In this article, I am going to talk about the important of the right mindset to achieve mastery in Sales. I truly believe now that performing better over time in selling, and in anything else in life, begins with a mindset of growth.
As Craig Wortmann (Clinical Professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Kellogg University) explained “Mindset is a mental attitude or inclination, a framework for interpreting the world and understanding what’s happening with you”.
To understand the important of mindset in mastering anything in life, and sales specifically, let’s look at the research done by “Carol Dweck” in her book (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Carol Dweck figured out that there two attitudes or “mindsets” that a person can have about themselves. To use her words “the growth mindset states that a person’s talents and abilities are not fixed at birth but can be enhanced by effort, learning, and persistence. (In contrast, the fixed mindset says that you’ve only got what you’re “naturally talented” with, and that no amount of effort will lead to more.)”
Fixed mindset people believe that we are born with fixed level of intelligence, and they usually avoid situations that makes them look less smart. They shy away from challenges, and they feel uncomfortable when they are rejected or face failures. They don’t like feedback because it hurts the image, they might have about themselves. This is a dangerous mindset to carry with you in sales.
On the other hand, people with a growth mindset, they truly believe that life is just a journey of learning. They embrace failures and see it as an opportunity to learn and improve moving forward. Failure in a task doesn’t mean they are not smart enough, but they are not ready YET, as Carol Dweck described in her inspiring talk here
Let’s try to project this information to sales and there are many situations in which a growth mindset can make all the difference on becoming the best on selling.
One of the most challenging tasks in sales is finding prospects. In shocking research listed here (60 Key Sales Statistics That’ll Help You Sell Smarter in 2021), it is apparent that finding new prospects requires consistency and discipline. While a fixed mindset salesperson might give up if he didn’t get a reply from a buyer from the first try, a salesperson with a growth mindset will have the required resiliency and play the long game to get leads into possible prospects.
One thing for sure salespersons need to acknowledge is that they need to drop the enthusiasm Infront of the prospect by trying to start the conversation by talking about their products and how awesome they are. Instead, a growth mindset encourage curiosity by listening to customers, understanding their pain, and then advise them. If the fail to offer a service to their customers, they embrace failure by offering to stay in touch and offer to add value when the time is right. Perhaps it is not the time YET. This will help gaining customer trust and perception of being a trusted advisor, and not someone who is trying to push products as typical salespersons do.
As continuous learning is big part of having a mindset, it is important to seek help and feedback from our managers, peers and customers, instead of fearing judgements. Constructive criticism is feedback that helps the person to understand how to fix something; it is not feedback that labels or simply excuses the person. We all have weaknesses, instead of hiding behind them, a growth mindset encourages feedback as a way to acknowledge them, and then putting the effort to become better and better over time.
Growth mindset also means having the resilience and a strategy for coping with setbacks. Ever been in a situation where you are facing obstacles in one sale, and you start pushing this to a colleague or blaming lack of time or your knowledge in that matter? A growth mindset means putting the effort to overcome those obstacles and develop new skills that will help them in the future become more skillful and resilient, instead of fearing failures and looking uncapable in front of your peers and manager.
One of the things that I do when I see successful salespeople closing big deals or successful in their careers is to seek their advice and ask them to be my mentors in certain areas that I know requires development. I don’t fear looking unknowledgeable or incompetent. Having a growth mindset means acknowledging your weaknesses and work on them to become strength.
A growth mindset means being curious by trying to understand your customer’s problem and become their trusted advisor instead of forcing your products to close the sale.
It means becoming open to feedback to improve and become better at what you do and gain new skills that will help you become master in your field.
We embrace failures and look at them as opportunities to learn and acknowledge that it might not be the right time YET to close the sale. However, we offer to stay in touch and provide value when the time is right.
We are persistent in a way that we don’t give up from a customer who didn’t respond to our email or call. We keep knocking the doors and we do our research to learn more about the prospects and find new ways to provide value.
We play the long game. We understand that we have a lot to learn and skills to develop. We keep improving ourselves from the believe that we can be more intelligent and better by gaining more knowledge, skills and discipline.