“Selling is a roadmap to the bank… not a place to get your psychological needs met!” So began one of the most memorable conversations I had with my mentor, David Sandler. Far too many salespeople use their success in sales to boost their self-worth and, unfortunately, those who do become vulnerable to their customers’ and prospects’ manipulation.
I met with a salesperson last week who was struggling with a streak of “bad luck” as a prospector. To compound it, prior to that month of misfortune, his last 10 proposals were rejected in the final stages leaving him with a major deficit in his yearly quota.
Finally, at wits end, he called me assuming I could teach him meaningful tactics that would get him over the hump. When we met, I reviewed his approach and techniques and found some glaring areas for improvement. He enrolled in my selling classes to correct them, however, learning new strategies and tactics were not the total solution. We discussed his weakened mental state, the “head trash” that had crippled him during the last three months, and discovered his failure to close caused overwhelming self-doubt and fear of future disastrous results.
The feelings he expressed exist in many sales professionals because they lack the mental strength to overcome the accumulation of negative thoughts that multiply when they experience rejection. As an aside, prospects have learned to get into the heads of salespeople in order to secure the results they need. The problem begins when they place all of their self-worth on hearing “yes” and closing the sale. Astute prospects pick this up and use “no” and “think it over” to gain leverage over this demonstration of “happy ears”. I have heard countless say through the years, “I’m feeling pretty low because I couldn’t close ABC prospect.” When I ask what they plan do to overcome their negative feelings, I usually get a blank stare in response. They are unsure of the steps to take to alleviate them and the downward spiral begins.
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There are proven methods all salespeople can embrace to prevent this assault on their self-worth. In order to improve sales results, the average salesperson typically tries to learn new skills and then practices them during sales calls. When they don’t work immediately, they give up and resort to old familiar, albeit unsuccessful, behavior. Learning new skills is, indeed, a part of the equation, however, it does not address fear of failure and self-doubt. In order to truly succeed, salespersons must dedicate a significant amount of time and energy to restore their belief in themselves. This internal belief system, when fortified, enable them to pick themselves back up when they are rejected, dust themselves off and get back in the game.
Our feelings of “worth” originate from two areas of thought: “Who we are” and “What we do”. Most salespeople work on “What they do” or their role in sales in order to improve their results. On the contrary, true success is guaranteed when the salesperson works on “Who they are” or their identity as they understand it’s the success driver. One of my coaching strategies for clients who struggle in this area is the rule of “3 and 2”. Every day salespeople must work on three professional goals to improve their sales performance and two personal goals to strengthen their internal self-beliefs. The two personal goals are as critically important as the professional ones as they heighten the inner feeling of success. Working on goals such as strengthening the body, enriching the mind and deepening the spirit unequivocally facilitate our feeling better about ourselves.
Too many times salespeople wait until they are in a deep hole before seeking help. By employing the rule of “3 and 2”, a salesperson can avoid landing and remaining in a rut by using this process as a preventative and permanent strategy. Dedicate as much time working on “Who you are” as you do on “What you do” and watch your self-worth soar!
Go conquer your worlds!
Bill Bartlett is the president and owner of Corporate Strategies & Solutions, Inc., a Sandler Training Center. He is a certified Sandler trainer and business growth expert, and has been training and coaching presidents, managers and sales people for more than 22 years.