Five mind hacks to become a Successful Salesperson
By Vikas Krishnamachari
All Indian cricket fans are on a high after the recently concluded test series, where we beat England 3-1. We were down 0-1, but we fought back like Champions. Ravi Ashwin, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Rohit Sharma, Washington Sundar, Mohd. Siraj, well! there was someone or the other who put up his hand and delivered when it mattered.
What went wrong for England after the high of the first test win and two back-to-back series before that? A former England captain said the English team did not lose it on the field but they lost it in their mind. Reads simple but actually, this statement is profound in its meaning.
After all, thinking happens in the space between our ears, and what we think is what we become.
In his celebrated book Psycho-Cybernetics, Dr. Maxwell Maltz says that human beings have been designed for success and we all have a built-in success mechanism within us. It is just that we chose to ignore and feed it with negative feelings. Questions like “what if”, “how can” sows the seeds of failure and we start to believe that we are bound to fail, even before we start to venture.
For a Salesperson, it is important to be mentally tough as the “law of wasted effort” plays out completely. We all like to believe that a lion is successful in catching its prey almost 100% of the time. But, in reality, its success rate is only 25% (😳). That does not stop it from attempting 100% of the time. This is the “law of wasted effort” that plays out with Salespeople every day.
To build a mental attitude for success each time we go for a sales call, be it a small deal or a large one, it is important to win that in our heads.
1. Feeling of success is more important than the size of success
When I started my sales career with an FMCG company, I was posted in a tough market and did not find success in the first two months. One day, my Regional Manager came on a market visit and we went around the market the whole day. At the end of the day, he sat me down at a small coffee shop and said I am transferring you to another territory. I felt sad at that and viewed it as a punishment. He said I am doing this for your success.
After a week, I started working in the new territory and started finding success in expanding distribution. With that confidence, I was able to perform well during my stint. What my manager did was to provide me with a “feeling of success”. I assumed that this new territory was going to be fruitful for me and it turned out to be.
So, whenever you are in a tough situation, just invoke “the feeling of success”. It could be as small as how you felt when you learned to drive or learned to swim or cracked a sales order that you were chasing relentlessly. Once you invoke “the feeling of success”, your self-confidence will improve and you can face the tough situation with aplomb.
2. Imagine yourself successful
Everything starts with imagination.
The moment I felt successful, I started imagining ways in which I will be executing my job successfully. I was rearing to go.
Our mental image of ourselves determines what we eventually become. Boxers use this method, they call it “Shadowboxing”, in football, it is called “Skull practice”. In Sales parlance, it is imagining oneself in different Sales situations and solving them in the mind, till you know what to say and do whenever the situations come up in real life. It is imagining yourself selling your product to a customer and play out the conversation in your mind. By practicing without pressure, you will build a mental picture of yourself being successful.
3. You are not your mistakes, learn to let go
I failed in my task. But I am not a failure.
Most of us start thinking as “I am a failure” rather than thinking “I failed”. By confusing “losing” with “being a loser” suppresses our success mechanism and sends us into a negative spiral.
When Rishabh Pant was failing with the bat, his wicket keeping was also shoddy. One negative led to another. Rishabh Pant learned from his mistakes. He lost weight, became fit, concentrated on his batting, especially in the key moments, to score consistently. His wicket-keeping automatically became world-class. He moved into the positive spiral.
Remember the law of wasted efforts that I was talking about earlier in this blog!! Even the lion cannot win every time. We all have done mistakes, we never plan, it just happens. We are not defined by our mistakes. We need to learn from it and move on.
So, remember, “you make mistakes, mistakes don’t make you”. Don’t let the feeling of mistake linger for long and learn to let go.
4. Replace “How” with “What” and “Have to” with “Want to”
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step.
Most often we encounter situations where we are baffled by the “curveball” thrown at us that we start thinking “how am I going manage this”. How will I get this done? Am I capable of this complex assignment?
Instead of these “How” questions, replace them with “What” questions. OK! I have a complex assignment in front of me. Break it down into as many small parts or steps as possible. Now ask yourself, “What am I going to do first?”. What is that I need to look for to complete the first step? What should I do next?
“What” questions condition your brain to think in terms of possibilities and provide you with steps, whereas a “How” only builds uncertainty. It is important to get into the action zone rather than staying in the undecided zone. Remember action speaks louder than words.
Similarly, replacing “have to” with “want to” conditions your brain towards action. “Want to” provides ownership to the task whereas “have to” seems forced.
5. Be Mindful
Plutarch,the Greek philosopher once said, “The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled”
There are four stages that one needs to go thru to become a Champion and master at their job or profession.
Stage 1: Unconsciously Incompetent. You are not even aware that you are incompetent.
Stage 2: Consciously Incompetent. You become aware of your problem areas and create an action plan to improve yourself.
Stage 3: Consciously Competent. You work at the improvement action plan consciously by referring to it frequently, using reminding yourself to follow all the right steps.
Stage 4: Unconsciously Competent. This is the nirvana stage. You only do the right things, the right way, automatically every single time. Your muscle memory kicks in and complements your regular memory.
To imbibe the above-mentioned hacks requires some amount of practice and being mindful. You need to be at stage 3 for some time i.e., consciously competent before you can transition to Stage 4.
You need to catch yourself doing the opposite whenever that happens and bring it back to the desired behavior. For that, you need to be aware that you are straying from your promised course. That’s when being mindful help. It helps you build newer habits and erase old records so to speak.
Practice these mind hacks without any bias, give it time and see yourself becoming a successful Salesperson.
Happy Reading and Happy Selling