What does it mean to be a good or even a great salesperson?
Even though the Tony Robbinses or the Zig Ziglars of the world promise to impart the secrets of selling to those willing to dish out hundreds or thousands of dollars for their latest promotions, the truth is that we can save ourselves that spending money. In fact, much of what it takes to be a good salesperson is something available to you, at any time, for free.
Maybe you’re in a scenario now where you’ve invested your time, money, and resources in a strategy that isn’t working as well as you’d hoped. It doesn’t make any sense - you’re doing everything you’ve been taught to do, but the results just aren’t showing, and it hurts.
I’ve been there before - lived it - in my previous career as a financial advisor. I’d find myself in a state of mind I now describe as being “stuck in the muck”. No matter how hard I tried, every action I took sunk me in deeper. I wasn’t producing, and I wasn’t happy with the results of my efforts.
But time and time again when I found myself in a slump, I would take one simple action and in doing so would almost immediately propel myself to success. This one simple tool I used repeatedly turned my sales fate around.
So, what was my secret?
I’d flip the switch.
If you’re wondering, “...what switch”?, maybe you’ve never flipped it before, or maybe you’ve never realized that it’s something you can do.
In “flipping the switch”, feelings of despair, disappointment, and fear turn off and an attitude of abundance, promise, and confidence turns on. You engage in a complete mental reframe from negativity to positivity. Switching your mindset, as long as there isn’t anything medical underlying your pain, can be as easy as executing any other everyday brain function.
Before flipping the switch, it wasn’t that I wasn’t smart enough, or creative enough, or efficient enough. It wasn’t in my message, presentation, or trained delivery - that remained constant.
You’ve probably heard of the old 7% rule, where studies have indicated that around 93% of nonverbal communication determines an individual’s likeability. If you’re telling yourself, “I’m no good at sales”, “it’s just my luck this month”, or a myriad of other negative internal messages, chances are, your prospective clients can see your hidden discomfort like a beacon in the night.
During a recent Dunham conference in San Diego, my colleagues and I had the opportunity to learn from clinical psychologist Dr. Jill Stoddard, founder and director of The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management. She discussed with us the challenge of silencing an inner critic. The power of positive thinking, where you might attempt to dramatically flip your inner dialogue from “I’m not good enough” to “I’m the greatest salesman” has limitations due to remnant self-imposed doubt. Simply reminding yourself of a positive self-affirmation can be and often is immediately rejected - “Yes, I’m the greatest, but no one seems to be responding well to me” or “Yes, I’m the greatest, but I can’t succeed without getting more leads.”
Dr. Stoddard explained that because the power of positivity in this scenario tends to backfire, the best way to overcome negative thoughts is to immediately recognize and shut them down. Comically, her approach to deal with this herself has involved personifying and naming her inner critic (“Sheila”). When spiraling into negative self-talk, she tells this voice, “Stop it, Sheila!” I have a similar approach but without as much dialogue. I abruptly reject the negative thought, preventing its festering. Both techniques require deliberate action of acknowledging a limiting thought and shutting it out.
If you decide to flip the switch, whenever that may be, you have to realize that it’s not going to work unless you keep with it. You will still experience rejection, but if the switch is flipped, you don’t care; you realize it’s just a necessary part of the process.
It is my hope that the next time you find yourself stuck in the muck, you test this technique with full engagement.
You might be surprised at how powerful your results can be.