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The Real Barrier to Sales Success is on the Inside
Blog / For Sales Pros / Oct 9, 2015 / Posted by Leigh Ashton / 5599

The Real Barrier to Sales Success is on the Inside

Having the skills to sell isn’t enough. Applying the skills in a way that achieves results is what’s most important.

Remember T-F-A-R …your thoughts influence your feelings, which influence your actions and thus your results. It’s clear then that how you think impacts directly on your results. And that means that no amount of sales training will make you better at selling if deep inside you don’t really believe that you can be better at selling.

If you’re avoiding activities that you know would boost your sales results it’s on the inside where the core of the problem lies.

If you have negative thoughts about yourself (consciously or unconsciously), your ability to succeed at selling, others, the economy or the situation you find yourself…you’re making it seriously hard to achieve consistently great sales.

So how do you get that winning sales mindset?

Firstly you have to identify what you’re avoiding doing and establish what’s getting in the way of you doing those things.

Start with your selling key performance indicators. Whatever you’re achieving now becomes your starting point. What areas are you falling down on? Generating new leads? Getting appointments? Getting the chance to quote as a result of those meetings? Converting your quotes? Getting sales and marketing campaigns organized? What else?

Once you’ve identified the activities that need improvement, grab yourself a notebook, find yourself a quiet corner where you won’t be disturbed and write down everything you can think of in response to “What stops you getting success in this area?” Keep writing until you’ve completely emptied your mind. This can take anything from 30 minutes to several hours. And when you think you’ve got everything down and can’t think of anything else, wait. This is what’s called a blank spot, yet within a few seconds, maybe minutes, more thoughts will pour out. Sometimes the most useful insights come out at this late stage because these are the ones that have often been buried in your mind the longest and the deepest.

Go past two blank spots before you finish.

You need to be open and honest

The more open and honest you are about your inner barriers the greater your ability to resolve what’s holding you back. You need to be as honest with yourself now as you ever have been.

What you’ll end up with is an outpouring of thoughts. Some about you. Some about others. Some about the situation you find yourself in.

Take a highlighter and highlight all the negative things you have written about yourself and maybe your own shortcomings. Take a different color and highlight all the negative things you have written about other people or situations.

What you will have identified are the limiting beliefs you have about yourself and the reasons and excuses you use to rationalize your lack of great sales.

Typical examples of limiting beliefs are…’I’m rubbish at….’, ‘I can’t do that’ and ‘I’m lazy’, “I’ll never be able to….” and so on.

Typical examples of reasons and excuses are…’people aren’t spending’, ‘it’s all down to the economy’ and ‘my boss won’t let me’.

Limiting beliefs will seriously get in the way of great sales. If you believe you’re rubbish at something, it’s no surprise that you avoid doing it or you certainly don’t give it you’re all. To make it even worse, you won’t be consciously aware of all your limiting beliefs as many of them are deep inside. By responding to the question ‘What stops you….’ you’ll increase your awareness of the beliefs that get in your way. Sometimes that’s all you need to resolve them. Other times you’ll need coaching – maybe self-coaching – to eliminate them.

Working to eliminate a limiting belief

A quick and easy fix is to come up with 3 examples where you have exhibited the opposite behavior to that negative belief i.e. when you have successfully done what you have stated you now struggle with. Humans are very good at deleting successful examples that contradict their limiting beliefs. After all…you wouldn’t want to disagree with yourself! Coming up with these alternatives, positive examples will often convince you that you can, in fact, do what you believed you couldn’t…and you’ll already be destabilizing that limiting belief and on the journey towards eliminating it.

And those reasons and excuses?

How about those reasons and excuses you identified? If you notice yourself blaming someone or something else for your lack of results you are in the unfortunate “ valley of reasons and excuses”. This is a gloomy place that stops you taking action. You think there’s just no point. You think it’s not your fault. You think you can’t do anything about it and it’s out of your hands. You’re in ‘the valley’ and you have relinquished all responsibility and gave up your power. You’ve become a victim of circumstance.

So why do so many salespeople go there? Because it lets you off the hook and allows you to blame something outside of you!

Leaving the Valley

These things or people that you’re blaming may or may not be real barriers but if you are to take back your power you must accept responsibility for where you are. Accept that they are potential barriers and for every one of those reasons and excuses on your list, ask yourself what action can I take (despite these challenges) to achieve my goal?’

Not only will you come up with actions that give you more choices, you’ll also start to feel so much better about yourself.  You start to take back the power. You’re back in charge. You’re pointing your brain towards the solutions instead of the problems! It’s an easy but profound change.

You see your mind doesn’t care if you plant positive or negative seeds. It will nurture and care for them regardless.

So which seeds are you planting?

About Author

Leigh is an author, speaker, trainer and coach. She is a 20 year veteran of inside sales, and has served as Director of Sales and Director of Training while traveling the world to launch inside sales teams. She has worked with in-house and outsourced sales teams, selling outbound and inbound.

Author's Publications on Amazon

Even when outwardly confident, sales people and business owners often lack the inner confidence and practical strategies to achieve great sales results on a consistent basis. Conventional sales training doesn't address the inner barriers that get in the way of sales success. This book does.…
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