Mindset Over Materials: The Secret Weapon of Sustainable Sales Success

Long-term sales success has less to do with skills or knowledge than you might think. Nor are stunning brochures or excellent products guaranteed to make one iota of impact over time. Unless certain critical elements already exist in the salesperson, providing training and tools in hopes of improving performance does nothing more than giving a PGA golfer's best driver to an amateur. The club itself can't make someone a pro.

Yet a pro can take a cheap driver and make a better shot than an amateur with the best and biggest Big Bertha has to offer. Likewise, you probably know one or two standouts who have excelled without classic sales training, without flashy support materials for their products, and even without a superior product to represent.

Then what makes the difference? If it's not remarkable closing ability, appealing brochures, outstanding product knowledge, or relentless objection handling... if it's not talent or brainpower or tools that create sustained success, what is it?

In more than twenty years studying the top performers in many fields, I've discovered the mysterious X-factor is mindset: a group of attitudes, understandings, beliefs, and resulting behaviors. Whether you're talking about golf or sales or any other pursuit, the same principle applies. Ultimately, the mindset creates top performance, excellent production numbers, and prosperity for both the salesperson and the company he or she represents.

Creating a mindset of sustained success requires you to focus on three key areas:

  • The beliefs you have about yourself;
  • The attitudes you have about your customers, product, and industry;
  • The ownership you take of your own success. The Inner Game of Sales
    You have to see yourself as successful in the inner game in order to be successful in the outer game. When you give that "command" to the unconscious mind -- when you imagine how you'll feel, look and sound when you are producing at the level you desire -- the mind thinks it's already occurred and calls for an encore performance in the real world.

    The first step to changing your own "mental programming" is to recognize it. Think about it. Think about why you don't do what you know intellectually you should. Then start thinking about what's behind it. What do you have to believe about yourself, your world, your product, your industry, to cause this behavior to occur?

    Some common underlying beliefs that regulate salespeople's performance are
    • "I need more training and skills before I can succeed."
    • "I'm not worthy of earning more than..."
    • "I am not good at cold calling."
    • "I'm not able to talk to (or get to) the decision makers at the top."
    Once the underlying belief is uncovered, a new belief must be chosen. The new belief can be the opposite or an "antidote" to the old one, such as "I have unlimited life knowledge and experience." New beliefs must then be "installed." Specifically, the new belief must be supported by both evidence and habit.

    Start by answering a simple question: What will I have to see, hear, and feel to cement this belief? Then begin vividly visualizing these results at least twice a day. (Note: the mind is most open to suggestion first thing in the morning just after waking and the last thing at night before sleep.) Many people think that results build belief, and in some cases this is true, but it's more often the inverse. Remember the chain: thought/word-image-emotion-action-result. You must be able to see yourself already in possession of the outcome of the new belief.

    Champions in any field create an unbending belief in themselves, program themselves to continually find evidence to support its truth, then consistently and vividly see themselves in possession of the desired goal. William James, the father of modern psychology, said, "Your belief creates the fact."

    Now Forget Sales, and Focus on Your Customers
    Once you've visualized yourself achieving your goals and removed any psychological obstacles, it's time to put those goals aside and focus on the customer. Again, this all happens in your mind, but it has a profound impact on the way you affect your outer world.

    Today's customers and clients require a new attitude, one that offers something rather than asks for something. In a high-tech society, high touch is highly valuable. The new-school salesperson focuses on giving instead of getting, on service instead of sales. Always a man ahead of his time, Henry Ford captured this mindset eloquently: "Wealth will never be achieved when sought after directly; it only comes as a by-product of providing useful service."

    This level of service takes some guts. Sometimes you have to tell people what they don't want to hear. Sometimes, you even have to say, "Maybe I'm not the best for you... I'd like to send you to someone who will be." Service means that you're no longer willing to do whatever it takes for the sale. Now you'll do whatever it takes for the customer -- because it's the customer who makes or breaks your business, not an isolated transaction.

    Old Hat, New Head: Take Ownership of Your Success
    Have you heard these ideas before? Are you utilizing them as you should? If not, why not? Likewise, are there other, obvious principles of business success you've overlooked?

    Sales success grows out of a fundamental mindset, based on some ideas that may be "old hat" but require a "new head" to fit you. I operate from the premise that you know what you need to do, and you have what you need to create a six- or seven-figure income. Most salespeople have heard all the "magic bullet" ideas and pitches. But until you begin to think in new ways, you will never apply these time-tested principles. The distinction between short-term flashes in the pan and sustained success is simply doing what may seem obvious to you right now. We might say, "If the hat fits, wear it."

    James Arthur Ray of James Ray International is an expert in teaching individuals how to achieve Harmonic Wealth? in all areas of their life by focusing on what they want, opposed to what they don't want. He has been speaking to individuals as well as Fortune 500 companies for over 20 years and is the author of four books and an inventor of numerous learning systems. His studies of highly successful people prove that they continually achieve results by taking control of their thoughts and actions to create and shape their own reality.

    The Power to Win seminar (http://www.ThePowerToWin.com) will explain in detail how success is state of mind and how the principles of quantum physics (as seen in the movie What the Bleep) can be applied to proven success-building techniques. James will also cover why people who are successful in one area of their life tend to be successful in all areas. For more information, visit http://www.ThePowerToWin.com.

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