There is no shortage of articles written to help aspiring sellers, whether they include email subject lines, word tracks, closing techniques, or the like. Sales advice is so readily accessible thanks to the internet that there’s no longer any excuse for reps not to have some level of sales training, regardless of whether their company invests in it or not.
But tactical advice can only take you so far because without the mindset that it takes to become (and remain) a successful sales rep, you’ll always be limited by your own psyche, whether or not you have all the necessary skills.
This is why we wanted to talk a bit about mindset, and how it can change the way you see the world, the way you see yourself, and the way you see your job. And without getting too hokey about it, there’s no doubt that your mind can shape your actions, which then shape your outcomes — i.e. believing in yourself can help you make your dreams come true.
So if you want to become a top-tier seller and start taking home those massive commission checks we’re always hearing about on LinkedIn, you should start with these six mindset shifts that can make you a better salesperson almost immediately:
1. Becoming solutions-oriented
If there’s one certainty in the sales world (and in life) it’s that there will always be problems, and those problems will probably crop up at the most inopportune times.
It’s easy to get discouraged because there’s often much to be discouraged about. But when you shift your mindset to overcoming problems, you start to see just how much you can actually accomplish.
Rather than saying, “Oh no, this is a big issue” and wallowing in despair, try to think of ways to overcome it. The key is to spend less time worrying (or being upset) about it, and quickly move on to trying to come up with a solution.
2. Embracing the grind
Sales is a grind, perhaps more so than any other job. It’s part of the reason why so many people leave the profession — not everybody is equipped to handle the uphill battle that is the typical year in sales. But if you stop looking at it as a burden, and start embracing the grueling aspects of the role, then not only will you have a much easier time getting through it, but you might also discover that you enjoy the work.
Similar to number 1, embracing the grind means shifting how you look at the role. Will you dread the things you have to do to succeed, or will you look at them as challenges that you’re excited to overcome?
3. Welcoming rejection
Rejection stinks, there are no two ways about it. But it’s also a part of sales, and there’s no way you can become a successful sales rep without experiencing rejection on a regular basis.
So what is one to do about this conundrum? The answer is to embrace it.
This doesn’t mean you’ll ever enjoy being rejected. It simply means that once you understand and truly internalize the idea that rejection is a part of sales, then you’ll be able to look at it as simply part of the game, and won’t allow it to discourage you or slow you down.
4. Looking at the big picture
It’s easy to see what’s right in front of us. Our laptop, our boss, our weekly and quarterly goals, and the difficult and stressful things that are lurking in our inboxes and cellphones.
What’s not easy is taking a step back and thinking about our careers and goals in terms of years and decades, and understanding that our efforts, even when it feels like they’re completely useless, are compounding over time, and that the things we’re stressing out about now are part of a larger story that unfolds over a longer period of time.
So while today, tomorrow, and next week might feel daunting, if you look at your career in terms of years, you’re almost certainly making much more progress than you’re giving yourself credit for.
5. (Truly) putting yourself in the prospect’s shoes
All sales reps know they must be empathetic (or at least they should know it).
Understanding your customer’s problems is the best way to understand what it will take to close the deal. But taking a step further and really trying to put yourself in their shoes is what separates the top sellers from everybody else.
This means understanding their company’s hierarchy, what their motivations for buying a product or service might be, and getting an idea of what type of personality they might have (which will inform your approach). Once you really understand the prospect, the chances of a closed deal go way up.
6. Focusing on helping, rather than selling
Finally, this is the ultimate mindset shift that separates lifelong top-producing reps from everybody else. You can’t trick or bully or coerce people into buying your products. The only way to truly be an effective seller is to focus on helping rather than convincing.
This means that you have to be as honest as possible about whether your product actually solves problems. It also means you must walk away from deals when there is a better option for the prospect somewhere else.
But something strange will start to happen once you get into the mindset of helping people rather than selling: even if your product is more expensive, or not exactly what they’re looking for, prospects will still choose you, because you decided to help them.
Finally, a sales process that gives you the freedom to sell.
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