Salesperson success is greatly impacted by the boundaries they place on themselves for what they see as possible.
Our research shows that the salespeople who consistently outperform the rest are those who release and expand their inner achievement drive. So the big question for sales training and management professionals is: How can you help every salesperson do that?
As Mike Fisher noted in a previous blog post, start by making sure they have a clear goal that’s personally motivating. But there’s another, even more powerful factor to take into account: “self-talk.”
This refers to the conversations salespeople are continually having with themselves about themselves. A salesperson may know intellectually what they need to do (“I think” statements), but their behavior is also driven by emotional “I feel” statements. In a contest between the two, their conscious willpower is no match for their powerful emotions. The “I feel” statements always win. That’s how they end up in a dynamic that goes something like this:
I know I need to call my prospect list to build up new business, but I’m going to check in again with my favorite clients.
There’s a third dimension of self-talk at play here, too: “I am” statements. Every salesperson unconsciously answers these questions:
What does it take to be successful?
Do I have what it takes to be successful?
In other words, do I believe I can do it?
A salesperson’s “I think” statements can set goals, but if their “I am” silently screams, “You’re not capable of doing that,” doubt and anxiety will creep in and eventually sabotage their ability to sell.
These “I am” statements are like the internal programming that regulates a person’s sales, income or rewards. You can’t release more achievement drive and improve performance until you break through these limiting self-beliefs.
A 5-Step Process for Expanding Sales Success Boundaries
The important thing to realize is that salespeople can break through their current levels of self-beliefs. What follows is a five-step process to get them started. As this process demonstrates, sales training and coaching that help people uncover and develop strategies for integrating new self-beliefs is a critical piece of the puzzle.
- Become aware of your current behaviors. Pay attention to the conscious choices you make or actions you take, or results you expect.
- Notice the attitudes or feelings that seem to influence those behaviors. Ask yourself, “What’s driving me to do this action or behavior? Is it driven by confidence or fear? By the need to avoid stress, or the desire to succeed?”
- Attempt to connect these feelings and behaviors with the unconscious beliefs that might be driving them. It’s likely that little will “pop out” to your consciousness at first. Just keep examining and looking for answers. Soon your “I am” will send answers to your “I think.”
- Select new beliefs that you’d like to have embedded in your “I am.” Through self-suggestion, you can begin to send those messages down inside yourself.
- Have the courage to go through the change, conflict and ambiguity that come as you grow and develop new beliefs. You’ll always go through these seemingly disruptive times until new beliefs have the time to establish themselves deep within you.
Each salesperson’s current level of self-belief “programming” has been developed largely by the self-suggestions they’ve programmed into it. That’s good news, because it means that they can change it the same way. It takes consistent attention and intention on the part of the salesperson, and it requires sales coaches who understand these dynamics and can support the transformation at every step.
For more on sales training and the impact of self-beliefs, download our ebook, You Can’t Teach People to Sell by Teaching People to Sell!
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