of the sheet, they put their names and business telephone numbers. All papers are passed to the front, shuffled and placed in a pile. On the way out of the meeting room, each participant picks a sheet, makes sure it is not his or her own, and commits to call the person whose action plan she/he received, on the date shown on the paper.

The beauty of this exercise is that it serves to stimulate actionable take-aways and commits the participant to follow up, because they will be made accountable by the colleague who received their action plan and will be following up.

Of course, you are free to modify any of the exercises conducted during the five day sales training program. Here’s wishing you the best of continued success in training your sales team for peak performance!

 

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

May 13

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 4

By Dr. Jack Singer | Sales Professionals

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Workshop Thursday

Today is “(Mental) Toughness Thursday!”

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 4 of a 5 part series.

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports CoachThis is the fourth day of my week long Game Plan for Sales Success. The week began by exercises aimed at developing group cohesion, and was followed on Triumphant Tales Tuesday by case studies of sales successes that colleagues in your team can share with each other. Wednesday was the day that sales managers introduced specifics about a new sales push, new products, services, sales strategies etc. Workshop Wednesday was more of a didactic format, so that attendees could be exposed to your power-point, video programs, handouts, etc., teaching them all they need to know about these products and services.

We now have arrived at Thursday, which has the goal of troubleshooting problems sales, disappointments, missed opportunities, etc.  This is where mental toughness comes in.  Elite athletes gain knowledge from setbacks and bounce back quickly.  So, (mental) Toughness Thursday is all about training your team to deal with disappointments, mishaps in sales and missed opportunities.

Like athletes, many sales professionals look at missed opportunities and setbacks as “failures,” which now erodes their self-confidence.  And obviously, loss of self-confidence feeds on itself and undermines performance.  So, you need to teach them to quickly defuse the self-flagellation that could result from perceived “failures.” The best way to do that is by pro-actively putting this skill into the training package during the Toughness Thursday.

Using mental toughness in the face of disappointment is one of the most important ingredients for maintaining focus and overcoming the fear of continual failure. Once the sales professional runs into adversity, it is easy to become distracted from the goal, focusing instead on his perceived failure and the fear of repeating the failure.

Sales Performance= Sales Skill + Knowledge + Motivation  Minus Distractions.

This simple formula tells it all.  The more the distractions, the less the sales performance, regardless of skill, knowledge and motivation.  And, the number one distraction is the negative self-talk that follows setbacks in performance. 

Four training tips to help your sales team overcome negative distractions. 

#1) Stop negative self-talk immediately. Self-limiting, negative and pessimistic internal dialogue (self-talk) always inhibit success. Examples are sentences that begin with: “What if …,” “I hope I don’t . . .” “I should have said . . .” “The client won’t like me if . . .” “I always have problems with . . .” “I probably won’t be able to close this sale,” and “I can’t believe how stupid I was to miss that . . .” Negative, messages that pass through your mind immediately lead to muscle tightening, rapid breathing, and perspiring. These physiological responses are perceived as “stress,” and stress inhibits great performance.

Wear a loose fitting rubber band on your wrist and when negative thoughts go through your mind, snap the rubber band hard enough to stop the thought.  If a rubber band isn’t convenient, tighten a fist as a reminder to stop thinking that way.

Once you succeed in stopping the thought, take a few slow, deep breaths, relax, and change your thoughts to ones that are positive and optimistic. For example, when you catch yourself beginning a thought with “What if…,”  change it immediately to “No big deal.  I’ll learn from this and move on.” Always tell yourself to move on to the next opportunity and never linger on the negative situation that already passed.

Once you have taught your team these tips, pair them up and role play negative thinking scenarios and practice healthy responses.  Share examples with the rest of the team.

#2) Give yourself positive affirmations, continuously.  Regardless of what happened that you are not happy about, look to the next opportunity right now. Fill your thinking with positive affirmations about yourself, such as… “I am a very successful sales professional. In my career, I have bounced back from many disappointments and achieved success. I don’t have to be perfect to be successful, and I don’t have to get every sale to be successful.” 

A great plan is to have each member of your team write down 10 positive affirmations and say each one 10 times in the morning and 10 times in the evening.  Make sure they write down the affirmations, not just think about them.

# 3) Visualize sales success before you approach potential customers. Visualize yourself preparing for your next sales call and feeling confident as you enter the room. Visualize the sights and sounds around you as you begin. Picture the customer smiling and nodding in agreement as you show him/her how your product or service is perfect for their needs.

#4) Use the power of goal setting. You are 11 times more likely to reach a goal when you write it down, as opposed to simply thinking about it. Write down short and long-term sales-related goals that are specific and action-oriented. Ensure the goals are realistic.

Next, visualize yourself feeling wonderful once you achieve that goal. Imagine it as if you’ve already achieved the goal. It’s important to then list ways in which you could (or did in the past) sabotage yourself from accomplishing the goal, and how you’ll avoid that behavior.

Training your team to recognize negative distractions resulting from sales  disappointments and how to overcome those distractions will give them the mental toughness necessary to be continually successful.

Stay tuned for the next installment: Finale Friday.

 

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Apr 29

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 3

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Financial Advisors , Sales Professionals

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

Today is “Wednesday Workshop!”

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 3 of a 5 part series.

sales, sales success, insurance sales, sales coaching, role playing, game plan

In my first two articles about a week long Game Plan for Sales Success, I discussed kicking the week off with “Magic Monday,” involving strategies to develop group cohesion among your sales team. The second training day, which I referred to as “Triumphant Tales Tuesday,” has the goal of successful team members sharing the elements of their successes with their colleagues, in the form of case studies.  This day includes role playing exercises, so that team members can practice the skills that have already been shown by their peers to be successful.

Now, we are at mid week, where I suggest a workshop format, Workshop Wednesday.

Recall that this training week mirrors that of a sports team. Wednesday is typically the day for the team’s game plan for their next opponent is introduced. In this case, sales managers can introduce specifics about a new sales push, new products, services, sales strategies etc. Workshop Wednesday is more of a didactic format, so that attendees can be exposed to power-point, video programs, handouts, etc., teaching them all they need to know about these products and services.

As on Tuesday, role playing exercises can be very helpful in practicing these new strategies.

Because many sales professionals internally resist change, the introduction of new or different products, services or sales strategies may raise this resistance.  Consequently, this is a wonderful opportunity to discuss methods of overcoming resistance to change.  In such a discussion, I include such topics as “Overcoming Imposter Fear,” “Taking Charge of Your Internal Critic,” and “Taking Charge of Your Attitudes and Emotions.”  All of these topics (addressed in other articles I have written) address the issue of resistance to change.

Like all training days, I recommend ending with a fun exercise.  There are many manuals offering team building closing exercises and some are directed specifically for sales professionals.  An example is “Superspy.” In this sales training game, attendees pair up in teams to discover the most critical information they need about a fictitious company that is a prospective buyer of your product or service. The team with the most creative ideas for uncovering critical information about the prospective buyer wins a fun prize.  All of these exercises serve multiple purposes:  having fun together, developing a competitive spirit between small teams, and brainstorming to develop creative ideas to sell your products.

Stay tuned for the next installment:  (Mental) Toughness Thursday.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Apr 12

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach – Part 2

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Financial Advisors , Sales Professionals

GAME PLAN FOR SALES SUCCESS: Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

By Dr. Jack Singer
Licensed Sport Psychologist
Professional Sales Team Speaker/Trainer

This is part 2 of a 5 part series.

Today is Triumphant Tales Tuesday!

Coach Your Sales Team Like a Pro Sports Coach

In my first article about a week long Game Plan for Sales Success, I discussed kicking the week off with Magic Monday, involving strategies to develop group cohesion among your sales team. Using a nautical analogy, no matter how many different “boats” your individual team members arrived on when they joined your sales organization, they are now all on the same “ship,” with each crew member working toward the goal of bringing the ship into port successfully.

Now, it’s Tuesday and time for team members to share success stories with their colleagues. Modeling success strategies from colleagues helps all team members achieve their individual goals, with the combined team goals obviously being accomplished as well.  Again, as in sports, focusing on team goals, rather than individual ones, creates cohesion and the desire for colleagues to help each other.

Triumphant Tales Tuesday actually serves three purposes:

  • First, colleagues share case examples of sales successes they have accomplished, a form of “best practices” sharing.  The more detail included in the stories, the better, with all of the elements that ultimately led to the sale, including listening to and assessing the prospective client’s needs, asking the right questions and closing techniques.
  • Secondly, sharing case examples of success stories that the sales professionals shared with some prospective clients, in order to convince them to purchase products or services, is a valuable sales tool, from which to learn.  For example, an insurance sales professional can share a story that she told a prospective client about how happy another client was that he purchased that insurance product, because shortly afterward, there was an accident or family tragedy, which was fully covered by the product they had purchased.  Showing prospective clients how current ones are thrilled with the product or service they purchased from you is a powerful selling tool.  It is like a testimonial, but telling it in story form is much more impactful than simply quoting a comment from a satisfied customer.  Of course, if the current client is willing to be contacted by your prospective client, that is even more powerful. Your current client will be helping to close the deal for you!
  • Third, these tales of success can easily lead to role playing scenarios, where team members can practice story-telling skills with each other, as if they were telling them to prospective clients.

Role playing, with the task simulating as closely as possible an actual sales scenario, is a powerful learning technique.  Football teams, for example, in preparing for bowl games, will simulate crowd noise and other distractions during their practice and they practice in the same facility in which the big game will be held. Simulating what they will face during the game conditions the players’ mental and physical “muscle memories” so that the actual game will be much less stressful and they will be focused on the goal of winning.

So, too, in sales training, the closer the training simulates the exact situation in which the sales professional finds himself, the less mental and emotional distractions will hamper the ultimate sales approach.

There are many forms of role-playing used in training.  Like all training, I make it fun by having colleagues cheering for each other, giving out prizes for the best “acting,” and concluding the day with another fun activity.

Stay tuned for my discussion of the third day of the Game Plan for Sales Success, Workshop Wednesday.

Listen to Dr. Jack and Jon Hansen discuss this topic on BlogTalkRadio.

Listen to internet radio with Jon Hansen on BlogTalkRadio

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem. To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Mar 08

Your Game Plan for Releasing the Champion Within to Your Business

By Dr. Jack Singer | Confidence , Sales Professionals

by Jack Singer, Ph.D.
Professional Sport and Business Psychologist

Your Game Plan for Releasing the Champion Within to Your BusinessRunning a successful business requires the exact same skills from its managers and employees that professional sports teams require from their coaches and athletes.

To stay at the top of your game requires the three C’s: Confidence, Concentration and Control.  All three of these key elements overlap and depend on the others for ultimate business success.

  • Confidence is the single most important variable in improving your performance and it comes from positive self-talk. Recognize when you give yourself negative, self-defeating messages, such as thoughts that begin with “What if…,”  “I hope I don’t…,” or “I shouldn’t have…” I call this negative self-talk the “Internal Critic.”  For so many of us, that critical, internal voice dominates over the rational, positive, optimistic one.
  • Concentration is directly affected by your self-talk.  To run a championship-level business, you cannot be distracted by fears, worries or negative emotions, all of which incubate in negative self-talk.  A simple formula for success is: Your Performance=Your Talent +Motivation-Distractions. Keep the distractions to a minimum and your performance will always reflect your true talent.  Can you guess what the number one distraction is? That’s right…  negative self talk!
  • Control your negative self-talk, and you control your destiny!

So how does one do that, you ask? 

Here is a simple, but powerful, five step mental toughness routine that only takes a few minutes to practice each day.

  1. Wear a loosely fitting rubber band on your wrist and every time you catch yourself beginning a negative, self-defeating thought (such as, What if I fail at this endeavor?”), snap that rubber band, while telling yourself (with emphasis) to stop this silly thinking.”
  2. Take a deep, calming breath, by breathing in to the count of four through your nose, hold it for four seconds and then a big exhale from your mouth, to the count of seven.
  3. Challenge every negative thought with questions, such as Do I really have any evidence that the thing I’m afraid will happen, will actually happen or am I simply anticipating the worst?” If you challenge those thoughts, you will realize that most of your fears are just fabrications of the worst case scenario.
  4. Give yourself an “identity statement,” which is directed at boosting your self-confidence.  For example, continuously visualize yourself as having already accomplished your business dreams, and tell yourself how proud you are of your accomplishments.  When you do this consistently, you are well on your way to success. The more frequently you visualize your success as if it has already happened and continually think about it in positive terms, the more quickly your subconscious mind will actually want to make it happen for you.
  5. Complete your mental toughness routine with another deep, centering breath.

It’s simple: Practice the “three c’s” of success each day, then you will bring out the true champion within and your business will thrive!

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem.

In his speaking presentations, Dr Jack teaches sales and financial services professionals the exact same skills he teaches to elite and world champion athletes to Develop & Maintain the Mindset of a Champion!

To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Feb 25

How to Motivate Your Sales Team for Consistent Success

By Dr. Jack Singer | Sales Professionals

by Jack Singer, Ph.D.

Professional Clinical/Sport Psychologist

How to Motivate Your Sales Team for Consistent SuccessAllison is a very successful sales professional.  Last year her income was higher than she ever imagined that she would earn.  But, Allison came to see me because she dreaded going to work each day.  It was not the process of selling that she dreaded…it was the fact that she was struggling to motivate herself. You might wonder how someone making a great income could be unmotivated regarding her job.

Research on motivation began with the pioneering work of Dr. Abraham Maslow, who determined that people are motivated according to a hierarchy of needs, and money happens to lie near the bottom of that hierarchy.  Consequently, once someone makes a good income, the higher order needs become paramount in driving that person’s passion.  Earning more money does not satisfy a deficit in higher order needs, such as  a feeling of belonging and a sense of accomplishment.

In Allison’s situation, she didn’t trust her sales manager, believed he didn’t genuinely care about her, played favorites, and rarely gave her verbal recognition of her success. As a result, Allison didn’t see a future with the company, regardless of her sales success.

Another pioneer in the research regarding job-related motivation was Frederick Herzberg, with his two factor model.  Herzberg’s research showed that salary or commission rarely motivates people; instead, having not enough money will make them dissatisfied with their jobs. Earning more than they need is nice, but will not motivate them or enrich their jobs.

So, what motivates a sales force?

It’s an age-old question, of course. Money has always been the big carrot for sales people.  But, as both Maslow’s and Herzberg’s research showed, financial compensation is an important determinant of job satisfaction only when a person doesn’t have enough for her/his needs.

David Joyner, executive vice president of sales for Caremark Pharmaceuticals describes it this way: “Salespersons in general have more needs than simply getting a paycheck. That is part of the reward, certainly, but once you have a fair compensation plan in place, then the real work of employee motivation begins.”

To create satisfaction, a sales manager needs to provide job enrichment by addressing what motivates his team to do their jobs, then finding out how to make it better and more satisfying for each of them.

My own research into job stress showed there are marked individual differences in the way working people are motivated. However, we can generalize from the vast number of motivational studies conducted with thousands of sales professionals in hundreds of working situations.  Survey data shows that beyond a good income, most sales professionals need to feel a sense of trust, for both their colleagues and managers, a real sense of achievement, and recognition of their hard work.

  • Creating a culture of trust. Sales professionals need to trust that their supervisors want them to succeed, not just to hit quotas and the monetary rewards. They need to feel that their supervisors genuinely care about them.  As a sales manager, it is critical to take the time to show a genuine interest in the families and lives of your sales people.
  • Creating a culture of achievement. Setting individual and team sales benchmarks is fine, but it is even more motivating to show your sales force how their performance has enhanced the image and success of the company.  They need to feel as if they are important ingredients their company’s success. They need to buy into the important role that their products or services play in the lives of the end user.  All of this ties into Maslow’s need for a sense of belonging and feeling like an important a part of a successful group.
  • Creating a culture of recognition. Sales professionals feed off of recognition.  This means that managers need to be personally recognizing them frequently.  A common misconception by some sales managers is the belief that “their paycheck shows them how well they are doing, so I don’t need to pat them on the back.”  This notion is absolutely wrong.  Everyone loves a pat on the back.

There are other forms of recognition that are just as important.  A sales manager at Nortel Networks emphasizes this kind of recognition and states, “There are two things that Nortel has never stopped or changed, even through challenging economic times. One is our annual sales conference, where we bring our sales team together, both to interact with each other in a forum setting, but also to do peer recognition. You get the sales team up there on stage and you reward them in front of their peers. That is hugely important to them.”

The other way to feel recognized is to belong to an exclusive group…such as the high producer’s group that is invited to attend seminars with powerful speakers at lavish locations, at company expense.  This feeling of being a member of this elite club is the ultimate in personal recognition.

Sales Performance= Sales Skill + Knowledge + Motivation  Minus Distractions.

This simple formula tells it all.  The more the distractions, the less the sales performance, regardless of skill, knowledge and motivation.  And, the number one distraction is negative thoughts and beliefs about feeling unfulfilled in terms of trust, belonging, a sense of achievement or recognition.  Sales managers can certainly eliminate these distractions from their sales professionals by consistently providing these powerful motivators to them. Frequently ask them for feedback to get a pulse on how they are feeling and what you could be providing that is missing for them.  You will be rewarded greatly with a highly motivated team!

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

About the Author:

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s and elite athletes for 34 years. Among the association conventions which Dr. Jack has keynoted are those which serve financial planners.

Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada. He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs, some specifically for athletes and some for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence and esteem.

In his speaking presentations, Dr Jack teaches sales and financial services professionals the exact same skills he teaches to elite and world champion athletes to Develop & Maintain the Mindset of a Champion!

To learn more about Dr. Singer’s speaking and consulting services, please visit DrJackSinger.com and FunSpeaker.com or call him in the U.S. at (800) 497-9880.

Dec 28

How to Develop Tough Skin And Refuse to Give Up

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Sales Professionals

by Dr. Jack Singer

How to develop mental toughness by Dr. Jack SingerDo you give up easily? When you fail to get what you want in a short period of time, do you quickly throw up your hands and move on to something else?

The roadblocks you experience on the road to success either lead to ultimate failure or serve as a stepping-stone to your victory. And, the choice is yours. Refuse to give up, and you’ll experience victory.

Setbacks are a natural part of life. They can derail your train to success if you let them, but their purpose is to build you up. They test your resolve so you can see what you’re made of. They show you how bad you want the goal you’re after. They show you where a course correction is necessary. And, they help you to appreciate the sweet victory at the end.

When you learn from your mistakes, you see the value in them. The more mistakes you make, the quicker you’ll reach your goal. Mistakes are simply corrections to your course that keep you on the correct path to your destiny. So hold onto your dreams and keep the momentum building!

How to Keep Yourself Motivated

Motivation is the fuel that keeps your engine running toward your dreams. Here are some great ways to keep motivated:

  • Keep a diary or journal of your accomplishments and how you overcame setbacks.
  • Remind yourself of where you started and how far you’ve come since then.
  • Spend time with happy, motivated people who encourage you and build you up.
  • Keep moving forward, even if you falter or become frightened.
  • Hang on to the dreams that you have, and know that you can achieve them.

Choose What Matters in Your Life

Staying motivated is mostly a matter of choice. If you’re focused on doing well and staying on course, you’ll have a much better chance of achieving what you desire. Reminding yourself of your goals and what you’ve managed to do so far is a great way of keeping yourself interested in where you’re going. That makes you want to continue instead of giving up or getting discouraged.

No matter what you want to do, you can achieve it. No matter what obstacles you face, you can power through them or find ways around them. Your attitude and determination matter more than your skill. When you set your mind to accomplish something important and pursue it with all of your heart, you can achieve anything your heart desires.

When your attitude is positive and focused, you’ll be destined for success. Success is the only option when you have the proper attitude. Setbacks are only failures if you give up. Keep putting one foot in front of the other and visualize the success you’re working to attain.

The success you crave is within your grasp. Obstacles along the way only serve to show you how strong your desire is to achieve victory. When you find a way around, over or through your obstacle, you’ll discover a renewed confidence and determination that will fuel your journey to the realization of your destiny.

Free 20 Minute Telephone Consultation with Psychologist Dr. Jack Singer

I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.

Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis

Sep 23

3 Action Plans for Championship Sales

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Sales Professionals

By Jack Singer, Ph.D.

Why is it that some salespeople with the most talent are often not the most successful?  What gets in their way?  How can some sales people with less natural talent over-achieve and reach much more sales success than their more talented colleagues?  

Are there specific mental skills that can lead anyone toward championship levels of sales performance?  What separates the mindset of a champion from that of the also-rans? 

Traditional sales training programs ignore the biggest obstacles to success.  Instead, they focus on specific sales and closing techniques.  But the biggest obstacles are not sales talent, motivation or knowledge of techniques. The biggest obstacles, like those overcome by champion athletes, are the internal, mental and emotional barriers that sales professionals face on a daily basis.. 

Below are three powerful components of the mindset of a champion.  Put them into action today and watch your sales performance skyrocket! 

Take Charge of Your Internal Dialogue: Engage the linguistic nutrition of championship performance

Your self-talk is the foundation of your belief system and your belief system determines your attitudes about your success or lack of it in your sales career.  Inner thoughts either set you up for success or failure.  So often, people unconsciously use self-limiting thoughts which prevent them from being successful. It’s a form of unintended self-sabotage.  

Examples of such self-talk phrases, are:  “The economy will make this a tough sell now” or   “I’ll be lucky if I make half the sales I made last year.”  These kinds of thoughts are like eating junk food once you decide that a healthy eating lifestyle is just too difficult to maintain. Your thoughts set you up for failure. 

Your thoughts determine your beliefs and your beliefs develop your attitudes, which determine your behaviors and actions.  Therefore, negative, pessimistic thoughts will ultimately lead to procrastination and poor sales outcomes.  Such thoughts actually convince your mind that you will fail. 

Action Plan 1:

Keep a written journal of negative thoughts that enter your mind regarding your sales performance and notice the patterns.  Then, use rational thinking to counterpunch each negative thought with a healthy, positive thought.  Example:  Change “This economy will drive my customers away now.” to “I don’t have to be successful with every client.  This is a numbers game. I am a sharp, creative person and I’ll find new markets/customers for my product, despite the economy.  I’ll keep my eyes open for opportunities, which I really believe will present themselves.”

Unleash the Power of Your Mind:  Plow through the mental road blocks to championship performance 

Your subconscious mind takes orders from you without judging success or failure. You always have the choice in what you feed to your subconscious mind. Therefore, you must believe in yourself and in the value of the products you are selling.  Eliminate “imposter fears,” which are the belief that you really are not good at what you do or your products are really not as valuable to potential customers as you propose they are.

So often, salespeople focus on their failures and what they did not achieve.  Instead, you need to focus on what you have achieved. You can actually program your mind to believe in your strengths and your ultimate success. 

Just as athletes focus on their strengths, you can focus on yours.  Always remember that your product knowledge, your customer service skills and your sincere concern that the customer is satisfied and better off having purchased your products or services will overcome any deficiencies you see in yourself.

Action Plan 2:  Practice presenting a positive attitude toward everyone you meet, not just prospective clients and customers. Constantly pat yourself on the back with positive self-talk, such as, “I provide a valuable service to my clients” and “I help people achieve their goals.” 

Focus on good results you have achieved in your sales career and pat yourself on the back.  Learn from results you were not pleased with in the past and move on.  Keep a SUCCESS JOURNAL.  Record times you were on a roll and situations where you were really proud of what you accomplished.  Each day put at least one item on your list.  Review the list of successes regularly, especially when you are having a worrisome day. 

Fill Your Mind with Optimistic Expectations: Unleash the most powerful mental tool that drives championship performance

Research conducted over 30 years with over one million participants has determined that there is a single, powerful predictor of sales achievement—optimistic expectations. 

Ability and motivation in ones’ sales career are not always enough to guarantee consistent results. Expectations of success or failure are self-fulfilling prophecies that often determine the outcomes, regardless of ability and motivation.  The research also shows that people who develop learned optimism live longer and healthier lives, so there are major benefits that go far beyond your career. 

The key here is to believe that you will succeed, despite the challenges, obstacles and setbacks that are inevitable in your sales career. Continue to believe you will succeed, even in the face of resistance, rejection and hostility.  How you explain to yourself and react to setbacks in your sales career is a crucial determinant of how successful you will ultimately be.  Training yourself to look at setbacks as temporary challenges and minimizing those setbacks with the knowledge that you can find a solution and overcome them, predicts ultimate success.  

Action Plan 3:  Developing optimistic expectations can be learned!  Even if you are a chronic pessimist and your parents or spouse is a pessimistic thinker, you can absolutely learn ways to overcome the negative beliefs that underlie your pessimistic explanatory style.  Revisit Action Plan 1 (above) because the best way to develop an optimistic explanatory style is by understanding your own negative thinking patterns and practicing changing them.  You can also get cognitive training from a professional psychologist or by attending training seminars directed at teaching you learned optimism.  Such training will do wonders for your career and in your life!

Dr. Jack Singer is a professional speaker, trainer and licensed psychologist. He has been speaking for and training Fortune 1000 companies, associations, CEO’s, sales forces  and elite athletes for 34 years.  Dr. Jack is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC, GLENN BECK, FOX SPORTS and countless radio talk shows across the U.S. and Canada.  He is the author of “The Teacher’s Ultimate Stress Mastery Guide,” and several series of hypnotic audio programs– some specifically for athletes and others for anyone wanting to raise their self-confidence, self-esteem and optimism. For more information, see: www.drjacksinger.com