Sales: New mindset

How would you or your salespeople complete the following sentence: “In order for me to succeed in sales, I have to…?”  If I were to ask you to come up with six different responses, what would they be?

Turns out, how you complete that sentence indicates what type of “sales mindset” you possess, and in turn, what kind of results you can expect.

Every salesperson has his or her own thought process about what they’re supposed to do in order to be successful. For the most part, this thought process operates at a nearly subconscious level. I call this general way of thinking about selling, sales mindset. Sales mindset can be likened to our sales “microprocessor,” “operating system” or “DNA.”

Sales mindset, more than any other factor, determines what salespeople say and do in every customer interaction. Consequently, it is the salesperson’s mindset that, ultimately, determines how customers assess that salesperson’s value and, in turn, determines results.

Am I a traditional salesperson?

No two salespeople think the very same way about every aspect of selling. However, there are several ways of thinking that are common among the majority of sales professionals, no matter their experience level or specific selling environment.

This commonly accepted thinking about how to succeed in selling is what I call the traditional sales mindset. As a result of the natural evolution of the business of selling, most salespeople have inherited a traditional sales mindset.

The left-hand column in Table 1 describes the essence of the traditional sales mindset. It identifies six of the most common ways that salespeople complete the sentence, “In order for me to succeed in sales I have to…” In the right-hand column are the corresponding dimensions of what I call the “business resource mindset.”

You can become a better traditional salesperson, but…

Perhaps the most important thing to notice about the traditional sales mindset is that it is not fundamentally “broken,” wrong or inherently counterproductive. In other words, improving sales approaches that are built on the traditional sales mindset can yield improved sales results, but I believe, only incremental improvements.

However, adopting an approach to selling that’s built on the business resource mindset causes salespeople to approach selling differently at a fundamental level and empowers them to truly go to the next level of selling excellence and achieve breakthrough improvements in sales results.

Adopting a business resource mindset is a lot harder than just wishing it to be so (though that’s a big start). However, let me give you three things you can do right now to get you started on your way. 

Replace master/servant language with business peer language. The best way to start doing this is to simply stop thanking customers for their time and telling them you know how busy they are.

Try to jettison the word “needs” from your vocabulary. Chuck is a friend of mine. He’s president of a small manufacturing company. Chuck once said to me that if one more salesperson tells him he wants to understand his needs Chuck is going to throw up in his (the traditional salesperson’s) shoes.

Never, ever, ever say “How are you?” or “Is this a good time?” on a cold phone call.

From now on, every time you come out of a customer meeting or hang up the phone, pull out Table 1 and ask yourself if what you said in that interaction sounded like you had a business resource or a traditional sales mindset.

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