Your beliefs are extremely important to your life. They help you navigate treacherous waters and propel you to success. This is especially true when considering your career and your sales beliefs. In fact, winning sales beliefs are the difference between success and failure. And creating those strong, guiding beliefs is easier than you might think.
What is a Belief?
Belief noun 1. Confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof 2. Confidence; faith; trust.
Simply stated, a belief is what you hold to be true, no matter if there is proof to back you up. A belief is not a fact. A belief forms when two facts – your temperament and an experience – come together. When any random event takes place (such as an accident), your conscious mind (temperament) creates a rule to explain what that event means to you. Your attitude at the time the random event occurs slants your belief as it forms.
So a pessimist and an optimist will experience the same event but may interpret the meaning of it very differently. For example, a pessimist may see a “bad” economy as an excuse to fail: no need to blame themselves for failure, the doors are all closed! While an optimist sees that same “bad” economy as an opportunity to change focus and find new paths to success: no need to suffer over conditions they cannot control, new doors are opening! Same door, very different emotional response. Radically different beliefs.
Beliefs start out as assumptions. They act as a lens that colors how similar events are viewed. Evidence that doesn’t support the belief is filtered out while any supporting evidence is emphasized. This subconscious filtering strengthens your belief until it appears to be entirely “true” in your mind.
Changing Sales Beliefs for Successful Selling
Beliefs drive your behavior and influence your attitude. Change your negative beliefs, and behaviors will follow along with improved results.
Consider this scenario. You believe cold calls are boring and ineffective, so you tend to pay more attention to and remember the boring, ineffective calls (which are most of them!). You filter out the positive in support of the negative belief.
But what if you believe that successful cold calling is a combination of volume and practice? The more you do, the more success you will have and the better you will get. You are far more likely to pay attention to what is effective for you and expand on it – filtering out the negative in support of the positive belief.
Keep in mind that neither belief is “true” in any objective sense. However they each create very different selling behaviors and results.
Since emotions keep beliefs intact and constantly reinforced, they are the key to changing beliefs. Change the emotions that you associate with a belief and the belief will change. Try this:
- Write down the old belief and the new belief side by side.
- Under the old belief, write down all the behaviors and results that the belief creates.
- For each result, write down how those results makes you feel.
- Under the new belief, write down all the behaviors and results that you think the belief would create.
- For each result, write down how those results make you feel.
- Read over the “old” column and force yourself to really feel all the emotions that the old belief generates. Get into it. Get miserable. Think of failure, job loss, boredom, etc. and how you’ll feel when that stuff happens.
- Then read over the “new” column and imagine yourself feeling the emotions that the new belief will probably create. Get into it. Think of the president’s club, the new car, a sales award, etc. and how you’ll feel when you achieve those goals.
- Read (and feel) the two lists every morning for one week and your new belief will be firmly installed in your mind. As with your old belief, the new belief will start filtering out facts that don’t correspond to the new belief and emphasizing those that do. Over time (say a month or so) the new belief will seem so “true” that you’ll wonder how you could have ever believed that load of baloney that you used to think was completely true.
It’s important to note that only you can change your sales beliefs, and your beliefs must reflect your individual temperament. If you’re naturally an extrovert, for example, you’re only going to be able to fully incorporate beliefs that reflect that way of thinking about people. Similarly, if you’re temperamentally religious, your improved beliefs about sales will need to incorporate and integrate your religion. The more personal you make your new beliefs, the easier it will be to install and reinforce them. Even though this is a personal process, don’t be afraid to get feedback and help. Sidehill Consulting can guide you and your sales team through the exercises to change your sales beliefs for the better!
Jon Anderson is President of Sidehill Consulting and provides hands-on service as an Outsourced VP of Sales. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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