High performance selling: What makes a sales star
Michael E. Bernard, PhD
Emeritus Professor, California State University, Long Beach
Founder, You Can Do It! Education
When it comes to high performance selling, we know that attitude matters. Attitude can either sabotage or enhance productivity when it comes to selling.
We all know that the positive beliefs of salespeople impact on sales quite significantly, and that super salespeople have strongly developed positive beliefs. Did you know that sales stars have minimised the strength and impact of irrational beliefs?
“Irrational beliefs harboured by sales people can increase destructive emotions and behaviours, such as high anxiety, anger, feeling down, and procrastination; all of which which prevent success and future sales.”
Based on our ongoing research, we know that the psychological make-up of all human beings is determined by how the two hemispheres of their brain operate. One side of the brain is emotional/irrational, while the other is rational/logical. Both sides of the brain can operate in tandem, but when irrational beliefs are dominant, sales performance deteriorates. When it comes to high performance selling—as in almost all areas of life when stressful, demanding and challenging—we need to call on rational beliefs.
Appreciating why irrational beliefs are not sensible, accurate and helpful ways to think will make it easier to replace them with rational beliefs. And when you do, you will have planted the seeds of sales success.
Fortunately, we all have the power to change our beliefs by becoming more aware of eliminating negative, irrational ones, and making up our minds to become more rational. The list below contrasts these two sets of beliefs:
- Blows ‘badness’ out of proportion – “It is awful and terrible not to be able to close a sale.” “It’s horrible to be criticised.”
- Low estimates of ability to cope – “Being criticised by my manager is more than I can take.” “It’s more than I can take when I keep getting rejections.”
- Fixed mindset – “I’ve pretty much learned everything I can about selling. I’m not going to get any better.” “No point in trying things differently, I can’t.”
- Takes things personally – “I’m a failure when I don’t make an important sale.” “I’m a loser.” “I’m really pathetic, I don’t know what to do.”
- Pessimistic – “I can’t do this and never will.” “Nothing is going right.” “Everyone else can do this, I can’t.
- Unrealistic expectations for achievement and perfectionism – “I should be totally competent and never make a mistake.” “I need to be successful and always achieve my sales targets.” “I’ve been doing this long enough. I should be better able to do this.” “I should be a better performer than I am.”
- Approval-seeking – “I need my manager to approve of everything I do in closing a sale.” “I can’t stand being criticised.” “I need the approval to feel worthwhile.”
- Keeps things in perspective – “Losing a sale is bad, but not the end of the world.” “There are a lot worse things than being criticised.”
- High estimates of ability to cope – “While I don’t like rejections, I can cope.” “I can stand it when customers do the wrong thing.”
- Growth mindset – “I am always learning. By continuously challenging myself and learning from my mistakes, I will become better at what I do.”
- Strong self-acceptance – “My value as a person cannot be determined by my work performance.” I accept and am proud of who I am.” “I am a fallible human being who sometimes makes mistakes.”
- Optimistic – “If I keep putting in effort and not give up, I will be successful.” “If I set a really big goal for myself in what I want to accomplish, I am more likely to be successful than to fail.”
- Realistic expectations for achievement – “I prefer but do not need to always be successful.” “I will strive to do my best knowing that I cannot do everything perfectly all the time.”
- Non-approval seeking – “While I want people to like my manager, team and customers to approve of the way I do things, I do not need their approval all the time.”