What makes attitude so mysterious and yet essential to selling? Understand that your mind is a computer that you can program. We all have a choice. We can choose an inner dialogue of self-encouragement and self-motivation, or we can choose self-defeating behavior and self-pity. Each of us encounters hard times, hurt feelings and the heartache of a lost sale. The key is to realize is that it is not what happens to you that matters; it is how you choose to respond.
I once took a short break from flooring to sell furniture. On my first day, the salesperson who had the first “up” sold his first sale of the day.
“I always say, make the first sale of the day and the rest of the day will be a breeze,” he said.
I was up next and I made my first sale of the day. By a stroke of luck, I also sold the next six sales that came my way that day. Each time I taunted my colleague with, “I always say….” He was ready to kill me.
Was it really just luck that I made all of those sales, or did I have a confident and enthusiastic attitude that allowed me to soar to new heights? Does success breed the simple magic to prolific selling? If it is, how do I acquire and maintain this powerful mindset?
Do you remember the last time that you sold your first three customers during the day? The fourth customer who enters your store does not have a chance to get away. The reason is your confidence is sky high. Comparatively, if you had lost the first three customers, your confidence might be jaded. That is, unless you had trained and conditioned your attitude.
Psychologists define attitudes as a learned tendency to evaluate things in a certain way. Therefore, attitude controls behavior. Attitude has a huge impact on whether we achieve our sales goals as well as our sales momentum. Present me with a person who has developed a poor attitude, and I will show you a person destined to climb no higher. Attitude creates the mood and motivation for all individuals. Clearly, attitude should not be underestimated or trivialized. Did a “suck” attitude ever keep you from being productive?
It is difficult to act on something that you do not believe in at some level. What you manifest in your mind creates your reality and becomes your pattern. The only variable in this process is the strength and duration of your belief. If you see the sale and the circumstance as impossible, it becomes impossible. In other words, the way we see the problem may be the problem, and any adverse action you take results in adverse consequences.
Hence, short of an elixir, how does one accomplish a positive selling attitude internally on a consistent basis? How do you beat the head trips in the thick of adversity? When constant defeats and letdowns seem everywhere, how do you change the way you are feeling? How do we pull ourselves out of an uncomfortable sales slump?
Attitude is the “want to do” in a triangle of effective selling. Essentially, the triangle means that you can know what to sell (product knowledge), how to sell (strategies and tactics), but you have to want to sell cheerfully and passionately (a good attitude). As a result, an effective habit of selling is the combination of knowledge, skill and attitude. However, attitude is unquestionably the base of this effectiveness triangle because it is the desire and energy of everything else that occurs.
Luckily, you can change your attitude. You just need to put in a little more energy into attaining what you want.
First, confident people believe in themselves and their ability to sell. While confidence does not guarantee a sale, it always increases the probability of success. A successful attitude starts with a state of mind. Marcus Aurelius said, “Our life is what our thoughts make of it.” You act on what you believe. Action begins with and is instigated by belief. Therefore, it seems that a strong basis of successful selling is confidence.
So how do you gain selling confidence? Know this: confidence is a type of attitude, and a mental program. It is something that we do, not something that we are. It’s a way of thinking. By knowing this truth, you can begin to shape and mold your reality by taking steps, every day, to create a crystalline vision of what you want your reality to be. Be prepared, however, because this is not easy. It takes work, courage and practice. In addition, most of all, it takes the fortitude of persistence so that you put aside all thoughts of and encounters with failure. Further, we should view failure as an opportunity or an obstacle to overcome, but not an end in and of itself.
In his seminar “The Super Laws of Success,” James Ray paraphrases the following beliefs: “There is no failure in life — only feedback. There are winners and learners. The best learning is failure. There is always a way if one is committed. If there are obstacles, go around them or over them…. You are encouraged to operate out of imagination versus memory because the past does not equal the future. If you believe the past does embody your destiny, get in your car; put it in reverse and drive.”
However, the past is your future success when you build on it from experience and learning. Thus, make your past a forwarding process.
So, how do we control our attitudes? We search out new paradigms. Attitude is exercising a mental or emotional habit, a state of mind. You control your beliefs and the way you are thinking. You separate each customer, each sales event, each rejection and think of it in different terms. Again, it is not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts or helps us. You need to train your mind to react to the negatives—the problems, the criticisms, the failures—no differently than you would the success in your sales day. This inspired viewpoint must somehow become your belief and your attitude for a successful selling career.
Henry Ford said, “If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” If you go into a selling situation and you do not even believe in your ability, then you are doomed to failure. If you do not believe in yourself and your success, then the customer will not believe in you either, nor will they believe what you say. Your doubt will become their doubt and doubt does not lead to the sale.
Of course, negative influences are all around us. For example, I attended a sales training seminar recently and one of the speakers said that you are only as good as your last sale. Bologna! You are a success. That fact never changes. My belief is that you are much better than even your best sale because you have unlimited potential. Now that’s a confident attitude.
Obviously, your ability to control your attitude on a daily basis will be a strong measure of your success in any profession. According to research, 85% of success in life derives from attitudes rather than from your intelligence or innate ability.
This article is not meant to be a treatise on psychology, but in my personal experience, one thing is very clear: When I knew and believed positively that I was going to make a sale, I usually did; and when there was any doubt, I seldom closed the sale. If you cannot convince yourself that your customer is going to buy, I seriously doubt that you will ever be able to convince the purchaser to do the same. Low self-confidence is not a life sentence. Once you master it, everything in your life will change for the better. Your attitude is your greatest sales advantage, bar none.
Obviously, the way you choose to respond to negativity is totally up to you. In sales, it is easy to give up. If you think you cannot change the way you are thinking, then suppose unexpectedly someone shoved a cream pie in your face. You might become shockingly emotional in some way. Regardless, it would temporarily change your way of thinking. Zig Ziegler, the renowned motivational speaker and author, says, “Every day is either terrific or semi terrific. If the day doesn’t start out great, make it great—you are the one in charge.”
Start by taking pride in your good qualities. Not only should you feel proud of your talents or your skills, but you should also think about the things that make your personality great. It can be your sense of humor, your sense of compassion, your listening skills, or your ability to cope under stress. You may not think that there is anything about your personality worth admiring, but if you dig deep, you will realize that you have plenty of admirable qualities. Revel in them and write them down. You will be on your way to building your self-confidence.
People who are successful and happy are people who have mastered the art of change. Great salespeople are not afraid to revisit their prior actions and approach their goals differently, so that they are not acting in the same way while expecting different results. They are not afraid to move out of their comfort zones. Rather, they understand that in order for growth to occur, they must have the courage to live outside their comfort zones.
In truth, attitude is just your way of thinking, and attitude might be the only thing on this planet that you determine 100% of the time. So ultimately, you decide the outlook that you live with regardless of the circumstances. Perfect success and then act upon it. Realize your attitude determines how successful you can be. Sometimes you just have to re-think the way you are thinking. Attitudes remain the heartbeat of success in life and in sales. Fortunately, you get to choose your own attitude – good or bad.