The Captain of the Titanic Wasn't in Sales!

Clayton Shold
 


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Did you know sales success and icebergs have something in common? And no …this article is not about cold calling!

Many of us know an iceberg has about 7/8th of its mass below water. But did you know the largest Northern Hemisphere iceberg on record was encountered near Baffin Island in 1882? It was 8 miles (13 km) long, 3.7 miles (6 km) wide and rose 65 feet (20 m) above the water. The mass of that iceberg was in excess of 9 billion tonnes - enough water for everyone, in the world to drink a quart (litre) a day for over 4 years.

Well thanks for the lesson on icebergs you’re probably thinking but what has that got to do with sales?

Go back to the first fact; the majority of an iceberg is below the surface. In sales, much of what controls our success is below the surface. Let me explain.

Think of the iceberg, the tip which we see, could be compared to the action and results of sales professionals. We see sales results. Companies track share of market, percentage of plan, year-over-year performance to name just a few metrics. We also see what a sales person does. We can observe and track the number of calls made, appointments kept, sales made, and referrals obtained.

What we can’t see, the part under the surface is what the sales professional is thinking. This I submit is the most critical component for a sales person to be successful. We talked about icebergs, now for a short psychology lesson.

Cognitive behavioural science suggests that what we are thinking about today determines our reality tomorrow. That is, a person’s outer world is a reflection of their inner world. If a sales professional is interested in creating a new reality for themselves, whether that new reality is bringing in a new client or whether it is moving up to the next level in sales effectiveness, this new frame of reference is first created in the person’s mind. It all starts with an idea, a concept and a desire for enhanced results.

I’ve heard it said that a person sees more with their state of mind than with their eyes. For example, take an optimist and a pessimist to the same restaurant and afterwards they are likely to report quite different experiences even though the service, the meal, the company, and the location were exactly the same. The optimist’s positive frame of mind focused on what was enjoyable while the pessimist’s negative state of mind zeroed in on everything that was wrong.

This fascinating area of psychology reinforces the concept that our thinking is our greatest ally in demonstrating effective sales competencies. In other words, top sales performers think in a way that helps them to perform at an optimal level. The good news is you can change your thinking style to improve performance.

The best sales professionals are effective thinkers. They focus on what they want to achieve, they regularly review their sales objectives and they think in a constructive, supportive fashion, using their creative imagination in harmony with their intelligence, reason and free will. Think of this as their “mindset” which influences their focus, motivation and confidence.

So the next time you see an iceberg (or maybe ice in a drink), think of what’s below the surface of your mind. Think of the impact your mindset can have on your sales success.

Clayton Shold has 25 years of experience helping sales professionals increase their revenue and productivity. He can be reached at claytonshold@cogeco.ca

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