One of the things I love the most about sales (and hence a recurring theme of my weekly column) is how much of a parallel there is between sales success and life success. What works in sales usually works in life, and thus almost all the quality of life improvements I’ve been able to create have come directly from the application of sound sales practice.
I’ve landed on six simple mindsets that almost all successful sales professionals embrace. Six things that they not only believe, but more importantly act upon regularly. Show me a sales rep who thinks these things and I’ll show you someone who’s a top 10% performer.
- Keep moving. It is healthy to debrief after a bad sales call. Self awareness is the building block of self improvement, but feeling sorry for yourself and moping, or over analyzing every comment or look from the prospect is a destructive waste of time. D.H. Lawrence said it best in his poem “Self Pity”. I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself. Win some, lose some. Learn from your mistakes. MOVE ON!
- Embrace change. Nothing stays the same. Fighting change is like swimming against the current. It’s a lot of work for little return. The greatest fortunes on earth have been made from people looking for the opportunity in change, instead of focusing on what they will have to let go. Watch the movie “The Big Short” (one of my all time favorites) for a great example of this concept. Change is inevitable.
- Focus on what you control. Any time spent worrying or trying to impact elements outside of your control is wasted. Not only that, you could have spent that time impacting the things you do control. Stop worrying about when the commission plan will change. Max out the one you have. Be HUMBLE enough to recognize the limits of what you can impact. I’ve always loved the serenity prayer. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Stop accepting responsibility for things outside of your control. On the things you DO control, accept whole and unconditional responsibility. No buying your own lame excuses. Own what you control and if you make a bad call, see mindset #1.
- Speak up. Clients respond well to people who tell them the truth! I’ve made a career of this. The few times it has backfired are dwarfed by the number of times I’ve won trust and great clients by having the courage to speak up. It’s not about being opinionated or always preaching, but if you see something, SAY something. Remember though, HOW you say it is often more important than WHAT you say. You can speak up without trampling people’s opinions or feelings. Often speaking out actually comes down to asking the right questions.
- Love to learn. Education is a journey, not a destination. Push back the fear of looking silly or stupid at something. Humility is healthy. There is a good reason why pride is one of the 7 deadly sins. Many of my students and clients are shocked when they find out that I attend Sales Training seminars. Their surprise has always puzzled me. I make 100% of my living as a sales trainer. What would it say about me if I believed I was beyond learning or improving? If anything, the learning is compounded by what I already know. It goes way beyond just the subject matter though. Anytime your brain is being challenged to learn something new, there are physiological effects on the brain and the body. Every computer needs updates. Your brain is no exception.
- Celebrate ALL success. Your colleague is no threat to you. Don’t resent their success, celebrate it. Envy is also one of the 7 deadly sins. Your only barometer of success is yesterday’s version of you. Others just show you what’s possible. You need someone to chase, but don’t chase anyone except the better version of yourself in the future. Matthew McConaughey had a great Oscar acceptance speech a few years back where he eloquently spoke to this concept. It’s worth a watch if you have the time. Skip to 3:20 in THIS VIDEO to see it.
What you believe will greatly affect what you do. Look around at the most successful sales people you know. You’ll usually recognize these 6 mindsets in them.