There was a time not so very long ago when I was a drastically different person. Self-improvement was a concept that didn’t factor into almost any area of my life.
- Reading books on self-improvement seemed useless.
- Listening to podcasts and audiobooks instead of music sounded incredibly boring.
- And taking a regular sales class or going to seminars was something I did not need to do and seemed like a huge waste of time and money that I didn’t have.
The current 2020 version of me would have irritated 2011 me to no end. And honestly, I thought most of that stuff was woo-woo nonsense. If not nonsense, I certainly didn’t think that I needed it.
So when a good friend said that I should meet his sales coach, I said no thanks and laughed. A lot. Deep down though, my ego was bruised.
When it came to sales, I had a huge ego with no real reason to have it. In the past, I had done fine. I wasn’t bringing home six figures or anything, but I thought I was good. And when the sales weren’t there, I always blamed it on my company or manager, my industry, or the customers.
I was stuck in a Limitation Mindset. Really stuck, for a really long time.
After years of contemplation and evolution in my thinking, I’ve found that there are two main mindsets when it comes to life; one of limitation and one of abundance. These mindsets can show up anywhere, but since sales is both my business and my passion, that is what I’m focusing on here.
The Limitation Mindset in Selling
When you have an outlook of limitations in a sales role, it means that you don’t believe that there is enough business out there. That the opportunities for you to sell are limited.
When you feel this way, it can lead you to feel like you always have to be on and selling all the time. Everyone is a prospect because you have to take advantage of every opportunity you can find to sell.
And if everyone is always a possible prospect, you won’t take the time to weed out bad leads. There is a self-imposed pressure to make a bad deal work or keep a difficult client. But when a prospect isn’t a good fit, whatever the reason, they can be a huge time and/or money waster.
It also means that every “no” you get during the workday is heavier. If you think there aren’t enough opportunities out there, then each no will feel like a ton of bricks. I’m sure you’ve heard by now that you should always ‘go for the no.’ How are you ever able to do that in a sales conversation when you think you can’t risk actually getting a no?
The answer is you won’t. And it allows Hope to be an option.
‘Hope’ is a terrible sales technique.
- Hoping for more clients.
- Hoping people will change their minds and come back.
- Hoping their budget will suddenly expand.
When you use hope as your sales tactic, you can lie to both yourself and your boss about your pipeline and what you can produce.
As a business owner or sales leader, things get even stickier.
When you run your company with a Limitation Mindset, you’re probably telling your sales team something like, “always go for each and every sale and make it work.” They have to work even harder to keep deals going that they never should have had in the first place. Or they work under constant pressure that their numbers will never be high enough.
This ‘just get it done’ policy risks damaging the relationships with your team and leading them to burnout, two things that usually create a high turnover. And nobody wants that.
Your leadership style is very dependent on your mindset. If you are in the limitation camp, you need to have it be organized around you. You don’t share tips and tricks with your camp because you want them to need you. You won’t invest in your team’s improvement because that might mean they will leave for some other job, and you can’t have that. And you’ll probably always feel like they aren’t doing “enough.”
What this mindset really boils down to is fear and a lack of confidence. Fear of not having enough, fear of failure.
And fear is what holds us back.
The Abundance Mindset in Selling
The abundance mindset, obviously, goes the other way.
For leaders/managers, you invest in your team and share everything you can with them. When you’re not concerned about losing people all the time, your only goal is for each one of them to be their best.
And even if someone does leave, you trust that it’s because it’s in their best interest. You’ll wish them well and offer any help for their future because you’ve invested in them. Their success is your success! And you know that you will be able to find another successful rock star quickly.
As a salesperson, an abundance mindset takes SO MUCH pressure off of your constantly overworked selling brain.
Every conversation can be an actual conversation where you truly want to see the best for your prospect, even if the best is not you.
Every time you hear a no, you are able to use it as a learning experience. Instead of hanging up or walking away, continue the conversation with gratitude for their time and ask why they are going in a different direction. These “no’s” may be able to highlight something you’re missing in your sales process.
An Abundance Mindset will even show up in how you speak and think. I spoke about this in an earlier blog post, but basically you will approach everything from a more positive perspective.
And every night when you go to sleep, you can rest easy because tomorrow is another day with more opportunities. You don’t have to stress constantly, you don’t have to sell constantly, (your family and friends will really appreciate that one!), and you don’t have to try to find more business. Constantly.
You can relax.
So how do you change your mindset? Well, change is never easy, right?
Changing Your Mindset
In 1954, the book ‘Motivation and Personality,’ written by Abraham Maslow, was released. It had a huge impact on the psychological community! And the theories in it are still taught and talked about today.
If you’re not familiar with it, here’s the quick breakdown:
Humans have a hierarchy of needs, and these needs are more or less universal. In the ascending shape of a pyramid, each need can only be fully reached and satisfied if the one before it is. The needs are:
- Physiological — food, shelter, warmth, water
- Safety — physical, emotional, financial
- Social Belonging — having and maintaining secure and meaningful relationships with friendships, family, romantic partners
- Self-Esteem — self-confidence, belonging, recognition, respect
- Transcendence (originally self-actualization, he later changed it) — altruism, spirituality, regard for your place in society and the world as a whole
For example, it is very challenging to have a meaningful relationship if you do not know where you are getting your next meal.
And while there are many psychologists who question the scientific ideas behind this theory, it’s still a largely socially accepted idea of how humans work.
So why am I talking about Maslow’s theory here?
Well, it has a lot to do with mindset.
I already said that when I was younger, less experienced, and less open to personal improvement, that I was stuck. What I mean by that is that, at that time, I was squarely stuck at the lower levels of this hierarchy. While my physiological needs were met, I was still struggling with financial safety and social belonging.
My job was difficult. I wasn’t getting as many clients as I needed to make the kind of money that would make me comfortable. And my new role as a father was terrifying. These fears forced me to focus all my attention on keeping the lights on and not messing up with my daughter.
I was so far away from the self-esteem and transcendence levels that it makes complete sense that I thought that improvement was ridiculous. My energy was directed in other ways.
But then my job situation changed, and with it, my financial safety was significantly increased. Increased to the point of feeling actually safe. And the dad thing kind of worked itself out with time and patience. That’s when I was finally able to see that there were areas in myself that I could improve.
Thus began my journey towards self-improvement.
And now that’s stuck in your head. You’re welcome.
I also started to think more about culture, about why people do the things they do, and how self-esteem plays such a huge part in that. What I came to realize is that when you’re stuck in one of the lower three levels, it’s almost impossible to have an Abundant Mindset. And it makes sense. When you don’t feel secure in your daily living needs, safety needs, or social needs, how could you not have a Limitation Mindset?
Of course, that means that just changing your mindset isn’t easy, and it won’t happen overnight.
Sit down, look at where you are right now. Make a checklist of all the things that are important to you, and then check off the things that you don’t have to worry about going away. For the things that you are worried about, what can you do to make them feel more secure?
Once you know what to improve and get started on that journey, then you can really start to dig into yourself. What makes you tick, what mindsets are holding you down, and what methods you can use to start evolving.
The self-help industry is enormous, and finding a good start can be quite a task in itself. For me, I was lucky enough to have people in my life that I looked up to, people who were where I wanted to be. So I was able to ask them what helped them find the path they were on. And eventually, I found my own path.
And you have to find yours in your way. But no matter how you get there, you’ll be amazed at how much a more positive, abundant mindset will improve every aspect of your life, including your sales.