Scientists have been studying the human mind for centuries. In the early 1900’s, breakthroughs by Freud, Jung and others led to an understanding of the presence of subconscious thought. Since then, advancements in neuroscience combined with new ultrasensitive equipment for monitoring and measuring brain activity has dramatically increased our knowledge of how the brain works. Then in the early 1960’s, research first demonstrated the connection between the subconscious and conscious mind in relation to attitude. Research confirmed theories that the subconscious focuses on needs, wants and desires and how to obtain them. So how does that relate to harnessing your sales brain?
One of the most important findings was that, unless we provide direct input on what we want, need, or desire, the subconscious will make something up based on our day-to-day experience. The subconscious is generally focused on the optimistic view – thoughts like “how do I get that,” instead of “I don’t think I can have that.” The subconscious mind is creative, positive and goal-oriented; it constantly works behind the scenes to define and seek out ways to get what we want. The perfect sales brain!
Attitude is Everything
Unfortunately, the subconscious brain has a counterpart that is much less positive. While the conscious mind is also focused on achieving the task at hand, it is more logical, negative and past-oriented. Day-to-day life for a salesperson is full of negatives: the tendency to hear more bad than good news, combined with the normal rejection of selling activity, can put salespeople in double-negative input jeopardy. This double negative does NOT make a positive!
Positive thought leads to positive results. You can take control over both your subconscious and conscious thoughts. Here’s how:
- You know that the subconscious focuses on needs, wants and desires, and how to obtain them. Direct your subconscious to focus on what you consciously want by presenting it with well-defined goals. The subconscious will then work behind the scenes on ways to reach those goals.
- But be explicit in your directions! If the majority of your daily experience is unproductive or negative, the natural optimism of the subconscious accepts that input as a confirmation of what you want, and then works to help you obtain more of it.
- Control your conscious thoughts to also focus on positive resolutions to challenges. Just by thinking about potentially positive outcomes, you ignite the sections of your brain that store pleasant memories. Active conscious thought helps neutralize the negative.
When the conscious and subconscious are working together, you are focused on creating solutions that move you forward. Instead of being limited by the [negative] warning signals of the past, you can incorporate them into a plan for success.
The Attitude of Sales Success
“If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.” – Henry Ford
A positive, conscious mind is the difference between success and lack of success. All too often, past experience influences what you believe you can accomplish in the future. For example, if you have never been artistic and can’t draw a recognizable circle, you’ll tend to steer away from opportunities where drawing circles is required.
Fortunately, study after study has proven that, with very few exceptions, anyone can change their ability to succeed by making conscious choices in how their brain works. A positive attitude focuses your conscious mind on the potential – not on the past. Focusing on what is possible overrides the default protection mechanism of the conscious and combines the power of both the conscious and subconscious toward achieving the potential. This increases belief, which leads to improved confidence. Improved confidence makes it easier to see potential.
So if you think you can sell, or think you can’t sell, you’re right. Your subconscious and your conscious play a key role in everything you do, including closing the sale. Learning to take control of both helps you use the best of both, much like training your left brain and right brain to work together. If your thoughts aren’t getting along and both working toward improved sales, contact me to guide you through the thought process and sales strategy.
Jon Anderson is President of Sidehill Consulting and provides hands-on service as an Outsourced VP of Sales. He can be reached at [email protected].
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