• May 10, 2023
  • By Ryan Shapiro, senior vice president of sales, Sapper Consulting

Develop Your Sales Mind-Set for Success

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Salespeople often face a lot of rejection, and it can be challenging to stay motivated when confronted with so many negative reactions. However demoralizing it may be, fear of rejection can cripple sales. Salespeople need to learn to embrace rejection and use it as an opportunity to gain valuable feedback and move forward with a successful approach.


This involves developing a positive mind-set. A positive attitude and outlook are crucial ingredients to remaining motivated and successful. Competition in sales is brutal, and salespeople must stay confident and focus on the end goal when faced with the inevitable difficult situations. It may sound clichéd, but the power of positivity can overcome stress and other negative situations effectively and efficiently.


Being positive also makes it easier to build strong relationships. Developing solid relationships with customers is essential for sales success. A star salesperson must possess the ability to build trust and rapport with customers in order to make successful sales. And this isn’t easy in a B2B environment where you must get in front of decision makers.


Today, this is largely accomplished online. LinkedIn found that 78 percent of social sellers outsell those who eschew social media platforms. These types of numbers will likely grow over the next five years as more sales teams embrace virtual networking opportunities.


However, developing a sales mind-set is arguably more important than the technological tools used. When salespeople have their minds in the right place, they can overcome any challenges along the way and close the deal.


Modeling Great Mind-Sets


When training to be the best salesman possible, I draw inspiration from many people, including entrepreneurs, authors, and thought leaders. Some people whose mind-sets I admire include Steve Jobs, Warren Buffett, and Tony Robbins. Each of these individuals achieved tremendous success and demonstrated the power of a positive mind-set.


Achieving success yourself is quite different than admiring the success of others, though. While these people are easy to admire from afar, it’s also important to be sincere in congratulating others for their accomplishments without comparing our achievements to theirs.


It’s important for salespeople to have healthy habits surrounding their goals. Success is never achieved overnight; it takes a lot of seemingly mundane work to make things fall into place. Your big picture should be front of mind when developing habits so that they build on each other to create an avalanche effect.


Thinking positive is much like working out to develop muscles; it doesn’t happen on your first pushup, but if you continue doing more pushups daily, you will gradually build strength. And, of course, it’s important to always seek new challenges, both personally and professionally, to keep you motivated toward a bigger goal.


Salespeople have a lot more in common with athletes than you may think. As Nike points out in its “Six Habits of the Athlete Mindset” report, athletes must eliminate self-doubt and build a healthy mind-set to compete. Here are five ways you can develop a more positive mind-set.


1. Be SMART about your goals.

The key to sales success is specific and measurable sales goals. Goals should be realistic, quantifiable, and repeatable. This requires a process that’s fully optimized for a sales funnel and can be followed by salespeople of any skill or experience level. These objectives and processes provide specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives to fuel both short- and long-term success.


2. Study your target.

Now that you have goals, it’s time to track the progression toward meeting them. Monitor your performance and compare it to your goals so that you can identify any areas that need improvement. It’s also important to develop buyer personas to save time on leads that ultimately aren’t the right fit. Your progress should be measured in how effectively you’re leading prospects through the customer journey to learn what they need to pull the trigger and buy.


3. Escape reality and visualize.

This is another piece of advice that may sound clichéd, but enlightened people follow it (including athletes) because it works. Visualize yourself succeeding and achieving your goals. This will help you to stay focused and motivated while you realistically critique your pipeline to fix the flaws. It can be challenging to take a step back and make corrections to get back on track when you’re in the weeds. However, if you believe you will be successful, you can more easily adjust your direction to get there.


4. Remember that success isn’t linear.

Athletes often cite persistence during post-game interviews, especially after winning a championship. To achieve this, develop a commitment to yourself and your goals. Work backward from your goals and divide things into the individual pieces needed. You don’t play in the Super Bowl on day one, but you get one step closer each time you hit the field to practice. Don’t give up, even when things get tough. When your heart and soul are in it, you will perform.


5. Discover the gift of failure.

No matter how good you are, you’re going to fail continuously. You may be the Michael Jordan of your sales team, but even Jordan famously highlighted his failure (9,000 missed shots, nearly 300 games lost, etc.) in a Nike commercial. Even championship teams lose games, and it’s important to review footage, make the necessary adjustments, and come back faster and stronger. Reflect on any mistakes or failures and use them as learning experiences to help you improve.


Successful people fail but learn from these experiences and continue pushing forward to achieve their goals. Although failure is a natural part of life, we should always prepare for success. It’s achievable, and it starts with a positive mind-set. Once you figure that out and get into the right routines, the rest will fall into place.


Ryan Shapiro is senior vice president of sales at Sapper Consulting, which helps growing companies generate B2B leads, fill their sales pipelines, and secure more customers.

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