A coaching client of mine has experience, intelligence, and understands and retains the sales concepts we discuss. He struggles, however, with implementation—just doing it!
I opened my sales development business in 2000, and for 13 years prior, I worked with sales teams nationally and internationally. Most salespeople are smart, and they understand and retain sales training. However, the roadblock comes in putting that training to effective use.
Sometimes it sounds like, “If I can learn just one thing in this training, it will be a success.” What I hear is, “I’m comfortable doing it my way, and I usually hit my quota, so I’m hoping this training will just validate what I already do.”
One of my favorite one-liners is a variation on the definition of insanity: The sales systems and processes you currently use provide exactly the results they were designed to give, which is what you are getting now. If you keep trying to get new results with the same processes, I call that insanity.
If you want to improve your results (like actually making quota each month), you must change how and what you are doing.
In over 30 years as a sales development expert, I find that most people usually know what they should do, but they just can’t seem to get out of their comfort zone to actually do it. This means they don’t end up actually implementing new ideas, systems or processes, even when they want to.
This typically is due to a belief they feel compelled to hang onto, like:
Relationships are the most important thing in sales.
My prospects will only buy if I have the lowest price.
It’s okay if my prospects think it over.
I need to educate my prospects.
I can’t question people about their decision-making authority.
Prospects are truthful.
Too many questions will cause my prospect to become upset.
There are many more. Can someone with these, or other limiting beliefs, learn to become successful in sales?
The answer is yes, they can!
I know, because I’m describing myself. How I felt and what I believed stopped me from implementing vital selling behaviors.
Most salespeople start out with some limiting beliefs, so I wasn’t alone. I often felt I shouldn’t act or do something with which I was uncomfortable, thought was impolite, or had been programmed to think was wrong.
I went to my coach because I wasn’t hitting the goals I set for myself. I knew I had to start to do something differently, to act differently, to improve my results. He shared this with me:
“You don’t think or feel your way into a new way of acting, you act your way into new ways of thinking and feeling.”
As Nike puts it: “Just do it.”
I had to learn to put my feelings and beliefs aside and just do what was required: cold calls, networking, small talk, clarifying next steps with a prospect, becoming direct with business owners and CEOs, finding a prospect’s budget, asking for referrals, etc. It took time, and many failures.
Here are a few fundamental rules I found to be crucial to overcoming my limiting beliefs:
Set very clear, compelling, personal goals.
Break those goals into the specific behaviors and activities required to achieve them.
Detail those behaviors and activities into daily, weekly, and monthly plans. Measure how much of each behavior must be done on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Then, track your progress on each activity and behavior.
Journal every day. Ask yourself: What was today’s goal? Did you achieve it? What roadblocks are standing in your way? How might you overcome them? Track the results of your behaviors, like prospecting, appointments, proposals, closes, trainings, talks, etc. and be honest with yourself about where you could improve.
Write affirmations daily. For months I wrote, “I am a calm and confident caller. I get through to my suspect and they appreciate my call.” When I started, none of that was true. After a few months, all of it was true.
Practice, practice, practice.
I believe anyone can do anything—if they want to. If you are committed to your success, just do it!
VP of Sales Training