The sales process can often produce stress for both parties involved. Stress, however, is the great enemy of the salesperson.
Research shows that when we become stressed in any segment of our lives, our decision-making and communication usually becomes less effective.
When you become stressed during a sale, it causes you to lose focus making it more difficult to complete the sale successfully.
The loss of focus is generally caused because your mind wanders to imagining possible negative outcomes. As a result of these negative mental images, you start to tighten up physically, your speaking pace and tone may change, and your body language may become defensive.
Walk The Plank
Imagine there is a plank of wood in front of you. It is approximately 40cm wide and about 4 meters long. The plank is lying on the ground and at one end I place a ten dollar note. I then explain that if you can walk from one end to the other without falling off, you can have the ten dollars.
What would you say?
Of course you would say, “Yes”, and you would stride confidently across the plank without the slightest loss of balance and collect an easy ten dollars.
What if I asked you to take the challenge again, except this time I am going to suspend the plank between two four storey buildings?
I will even increase your prize to one hundred dollars. What would you say to me this time?
You would probably say, “Are you nuts! I’m not going to risk my life for $100.”
Despite the fact that you had already comfortably walked across the plank before and the prize was now ten times greater, most people would not take such a challenge.
Even if I increased the prize money to a sufficient amount to motivate you, how would you approach crossing the plank?
Would you stride confidently or would you be more likely to shimmy across slowly and carefully?
Let’s examine what really changed between walking the plank on the floor versus when it was suspended between two buildings.
There are two primary things to consider.
The first is the level of risk and the second is the mental focus point.
In the first scenario the risk was minimal. Perhaps the worst thing that could have happened would have been that you stepped off the plank and missed out on the ten dollars.
The reality is however, that this thought never entered your mind. You knew with absolute confidence that you could successfully walk across and your mind was totally focussed on collecting the money.
In the second scenario however, things changed dramatically.
The risk of stepping off the plank now carries a much more serious consequence. This time confidence and certainty are replaced by fear and doubt.
The focus moves from the money sitting at the end of the plank to the potential fall. What didn’t change between the two scenarios, however, was the plank.
Selling can be a lot like walking the plank. Your success will be largely determined by the way you perceive the potential risks.
For some of us, making a sale is like walking the plank on the floor where the worst thing that can happen is that we don’t reach the money. But for others making a sale, it is like walking between two buildings; it is uncomfortable, risky and often too scary to contemplate.
In one case we move confidently in the direction of our goal, while in the other we are gripped by doubt and shuffle cautiously.
We all experience the effects of the little voice inside our heads whispering to us about what we can and can’t do. It is our self-talk that determines how we approach walking the plank. The self-talk either tells us that we can do it easily or it says that we’ll never make it and will fall.
The self-talk of a salesperson is important.
The reality is we all move in the direction of our dominant thoughts. If you have positive thoughts, you will move in that direction. Conversely, if you harbour negative thoughts, you will move slowly but just as steadily in that direction.
As Henry Ford once said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
If you tell yourself over and over, “I am no good at sales, I am no good at sales…”, then this is your dominant thought. When you attempt to make a sale and are unsuccessful, you really should not be surprised. After all, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy and in the long run, you get what you expect.
The truth is, you cannot improve any perceived weakness or deficiency by solely focusing your attention on what you don’t want.
You must identify the problem and then move your attention to the solution. As Jack Canfield explains in his book, ‘The Success Principles’, when you set a goal to improve or develop a particular area of your business, you will usually be confronted with considerations, fears and roadblocks.
Considerations are the thoughts that surface about achieving a potential goal. For example, if your goal is to double your income in the next financial year, you may have considerations such as:
- I will have to work longer hours
- I’m not sure if the market is big enough
- I don’t know how I can get my existing clients to spend more
Fears are the feelings you have about the risks attached to attempting to achieve your goals. These may be things such as:
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of making a fool of yourself
- Fear of being seen as a pushy salesperson
Roadblocks are the external barriers that you will have to overcome to achieve the goals you have set. Roadblocks can take many forms and may include things such as:
- Insufficient funds to get started
- Your husband or wife doesn’t want to relocate
- You have children and there is too much travel required
It is natural to have considerations, fears and roadblocks. In fact, it is a positive step to consciously identify these barriers.
The reality is, these have been the unconscious barriers that have been holding you back. We all have to deal with considerations, fears and roadblocks. If you are not facing these thoughts, feelings and physical obstacles, then your goals are not stretching you and subsequently you are not growing.
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Then take a moment to complete the list of considerations, fears or roadblocks you may have about improving your sales results.
This eBook contains a host of helpful exercises to help you quickly improve your sales results.
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The Peak Performers Mindset
The peak performer is confident not only in their ability to provide value to the prospect, but also importantly in their own sales ability.
This measured self-confidence ensures they don’t lose their focus. Instead, they remain squarely focused on the needs of the prospect. This level of focus, in turn, greatly increases their chances of success, positively reinforcing their self-belief and confidence.