More often than not, it isn’t what we say that loses us the sale – it’s how we think.
Sales, more than any other profession, plays with our minds and at certain critical moments during the sales process we are particularly vulnerable to talking ourselves out of a sale. Subconsciously, fear can distort our thinking during these decisive stages which is why having an awareness of how our minds work can make the difference between success and failure.
Be honest, have you ever caught yourself thinking any of the following?
- I’ve got a new lead but what if it’s a waste of time?
- I’m about to become one of those irritating sales calls but hey, it’s another appointment to add to the log.
- Our product isn’t the best on the market and it probably won’t be what they’re looking for.
- They’ve gone quiet – we must have been too expensive …
- … or maybe they’re talking to someone else?
As sales people we are great story tellers. This is how we convince our prospects that we can solve their problems. It’s also how we talk ourselves out of a sale. Whenever we’re persuading ourselves or someone else of our point of view we go looking for evidence to back it up. What really matters is where we look for that evidence.
Our minds are powerful and use all our senses to store multiple experiences on the hard drive that is our subconscious. Our subconscious is incredibly complex and I do not pretend to understand the inner workings but if you want to learn more get a copy of Incognito by David Eagleman, he knows his stuff. For the purposes of this argument, we simply need to be aware that the subconscious stores experiences and emotions associated with those experiences. Within the subconscious filing system are ‘folders’ where we store habits, beliefs, cultures and biases.
Although we store our take on reality, it is not necessary the truth, although we will be convinced that it is exactly as we remember. When faced with a new, scary or challenging situation, the way we’re feeling at the time will influence which subconscious files and folders our conscious mind chooses to access.
Conversely, these files and folders will inform how we feel going into a sales situation. Contained within them will be the culture of our company and sales team, our biases relating to prospects, products and services, past sales experiences and beliefs about our capability and ability to deliver what the prospect wants.
So what can we do about it?
As we’ve already acknowledged, a seller’s mindset can be their best asset, but it can also be their undoing.
Developing a winning mindset relies on us revisiting the way we think at critical moments in the sales process.
Listen to the voice in your head
Is it being helpful or unhelpful? What many of us don’t realise is that we can choose how we think – in other words, what our inner voice is telling us.
If you start thinking about the negative reaction you might get when you make a call, you’re not going to have the right mindset to maximise the impact of your sales message during the conversation. When it comes to discussing price, the wrong mindset can leave you wide open to cost challenges and a lack of conviction. Assuming you’ve managed to seal a deal, the way you think will influence your ability to ask for referrals. Are you being a bit cheeky or do you feel you’ve done a great job and have earned it?
Changing your thinking takes time and the first step is simply being aware of how you think in different situations. By taking control of your thinking, you can develop a winning sales mindset.