I am fascinated by the way clients, prospects and salespeople, in general, define success. It is usually very personaland intimate, and reflects their perspective on their own life. Some define it in terms of income as in “he who dieswith the most money” is deemed successful. Others use the importance of their job to determinewhetheror not theyare successful. A third group speaks of balance, though it is rarely achieved.
We all learn to define success, and to a certain degree failure, at a very early age.It happens when we receive our first report card in grade school. Whether we were educated in a pass-fail system or an A – F system, the marks all of us dreaded were the words “fail” or the letters “D” and “F”.
In my world of training and coaching high performing salespeople, success is a hard-wired mindset, not a result. It is based in these beliefs: I can always do better, challenges are motivating, and I can positively impact any outcome.
We all have the aptitude to succeed so the missing ingredient is the determination of whether or not we have the ability. In short, can you succeed versus will you succeed? When I examine the difference between these two factors, I find four key areas that must be in place to ensure that “can” becomes “will”.
Self-talk: All salespeople hear inner voices that either encourage them to overcome life’s challenges or retreat from them. Shad Helmstetter, author of the book, The Self Talk Solution, reports that over 70 percent of the thoughts in our head are negative or limiting. They create fear and hesitation, which prevent salespeople from taking critical actions necessary for success. Take the time to reframe your self-talk from negative to positive. Every time you have a limiting thought, develop a positive one to neutralize it.
Baggage: There are two forms of baggage: technical (specifics skills that are relied upon to succeed) or conceptual (those traits that support them). Both forms of baggage must be overcome in order to succeed. Make a commitment to learn new skills and develop characteristics that support them.
Risk: All salespeople have a risk quotient that guides their actions. Somewhere between risk everything or risk nothing is the right choice for all of us. Stretching comfort zones allow salespeople to take appropriate risks and achieve growth as a result. Decide to take bolder actions and examine your comfort zones as they have created a success trap.
Beliefs: These are thoughts that have either been programmed by others, originated from past experiences or are based on judgments made through observation. We all need to regularly and systematically test our beliefs to ensure they are based in reality, not fiction. Challenge outdated beliefs and create higher performing ones to free yourself from a sales career of mediocrity.
Here is my success code for high performing salespeople:
- Conduct an examination of your level of self awareness. How large is the gap between where you think you are and where you really are in terms of success? Be honest!
- End each day with a review of the lessons you learned and create a plan to utilize them the following day.
- Review your sales toolbox and make sure you have the right tools for success.
- Select an accountability partner to help you see the areas where you need improvement.
- Find a coach and mentor to help you move in the direction of success.
- Understand your “killer” weaknesses and make sure they’re not hiding in your blind spots.
- Each day ask yourself, “What would I attempt if I had no fear of failure?”
- Finish this statement each morning, “I wish I had the guts to…”
I recently read a quote by Melissa Arnot that made me think. She said, “Out here, we face the consequences of our decisions every day.” Melissa has climbed Mount Everest three times and was referring to the life and death decisions that are made during the climb.
Success is the lifeblood of all sales professionals who define it the same way Melissa does-as being the consequence of their decisions.