The most powerful sales technique you’ve never heard of: Your mindset

Molly Each

When selling a product or service, many people assume they need the latest, greatest sales technique to succeed. In fact, success in sales hinges more on having the right mindset than deploying any one tip or trick. Jim Mattei, Sales and Sales Management Consultant at Sandler Training, recently took some time to discuss the most powerful sales strategy you’ve never heard of: Your mindset.

Check your self concept. Sales and rejection: You will infrequently experience one without the other. And it can seem as though salespeople have superhuman powers to persist in the face of all those “no's.” In truth, there is no magic. They rely on their positive self-concept to carry them through.

“Rate yourself on a scale of one to 10,” Mattei said, defining 10 as perfection and one as worthless. “If you think you’re a five, you’re saying you’re a mediocre human being. And when you take on your role as a salesperson, you will be mediocre.”

If you find you frequently cast yourself in unflattering terms like these, check yourself. In sales, your performance is only as strong as your self-concept on a bad day.   

Be your own coach. What you say to yourself matters. When a meeting falls flat, for instance, poor-performing salespeople tell themselves they’re a failure, a loser or worse.

By contrast, consider the way great coaches talk to an athlete. They separate the personal from the performative. “You’re a nonstarter” becomes “let’s talk about how to improve.”

Tear a page from that playbook and become your own coach, extracting the lessons from every misstep.

“If you let go of telling yourself you’re a loser and instead focus on what you can learn, you’ll more easily get up after a setback and do better next time,” said Mattei.

Balance behavior, technique and attitude. Mattei notes that sales is a combination of behavior, attitude and technique, defining the terms this way:    

  • Attitude: Your perception of self and others, which can be either limiting or expansive.

  • Behaviors: What you do, including individual actions (making calls) and a plan of action for reaching goals (i.e., commitment to making 10 calls per week).

  • Techniques: The tools you use to execute behaviors skillfully.

Top performers work on all three, all the time. Unless you’re executing high-impact behaviors, in other words, your techniques and attitude serve no purpose.  

“It’s also important to know that it all starts with your attitude,” said Mattei. “If you don't have the right attitude, you won't have the right behaviors — and no technique can turn things around from there.”  

Know your reason for being. Expert sales professionals work for something bigger than a paycheck.

“Why do you get up out of bed every day, taking abuse from people?” Mattei said. “What makes you push through that? Effective salespeople always have a reason why.”

It could be giving your child a better life than you had. Or making a name for yourself. For startups, it may be about providing the world with a solution you believe in. Figure out what drives you and let it push you to the next level.


Photo via Shutterstock.

Sandler offers sales training to help you maximize your prospecting and avoid missing opportunities to generate new referrals and sales. Learn more.

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