How’s your memory? Do you fall into the category as described the old adage, “I’d forget my head if it wasn’t connected to my body”? Are you constantly setting traps for yourself to be on time for meetings or where your car keys are placed or what’s supposed to be happening on your schedule from hour to hour?
Based on the title of this article, you might think I would congratulate you and say there’s research or evidence that great salespeople fall into this category, but actually those issues are more about being forgetful, even in some cases being disrespectful. You need to fix that, and you need to be more organized, consistent and focused. There is no place in the upper echelon of sales professionals for being forgetful, being disrespectful, or being inconsiderate in your scheduling.
However — and this is a big however — there is a huge difference between being forgetful and something I find essential for salespeople: having a ‘poor sales memory’.
Sound contradictory? Let me explain.
Sales memory is about how well you recall recent and historical events in your work. Salespeople live in a world of rejection. They live in a world of constant pushback, accountability and public comparison, and while that doesn’t sound like a great advertisement for a career, I’ve never seen a top-level salesperson who doesn’t have the ability to erase those memories-and I mean totally remove from their memory all events that could impact their desire, self-esteem or results.
Perhaps you’ve heard the saying, “Your past is not your past if it still affects your future!” Or maybe the one by Mark Twain that goes, “Your inability to forget is infinitely more destructive than your inability to remember.” As a sales professional, if you remember rejection and negative comparisons and comments from prospects, they will build a spider web in your mind that will absolutely paralyze your ability to function. Sales pros erase from their memory comments like:
- “Your price is too high. That’s why we can’t do business.”
- “Your product is just like everyone else’s.”
- “We’ve got a great relationship with our current vendor. We don’t need you.”
- “We’re not interested.”
- “How did you get my name and why did you call me?”
- “Oh, you’re a salesperson.”
- “We’re going to need three bids for this product or service.”
- “We are delaying the start of our project, therefore, we are going to need to delay the purchase of your product or service.”
- “We like you, but we are going with another supplier.”
- “Can you send us a proposal?”
How many of these comments stick in your memory? How many times when you hear these comments does your mind say to you, “Oh no, here we go again”? How many times do you enter a sales conversation with a good prospect when you have low emotional energy or believability in your offering because you are sapped by recent bad memories?
The mind is a powerful piece of equipment, and if it’s not kept clean and sharp, it will operate at much lower efficiencies, even to some point of being a total barrier to your success. Your ability to erase negative events from memory is the equivalent to a professional golfer erasing a bad round of golf and moving forward, or a quarterback throwing an interception at a critical part of the game and yet coming back on the next series of downs and throwing a touchdown pass. You will never be effective if you don’t learn to eliminate negative events from memory.
Good salespeople do mental exercises. They learn ways to maintain a positive psychology. Salespeople understandably work so much on technique and behavior to install systems and processes to ensure that they are prospecting effectively, but often when I ask a salesperson what are you doing to keep yourself mentally sharp and keep the spider webs out, I hear very little that’s meaningful.