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
Author and professional speaker Dr. Jack Singer is a licensed Clinical, Sports and Industrial/Organizational Psychologist, author, trainer and consultant. His expertise includes a Doctorate in Industrial / Organizational Psychology and a Post-Doctorate in Clinical / Sports Psychology.