Welcome to episode two: Attack of the Clones of my sales psychology series. In the last post, I outlined the three keys to sales success – today, I’m breaking down the fourth, wild-card key.
That’s right. If you want rockstar sales results, it’s time to look into the mirror – at you, your thinking and the impact it has on your business’s performance.
Small head’s up: for some people, this is gonna be a very confrontational post.
Beliefs – The big guns of human psychology
Most people under estimate the power of their beliefs. If you stop and think about the impact of beliefs on our lives, you’ll quickly see why beliefs are critical for selling and pretty much everything else too.
Beliefs form a fundamental part of our psychological make up and are the building blocks of our personality. Our beliefs dictate how we see the world and therefor, every single decision we make while interacting with our world.
Beliefs start and end wars. Beliefs make and break relationships. They sell Ferraris and raise money for charities. Beliefs affect absolutely every level of consumer behavior.
If you’re reeling from the big-picture-ness of it all, I understand. Let’s cut to the chase, keep it real and pin down the elusive “point”.
Do you think your beliefs could be affecting your sales performance?
As “The Shrink for Entrepreneurs” my number one, day-in-day-out job is helping people overcome the mental mess that results in crippling self sabotage.
Deep at the heart of that psychological tangle, past the psychosomatic symptoms of low energy, beyond the lies of unconscious (but deliberate) distraction… are our beliefs.
Our beliefs are the core of self sabotage. When we have an incongruence in our beliefs, our unconscious will work hard to sabotage any conscious effort we make. This sabotage is especially easy to observe in sales people.
Hitting the phone to make cold calls will be hard. Dealing with email inquiries will seem a chore. A busy day of meetings will be dreaded. If that sounds like you, something just isn’t right.
How do I know this? Not because I’ve studied the science of beliefs in some dusty textbook. Although I have done that, this I know because I’ve modeled the psychology of successful sales people and discovered something unique.
Analysis of sales rockstar psychology reveals something most struggling sales people do not have: Rock solid belief. Specifically, rock solid belief in the following areas:
- Belief in the industry
- Belief in the company
- Belief in the product itself
What do I mean by belief? Not religious beliefs, by any means. I mean belief, for example, that a need for the industry exists – preferably a pressing and critical need.
The other day I met a business development manager for a energy company. After chatting for a bit, he let this belief slip out “I think the whole industry should be nationalized… to be honest.”
You won’t be surprised to hear that his sales performance wasn’t outstanding.
A successful sales person must also have a firm belief that “the company” (be it theirs or their boss’s) can deliver on the promises it makes. Even better, they believe in what the company stands for. They believe in what it’s all about.
When it comes to product, if you want to be able to consistently sit down in front of prospects and claim “This is the very best widget!” then you better believe it! If you belief, even deep down, that the product you’re pitching lacks integrity… you’ll pay the price.
A rock solid belief in all three areas is an absolute must for sales success.
If you’re lacking belief in just one area, sure, you may still be able to make sales. A recent post of mine on Persuasion techniques (and subsequent comments) discussed the surprising effectiveness of telling lies. That’ll always work.
What won’t work is your enthusiasm. Each day selling will start to feel longer and longer. You’ll return home from the grindstone feeling icky, unfulfilled and unrewarded.
“But wait! None of this applies to me!”
Picture me grinning like the Cheshire Cat. That’s exactly what I was doing when, while writing this, I realized a bunch of readers would be gently shaking their heads.
If you’re running your own business selling your own stuff, you’re going to swear black and blue that you believe in your stuff. If you work for a company you like, you’ll swear the same thing!
The bad news is, what you tell other people isn’t the same as what you tell yourself. You unconscious mind (the part that pushes the “sabotage” button) knows when you’re full of it. It KNOWS what you really believe.
Having extensively interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs, I can tell you that a huge percentage of business owners have incongruent beliefs about the integrity/awesomeness of their product.
If you’re self sabotaging, at all, it’s time to take a good hard look at what you believe about your industry, your company and your product.
But fear not! If you’re beliefs aren’t quite aligned, it’s all good! I’ve got three revolutionary options for you to solve this problem, right here…
Belief fixer Number 1 – The confrontational one
Be more awesome. Does a part of you just know that what you’re pitching isn’t quite good enough?
Use this post as the best wake-up call you’ll ever receive and go FIX that thing. Then, listen to your intuition. Once your unconscious agrees that your product is pure dynamite, get back out there and sell it!
Sorry, but sometimes if you’re not good enough… well, you simply need to be better!
The alternative is to give up altogether and for some people, that seriously may not be a bad idea.
Belief fixer Number 2 – The easy way out
The feelings you’re feeling that make your unconscious suspicious of dodgy beliefs could actually be based on a lack of belief in your OWN abilities. In other words, you are fearing the sales process itself.
Is this is you, you’ll be getting some more tips on this stuff later on in this series. If you want a shortcut, go grab a copy of Demystify your Fear and accelerate yourself beyond this fear/sabotage stuff for good.
Belief fixer Number 3 – The practical solution
So, you’ve realized you don’t quite believe in your industry/company/product 100%. Half of the reason the self sabotage happened was because you were consciously trying to ignore this belief. That’s why your unconscious had to kick up such a huge fuss – it just hates it when you try lie to yourself.
A potential solution is to, from this day on, make sure you remain consciously aware of those shortcomings in what you offer.
When you’re engaged in the sales process, make your prospects are made aware of those shortcomings too. Communicate your true beliefs about what you’re selling.
This will actually work very well (and create MORE sales) if your stuff, despite any shortcomings, still has some great competitive advantages and/or benefits. Quit trying to hide things from yourself and your customers.
Imagine a rental car company rep, telling customers:
“We’re not the cheapest, but I can promise you we’re the most reliable!”
The worst mistake would be to try and ignore the issue of price, to sidestep it or (worse) lie about it.
Be 100% honest with your unconscious mind and eliminate sales self sabotage for good.
(If you, after being 100% honest with yourself, realize you have no benefits or advantages left over…. see Belief Fixer Number 1)
This post comes first because, starting tomorrow, I’ll be drilling into the practical elements of emotional and rational sales techniques. Get yourself and your beliefs sorted now, so that you can take full advantage of what comes next.
I can guarantee that, if you’re already sabotaging, failure to heed this post will make everything else in this series next to useless. Techniques, skills and tactics don’t make any difference if your beliefs are causing self sabotage.
Enough ranting from me.
What do you think? Are your sales beliefs rock solid? Why? If not, why?
Scroll down to join the discussion – if you’re reading this in your email, you’ll need to click the link to visit my actual site.