At a very recent President’s Club sales workshop this month, our group was exploring ways each one of us could change the future. If one did nothing different between now and year end, kept up the same pace of prospecting and closing, what would our year end income look like?
Let’s suppose there was one simple change each one of us could make (a simple pill to take) that could have a dramatic impact on the abundance created by our selling efforts and related income, what would that pill contain? Would we actually take the risk and swallow?
Following the standards of our Sandler B-A-T (Behaviour – Attitude – Technique) Model we drilled down and completed an individual self-assessment as to the quality of execution in each area.
The B-A-T formula helps us tap into our true under-leveraged potential.
Let me give you a brief description of each of the B-A-T elements. I’ll save the ATTITUDE and potentially offensive element for last!
Behaviour is all the selling activity we do and are involved in each day. We’re speaking of productive activities, that is time with people who have issues, challenges, frustrations, un-realized opportunities that we can help with and be paid accordingly. Activities only count as BEHAVIOUR if they are directly connected to the advancement of GOAL attainment. Behaviours and activities that are not an enabler of success are simply busy work.
Start first with defining the end game, what success looks like ….. the GOAL. GOAL = Close $1m in new business in next 12 months. BEHAVIOUR = Approach 10 new decision makers each week, consistently. (40/Month – 480/yr). Close 20 of the 480 (4%) at an average deal value of $50k = GOAL $1m.
The one and only thing we can manage in sales with any degree of certainty is that over which we have total control …. Our activities, specifically the number of decision makers we APPROACH.
Could it be that simple? That would depend on our TECHNIQUE.
Applying non-conventional, contrarian sales TECHNIQUES, we differentiate ourselves from the typical salesperson and establish buyer trust quickly and effectively. Gaining further trust, we (MINOR READER OFFENSIVE WARNING) establish an agreement with the buyer, up-front, that once we ask and answer each other’s questions and should one of us not see a fit or reason to move things forward that it’s OK to say NO, let’s go no further. In fact, we encourage the buyer to be honest, not falsely lead us into thinking we’re going to do business because they want to avoid a sales confrontation. We go for NO with discrete use of negative reverse selling techniques. Tough to do if you’ve got a weak pipeline and a manager looking over your shoulder for that next deal! More on ATTITUDE later.
Now why would any savvy “salespro” ever make it easy for a buyer to say NO? Here’s the thing. Every other salesperson has been taught to get a YES, never take NO for an answer, they’re driven and paid to score, and are for the most part allergic to rejection. YES feels good. NO’s feel bad. No one wants to FEEL bad, right? This human dynamic is so prolific, that buyers even avoid giving bad news to salespeople, and instead respond with ambiguous, sketchy non-commitments camouflaged in stalls and excuses with a nuance of hope and positive strokes. And, the salesperson thinks they’ve got another hot one! Let’s just call that unpaid consulting … giving away all your knowledge and expertise and that of your colleagues and company for free, thinking you’ll get paid when you ink the deal.
The inability to “DIS”- qualify early, up front is the main source of polluted forecasts, disappointment over lost proposals, missed budgets and failed sales careers. Taking the contrarian high road, being different, self-confident enough to absorb the shock wave of rejection without cracking up requires a supportive ATTITUDE.
Ok let me ease into this. Humans, and that does include sales people, bring to the game one of two ATTITUDES beliefs or mindsets.
1. Abundance - Possibility
There are the psychological winners in life who carry an ATTITUDE or mindset of abundance – possibility. Risk and failure have become their friend and a source of learning and growth. Playing outside the comfort zone is a rush, not life threatening but life enhancing. They never allow how they feel about a challenge to impede or limit their action. They’ve learned that increasing activity, getting out of the comfort zone, challenging oneself is the ante-dote to thoughts and feelings of scarcity and limitation.
2. Scarcity - Limitation
On the other hand, some walk through life with an ATTITUDE of scarcity – limitation, often a product of upbringing or falling into the trap of believing the input hurled at them from the surrounding environment. “You’ll never make it!.” “You’ll never amount to anything.” “Loser.” “You won’t be able to do that.” Their response and feelings toward change and challenge is now one of self-imposed limitation or accepting the external messages of limitation placed on them by others. The scripts and accompanying movies they play out in their mind scream avoidance, caution. The default judgment call is always one of “play it safe.”
I don’t suppose that a mindset of scarcity and limitation would have any effect on sales activity or GOAL achievement, let alone Goal setting and stretching, would it?
In the sales world, our attitudes and beliefs about the Market, our Company, and most importantly Ourselves are the true drivers of top winning performance, not to be confused with high performers on paper who mistake order taking and customer demand fulfillment with sales performance.
The Market .....Sales attitudes and beliefs (either abundance or scarcity) toward our market – territory involve what we think and how we feel about our customers, the competition, and the economy. Thoughts like "my customers are cheap," "budgets are limited," "the competition has a better product / solution," "our price is higher than the competition," "The economy is down," "My territory is depressed," lead to feelings of inadequacy and marginalized behaviours.
The Company ...... Sales attitudes and beliefs (either abundance or scarcity) toward our company involve what we think and how we feel about our company’s value proposition, the level of support they provide us, and our company’s brand and reputation in the market again lead to feelings of inadequacy and marginalized behaviours.
Ourselves ...... Last and most importantly, our own attitude and beliefs concerning ourselves in three highly inter-related areas, Mind, Body, Spirit are the pivot point between Abundance and Scarcity driven behaviour.
How and what we THINK drives how we FEEL in any given situation. How we feel in reaction to these thoughts sets off a chemical reaction in our brain. Negative thoughts produce the stress hormone, cortisol. When stressed, the brain computer shuts down the rational thinking processor and boots up the reptilian brain survival mechanisms resulting in a Fight (Argue with the prospect), Flight (Back down, hang up on that cold call), Freeze (Can’t think of what to say or ask next), Appease (Take 20% off, no problem) types of reaction.
Check out Amy Cuddy’s TED talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” for some insight into how our stress shows up in our body language. When body language carries 55% of the message we send to prospects and customers, might that be something we sales "pros" might want to get on top of? Attitude and beliefs of limitation and scarcity invoke negative thought reactions to challenges and a lot of resulting bad, unproductive sales behaviour.
Want to change your behaviour and actions, then simply change your thoughts.
(WARNING: SOME READERS WILL BE OFFENDED)
Unfortunately, the majority of us walk through life with the Spiritual tank running on empty. We have not yet broken the code or unleashed the power the Mind – Body – Spirit partnership has over one’s THOUGHTS – FEELINGS and resulting ACTIONS. The ability to maintain an abundance driven life, that is creating abundance for others over self, is a direct function of one’s feelings toward oneself.
Self-limiting beliefs and scarcity thinking lead to feelings of neediness, fear, doubt, uncertainty, stress, anger and a lot of counter-productive selling behaviour in front of prospects and customers. Not a good place to get your emotional needs met.
Breaking the code on the Mind – Body – Spirit partnership changes what and how one thinks. Feelings are controlled. One’s own neediness and personal agenda (I need this deal) is subordinated to satisfying the needs and agendas of others (Isn’t that what professional selling IS all about?). New possibilities emerge. We have the courage to drop our defenses, park our egos and the accompanying need to convince and win the sales argument with buyers. We now co-create outcomes with our customers as business equals versus the typical subordinated SELLER convincing BUYER.
The gift afforded those who strive to understand and work at living the MIND – BODY – SPIRIT partnership enjoy a more purpose filled life. Need for affirmation by others to feel good about ourselves (Need for Approval) is replaced with a need to help others. A new sales character is formed.
Driven by an Attitude – Mindset of Abundance, the results of our work in sales address the problems, issues, challenges, frustrations, uncertainties, needs, and concerns of our clients and customers making something in their job or life better, AND we just happen to get paid for it.
Putting the MIND – BODY – SPIRIT partnership to work for ourselves!
Engage YOUR attitude of possibility quickly, right now, before you read on.
As a part of my early morning sunrise spiritual reading and reflection time I’ll often take-in the daily message from Rick Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life and founding Pastor of Saddleback Church in the US. Over the last few weeks he’s been metering out practical advice, grounded in scripture (SORRY!), for those who want to CHANGE. His advice provides us with a simple pill, but for some one that is hard to swallow. Following are several keys to unlocking the MIND – BODY – SPIRIT code.
I won’t get into the details but here are a few highlights from Rick. I’ll include links to the articles.
DREAM BIG …. “Nothing happens in your life until you start dreaming. With an ATTITUDE of abundance and possibility, don’t limit your dreams by making it up on your own, ask God.”
BE WISE. LOOK AHEAD AND FACE REALITY …. How many salespeople do you know who fool themselves into thinking they’re great and then hit a never ending slump.
DON’T LET DISTRACTIONS KEEP YOU FROM YOUR BEST …. “The distraction of popularity. If you are always worried about what other people think, you will be distracted from your destiny. The distraction of pleasure. It’s okay to have fun and feel comfort, but if that’s the primary focus of your life, you will never fulfill your destiny. The distraction of profits. You can’t serve both God and money. Making a profit shouldn’t be the primary focus of your life. The distraction of possessions. Judging your success by how much stuff you own will keep you concerned about keeping things and maintaining things.” …. Stress, stress, stress!
IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE THEN FACE THE TRUTH …. “The secret to personal change is not willpower. The secret is to know and face the truth. You must know and face the truth about yourself and your nature if you want to change. Nothing will change in your life until you know and face the truth about your weaknesses, your relationships, your successes and failures, and your past and future.”
YOU HAVE TO CHOOSE TO CHANGE ….. “Change requires making choices. It’s not enough to dream of changing. It’s not enough to desire change. In order for you to change, you will need to make a decision. You must choose to change.”
IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE START WITH YOUR THINKING …. “Change requires new thinking. In order to change, we must learn the truth and start making good choices, but we also must change the way we think. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel determines the way you act. If you want to change the way you act, you start by changing the way you think. In addition, if you want to change the way you feel, you must start with the way you think.”
HOW TO HAVE LASTING CHANGE IN YOUR LIFE …. “If you want to have lasting change in your life, you need to refocus your mind. Specifically, you need to change your thought patterns from focusing on what you don’t want to focus on over to what you do want to focus on. Because whatever you focus on is what you move toward. If you focus on what you want to avoid, you’ll move toward it not away from it.” I once drove a motorcycle into a lamppost as I focused on the lamppost I wanted to avoid. Lucky I survived!
YOUR LIFE IS SHAPED BY YOUR THOUGHTS …. “Manage your mind, because your thoughts control your life. The power of your thoughts has tremendous ability to shape your life for good or for bad. For example, maybe you accept the thought someone told you when you were growing up, “You’re worthless. You don’t matter.” If you accepted that thought, even though it was wrong, it shaped your life.”
Want to change YOUR behaviours? Then change the way you think. Start with your thoughts. Recognize and enjoy how you then feel. You’ll act differently.
A simple pill to swallow …. Change your thoughts!
Any and all comments welcome, abundance and possibility or scarcity and limitation. Bring it on! Let’s have some fun with this. Any takers?