When you make a hire, you get a person that is the aggregate of beliefs, experiences, capabilities, etc.
With the good comes the bad. By the time they were in grade school, the majority of their belief system was cemented in place. Some beliefs benefited them then and continue to benefit them now. Beliefs such as “look both ways before you cross the street” and “chew with your mouth closed” served them well as children and continue to serve them to this day. However, many of these beliefs impair their ability to function as a sales professional. Their mothers told them over and over again to “never talk to strangers” and not to “bother people while they’re busy” and “it’s impolite to talk about money” and “don’t ask too many questions.” Then you come along and give them a job. On their first day, you show them their office and their phone. And their marching orders sound something like “pick up that phone, call some strangers while they’re working, ask them a lot of questions, and talk freely about money.” And now we wonder why they freeze up. The truth is that in the battle of beliefs between mother and boss, mother wins every time.
The first step in overcoming a negative belief (or system of beliefs) is gaining self-awareness around the harmful beliefs that they harbor. And one must keep in mind that many of our beliefs/belief system are held subconsciously and are difficult to acknowledge. Here is an inventory of some more of the most prevalent (often subconsciously held) beliefs salespeople are victimized by:
1. It’s not “OK” to confront prospects
There’s something about sales that makes salespeople believe that we don’t deserve equal stature as our prospects. For instance, we’ve all had a prospect tell us something that just wasn’t true. But what happens? How do we handle it? We let it be. We don’t point it out. We don’t ask the question. Why? Who else in your life gets this type of immunity? Hopefully no one. But if you do grant this immunity, it’s likely to an authority figure. Perhaps a boss or a parent. So why are OK treating prospects like authority figures?
2. I need to provide proposals
Don’t get me wrong, proposals are sometimes needed. But most salespeople will propose to prospects who simply aren’t qualified. If we’re talking about money, delivery, warranty, guarantees, etc., before we even understand what their compelling reason to do business is, we are in trouble. And, worst of all, we’re wasting everyone’s time. Not just our own, but the prospect’s as well.
3. Any lack of results is due to…
If you ask a salesperson this question, and their answer strays from something resembling “my own ineffectiveness,” you’ve stumbled upon another bad belief. The truth is, we don’t lose deals because our competition was cheaper, we lose them because we didn’t help the prospect uncover and understand why we charge more and why it’s a better fit for them. We don’t lose deals because they’re happy with their current vendor. We lose deals because we didn’t help them discover why they really shouldn’t be. Lack of results is our (or our leader’s) fault. Not the
4. Prospects are honest
I’m not claiming that your prospects are bad people. Or liars to their core. But we all know, you can lie to sales people and still get into Heaven. And prospects do. They mislead, misdirect, “ghost” us, etc. But, to them, it’s OK. It’s part of “the game.” The salesperson who doesn’t suspect her prospect of misleading and being less than
5. I’m uncomfortable talking about money
Simply put, if this is your belief, you’ve got two choices: 1. Get comfortable, or 2. Find another trade. In