High-producing sales pros share one important trait in common: the ability to maintain the expectation of a successful outcome despite gloomy market feedback, the overwhelming pressure of organizational expectations, a failed credit approval for a critical contract, or even the disappointing loss of a major company client.
But how do you teach what might seem like an inborn trait to your entire sales team, where personality, talent and backgrounds vary so widely?
As outlined in my book and keynote program, Vision, Mindset, Grit, I teach companies and individuals how to drive results using the same mental focus that helped me reinvent my life after a catastrophic accident left me paralyzed from the chest down and diagnosed a quadriplegic. The skills I learned during my own recovery process helped me overcome the dire prognosis of my doctors, and can help teams stay focused, resilient and engaged – even in the most overwhelming of circumstances.
I later utilized this same three-prong approach in my corporate career as a top-producing sales agent in the Insurance and Financial industry and was awarded a coveted spot in the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table.
Whether you’re a salesperson, or just want to up your level of achievement in your personal and professional life, focusing on these three areas with consistency will shift your performance into overdrive.
“Without vision, even the most focused passion is a battery without a device.” – Ken Auletta
The conscious mind is actively engaged in the goal setting process, but is easily distracted (once every 10 seconds), unable to focus on more than one thing at a time, and falls short when it comes to putting ideas into action. In order to set your creative thinking process into an actionable state, you must engage the subconscious mind to create a belief system that supports and aligns with your sales goals that will readily impel you to take action.
Creative visualization is an effective method to reprogram your subconscious mind to align with your strategic goal plan – and most importantly – when your current circumstances seem counterintuitive to achieving that outcome. In the same way athletes utilize this for enhanced performance, you can train your mind and body for success by first conditioning it to the possibilities.
- Get specific on what you want to achieve – whether a precise dollar amount, number of sales per month, a particular type of client you most enjoy, or the kind of organization you would love to secure a long-term partnership with. By allowing your subconscious mind to visualize “what that would look like,” you are programming it to recognize and seize opportunities you can quickly capitalize on.
- Set measurable short- and long-term goals. Focus first on small achievable tasks you can accomplish daily that keep you in alignment with your goal plan that reinforce your vision and desired outcome. It is necessary to achieve smaller goals regularly in order to condition your nervous system so that success is not only achievable, but is “safe” for you to have and a natural extension of your visualization process.
- Allow yourself to regularly connect to the emotions of achievement and success. The subconscious mind cannot differentiate between real and imagined experiences. By engaging heightened emotions surrounding your imagined outcome, you are teaching your mind and body the things you will think, say and do as a successful sales professional. This type of mental preparation greatly benefits heightened performance and skillset.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” ― Henry Ford
Even the most strategic and actionable goal plan will fail if your thoughts are centered on what can and will go wrong. Many sales people waste precious time ruminating on a lost sale (residing in the past) or working toward their goal in a lack mentality out of fear of future disaster. Staying present daily with small consistent goals can keep your energy focused, elevated and impactful by helping you zero in on concrete actions in alignment with your goals that move you into success.
- Develop awareness of your thoughts by writing down what shows up regularly that is counterintuitive to your goals. The quickest way to catch negative thoughts creeping in is by how you feel – are you elevated, happy, hopeful? Or are you depressed, stressed, panicked, bored or resentful? As soon as you feel a dip in your mood, immediately focus on what you were thinking about and observe it so you will recognize it the next time it shows up and can quickly redirect. Asking yourself “what” questions over “why” (why is no one responding, why am I behind on my goals, why is this happening to me) will keep you focused and moving forward into the future.
- Think creatively and understand what is unique about YOU. When there is a disconnect between what you are doing and how you operate in your highest expression, you are not utilizing innate skills and abilities intrinsic to heightened personal success.
- Realize the brain is wired to pick up what you are thinking about consistently and gravitates toward experiences that validate it. If you are thinking negatively about a client, frustrated by a non-response, basing your expectations on a past failed encounter or feeling like you are wasting your time, you will find other negative experiences that show up in keeping with your expectations.
- Regularly study people who are successful in your field. What kinds of thoughts would a successful salesperson have? What daily actions did they take to get where they are, and what kinds of obstacles did they overcome in order to achieve their goals? By familiarizing yourself with people who succeed, you are also teaching your subconscious it is possible for you as well, while expanding your knowledge base and skillset.
- Conduct an impartial self-review at the end of the day – learn from your mistakes and self-correct. What did you THINK that put you off-track, what did you say or do that was not in alignment with your goal plan?
- Just prior to sleep, do not ruminate on what went wrong or was off in your day. Focus on those lightbulb ideas, client connections and even small accomplishments that gave you a feeling of excitement, joy and peace. Plan out the steps you will take the next day to make it even better. What language will I no longer use about myself, What tasks will I perform, Who will I reach out to in confidence? Whatever you feed your subconscious mind prior to sleeping will continue to wire inside your brain for the next eight hours. Make sure it is heightened in emotion with the visualization of complete success.
“The vision must be followed by the venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps – we must step up the stairs.” – Vance Havner
It’s important to understand this next key element is strengthened and sustained by your vision and mindset, which greatly reinforce your ability to stay focused on the end goal and transcend the need for instant gratification. Recent psychological studies have shown that the quality of GRIT is the highest predictor of success, even over natural talent, skillset, luck, latent ability or extraordinary I.Q.
But what is grit? It is your willingness to remain patient while disciplining yourself to persevere and stay resilient in the pursuit of your goals when you are knee-deep in the trenches and nothing positive is showing up. It’s the relentless pursuit of both your short- and long-term sales goals as you continue to work long hours, face and overcome rejections, and most especially, when all else beckons you to give in, quit or worse – maintain the status quo.
People with grit:
- Are not easily distracted from their vision and develop an awareness of their distractors in order to limit them in their day.
- Move with change instead of resisting it. They are not excuse makers, but instead readjust how they are operating while maintaining a focused pursuit.
- Do not make assumptive judgements that impact new opportunities based upon a failed encounter or past experience.
- Utilize their challenges and setbacks as growth opportunities that allow them to become better at their jobs and strengthened as individuals.
- Expect a positive outcome prior to its appearance and relax in the knowledge that what they are pursuing will pay off in ways that are sometimes surprising and unexpected.
- Are willing to fail but unwilling to quit.
I hope you are inspired knowing sales mavericks are not just born, they are developed. Some may show up naturally utilizing vision, mindset and grit from life experience and easily implement these into their business model. DO know that success is available to all, even when the odds seem insurmountable – and most importantly, at any age, from any background and regardless of past experience.