My biggest challenge as a consultant and trainer is not teaching the skills that produce results; it’s getting people to believe in them. Struggling salespeople believe they are victims of market circumstances, while successful ones find ways to succeed in the exact same markets. The lament from struggling salespeople usually begins with, “My market is different.” As a result, salespeople who believe they are being victimized by market conditions shift their behaviors to adapt to perceived challenges that don’t exist. Beliefs drive behaviors.
All markets present competitive challenges. All have both difficult buyers and cooperative ones. All are vulnerable to economic fluctuations. If you believe you are a victim, then you will behave like one. If you want to be more successful, then change your beliefs and reshape your performance. Here are examples of how a change in attitude leads to a change in your sales figures.
Old Belief: There is a scarcity of opportunity. Salespeople who believe their markets are tough tend to prospect poorly. They fear losing a sale because they don’t have alternative prospects in their sales pipeline. New Belief: Abundance doesn’t happen in the market; it happens between your own two ears. Prospecting is the only cure to overcome the fear of a tough market. Build an abundant contact list with opportunities for new sales and the prospect of losing an account won’t create so much fear.
Old Belief: Builders build for a living. Builders don’t build; they sell and run businesses intent on making a profit. New Belief: Builders are developers. Organizations with installed sales programs know this. It’s nothing new for builders to subcontract furnish-and-install services. It’s been happening for decades with plumbers, masons, roofers, and other trades. Help your builders manage costs and generate a competitive advantage and they will seek ways to do more business with you. Installed sales is a perfect way to begin.
Old Belief: You have to negotiate. This one needs no explanation. New Belief: You will never know the joy, power, and satisfaction of holding your price and winning a sale until you’ve held your price and lost one. If it’s not a firm price, it’s a “starting point.” If you want to stop making it about price, then start delivering firm prices. Tell your buyer the price and hold firm. At least try. You’ll never know if you can get your asking price until you hold firm.
Old Belief: It’s all about price. New Belief: It’s about profits. The products you sell are not lumber, millwork, roofing and other commodities. The product you sell is money. Successful sales leaders are adept at demonstrating ways for clients to reduce costs in ways such as better scheduling, reduced waste, and furnish-and-install sales. They also find ways to give their clients a competitive advantage through sales leads, advertising support, sales tools, training, and more.
Improve your performance by trying a new approach—even if you don’t yet believe in it. The results will either affirm your old beliefs or confirm new ones. The success is in the effort. It means testing a new behavior to determine if it works at a higher percentage that the old one. That’s what I believe.