What I mean by this question is: how do they view their role, their prospects, customers or clients, or their sales targets? If you want to bring about long-term improvements in the performance of sales people, you need to focus on how they see the world, not just on their behaviour and results.
I was reminded recently of a simple model for change that was originally devised by Stephen R Covey, the author of ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’. I simply refer to it as See, Do, Get.
Here’s the basic logic: How you see things (your mindset or paradigm) dictates what you do (your behaviour) and in turn, what you do (how you behave) determines what you get… your results.
Let’s say I am on your sales team. It’s a wintry Monday morning. As soon as I pull back the curtain to take my first peek at the day, it looks grim. Chastened, I jump into the shower to get ready for my day’s meetings. The water stays freezing cold, there is a problem with the boiler and I have the quickest cold shower ever! Rushing to the station, I just make it to the platform when the announcer states that my train has been cancelled. I’ll need to wait another 30 minutes – in the rain. I think to myself, “This is going to be a crummy day!”Then what happens? Everything in the day turns out wrong.
If I am not careful, my early-morning mindset can miraculously manifest itself into an entire bad day. On the other hand, I can choose not to let that negative mindset affect me, stay positive and have influence over the rest of my day.
I have the power to decide.
What has this got to do with sales and running a sales team? Well quite a lot actually. There are two stark examples that I have witnessed many times. The first has to do with how sales people see their role, and the second is to do with how sales people are seen by their prospects, customers or clients.
For each of your team members, ask yourself, how do they view their sales target or quota? How do they view the market? How do they view their territory?
I have seen new sales people take over established territories formerly managed by longer tenured sales representatives and extract more business and value – simply because they saw opportunity and not limitation. The mindset change allows and promotes alternative, more successful behaviour, which in turn brings desired results.
Let’s look at it from the perspective of a client, customer or prospect, meeting one of your sales people for the first time. There are typically two mindsets that could be adopted by the client:
- Oh no! Here’s another one of those sales guys (typically a negative perception); or
- Here’s that helpful lady or gentleman from your company (typically positive).
How they see the sales person dictates how much information they share. The first conclusion typically results in little or no useful information and a defensive meeting. On the other hand, if they see us as helpful it can open a stream of conversation and information that can help us identify potential solutions.
At the end of the day it boils down to intent. Customers, clients and prospects often assign an intent to us within minutes of meeting us. If they determine or perceive that our intent is to sell them something in a way that we want to, rather than helping them in a way that they would value, it can be a very short-lived relationship or sales opportunity.
In conclusion, sustainable changes in sales behaviours and results start with the right mindsets.
Sales professionals at the top of their game adopt the sales success mindsets of Client Centricity, Curiosity, Social Awareness, and Self-Development.
How do you see it?