When it comes to business success, the ability to sell and self-promote is essential. In fact, it’s arguably the most important skill any person can acquire.
Although today I’m known as The Rapid Growth Guy, I wasn’t a natural at sales. My success was achieved through hard work, dedication, and sound advice. I’ve found that there are at least seven self-destructive mindsets that hold salespeople back from succeeding. I’ll discuss all seven in detail at the Sales 2.0 Leadership Conference in Philadelphia on November 16, but here are more details about three of those mindsets and how to overcome them.
1. The excuse that sales skills weren’t taught in school.
Sales is often touched on in degrees that focus on business and marketing; however, it’s never a core focus. Why? The majority of courses are designed to give students the skills necessary to gain employment in their chosen field and, in the process, contribute to society. Sales skills – despite their importance – are not necessary to fulfill this requirement; therefore, they are commonly excluded.
A common belief is that you leave your choice of educational institution knowing everything you need to know in terms of your chosen field. While this is true in many ways, unfortunately, knowing what you need to know in a chosen field and knowing what you need to be successful are not necessarily the same. Those who are successful never stop learning, and – if you’re seeking success outside of what a boss can provide – then learning the art of selling and self-promotion is essential.
2. The overwhelming fear of rejection.
Humans are programmed to avoid pain – it’s in our genetic makeup. Rejection falls under the “pain umbrella”; it is essentially a form of emotional pain.
It can be difficult to separate emotionally from the sales process, and, when a prospective client says ‘no’ to a product or service, it may feel as though they are saying ‘no’ to you. So how do you disconnect from the sales process emotionally and remove that fear of rejection?
The answer is the implementation of a sales system. With a system in place, you have a process to run through when meeting with prospective clients – and this process takes the emphasis away from you personally. Then, if the prospective client says ‘no’, they’re not rejecting you – rather, they are rejecting the sales system (or a part of it) you have used.
This not only makes it easier to disconnect and remove that element of fear, but also makes it easier to improve, as you can identify which part of the sales system let you down.
3. The debilitating fear of what other people think.
Humans are also hard-wired to care about what others think. This is exemplified across many facets of our everyday lives – from caring about our physical appearance through to our hearts beating faster at the very thought of public speaking.
We care what others think for many reasons. At the end of the day, humans are programmed to live as part of a “herd”; we’re not solitary beings, and our behavior reflects this. We want to keep our “superiors” happy and avoid “getting in trouble.” We want to impress others and be accepted by our peers.
So how does this affect those who are new to sales? As a salesperson, you are constantly conversing with others – that is, prospective clients. Naturally, you care what these prospective clients think of you, and there are a number of questions that are bound to play on your mind:
Does the prospective client think I’m being dishonest?
Do I sound fake?
Am I coming across as a “try hard”?
Do I sound like an amateur?
These sorts of questions are common, and they all come back to the same point: we care about what others think. This mindset is outdated – a relic of thousands of years of living within small tribes. In today’s modern society, though, this way of thinking simply isn’t productive. As a salesperson, it’s important that you’re able to move beyond this mindset.
Ultimately, if prospective clients aren’t given the opportunity to think poorly of you, they probably haven’t been given the opportunity to think of you (or your products and services) at all. Success rides on putting yourself out there, and it can be achieved – with the right preparation.