Overcome the #1 Obstacle to Your Sales Success
Before I became a hypnotherapist and coaching entrepreneur, I was a leader in sales and marketing for over 20 years.
My bosses didn’t always think so. I had, what were at the time, controversial ideas and visions on what sales success meant.
I was living a comfortable life, owned my home, and took tropical vacations.
But I wasn’t happy.
My approach was creating too much stress between me and my employer(s).
I believe in long-term relationships, not on one-and-done project sales. The client who will hand you a project over their incumbent supplier because of a cheaper price or promise of a faster delivery will turn on you just as quickly when the next new supplier comes along.
They’re like serial girl or boyfriends rather than long-term committed relationships: fun for a while, but they don’t help you to grow in a significant way. They also tend to run quickly at the slightest tension or misunderstanding, preferring the next shiny object that catches their eye.
While my employers wanted me to focus on short-term, close-it-and-move-on tactics that generated business, I instinctively wanted to create relationships that created long-term business partnerships.
They sent me to seminars to learn how to close business. I left each one more pissed off and unmotivated than I had entered it.
Closing is for losers.
Sure, you have to ask for the sale at some point. That’s a given. But using slimy tactics like the impending event close to get someone to do what you want them to do just leads to buyer’s remorse and downstream issues.
Manipulation never leads to good long-term outcomes.
For nearly twenty-five years, I did my job my way. I had more than a bit of a lone-wolf attitude that held me back in different ways, but paid dividends in others.
I was a control-freak: No one could do my job better than I could, because I knew the customer better than anyone else. So instead of focusing on building more relationships, I’d micro-manage production departments to make sure that each project was delivered to the client’s specs.
This process hurt my overall sales, but it gained me many friends in production who appreciated my commitment and desire to explain why a job needed to be done a certain way rather than yell at them in the aftermath of an error, saying, “You should know how to do it!”
Those are childish tactics employed by people with ego issues. Sadly, their voices tend to be loud and they know how to create drama so that the get the attention and outcomes that they want.
One day, I just burned out. I’d had enough of being told how to do my job by people who were less profitable than I was. They may have sold more in gross volume, but the balance sheet numbers showed that I was placing more money in the company’s bank account.
I woke up every day for three weeks asking myself, “Why am I going to work today? What is my reason for going in there?” I learned these questions from Isaiah Hankel’s book Black Hole Focus and Dan Buettner’s The Blue Zones.
The answer was not the paycheck, although it was good. It was not a sense of personal satisfaction, because I didn’t fee appreciated by the company for my efforts.
Then one morning, my phone rang. The client on the other end was saying, “We need you to come over here this afternoon to help us figure out this project. We just got it and there’s a tight deadline. We’re not entirely sure how to make it all work, but we know you will.”
As I hung up the phone, I had an epiphany. I realized that I had my “why:” I was really, really good at problem solving. In fact, the more complex the problem, the more I enjoyed solving it.
That moment was crucial for me and lead me to my new career.
As I look back on my decades in sales, I realized that the biggest thing in my way was me.
At the time, I’d blame my frustrations on production errors, misguided managers/owners, and clients. But I realize now that that is the attitude of a victim.
I didn’t realize then what I know now: I had a choice in how I dealt with each issue.
YOU are Your Biggest Obstacle
You may be in the same situation and not even know it.
As human beings, we tend to follow the scripts that we’ve created about who we are, how we handle situations, and what we deserve in life.
You may have a vision of being a million-dollar sales rep, but if you can’t wrap your head around the concept of a million dollars, and believe in yourself to achieve that goal, you’ll never accomplish it.
Your sense of what you deserve in life is the key determining factor in what you will accomplish.
While you may have that million-dollar vision, if you believe deep down that you are only worthy of earning $50,000 per year, you’ll max-out at $50K… and you’ll be somewhat comfortable.
This is not a conscious activity, it’s occurring at a subconscious level, beneath your awareness.
The Million Dollar Question
You don’t believe me?
Why would you keep yourself from earning more money, being happier and more successful than you are now?
Because you don’t believe you deserve it.
Here’s my million-dollar question to you:
If you have your vision of selling much, much more than you do currently, why haven’t you done it yet?
When you answer that question, pay attention to if you blame other people or outside circumstances for your state of affairs.
If you do, you are playing the victim.
Cross out these answers and try again, this time taking personal responsibility.
Over the next few weeks, I will be challenging you to move forward in your sales career and I will be offering a new program designed to help you overcome your limiting beliefs and increase your sales 10x.
I’d love to hear about your biggest challenges to increasing your sales. Comment below.
PS: This year, I was honored to have the story of my experiences in selling included in the groundbreaking book, Stop Selling and Start Leading by James Kouzes, Barry Posner, and Deb Calvert.
If this article resonated with you, you should go buy a copy now… buy two and give one to your boss who quotes Alec Baldwin's character in Glengarry Glen Ross, “Coffee is for closers!” as the pinnacle of sales leadership.