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Why thinking about the way you think affects all results in your life.

Apr 11, 2022

Richard Jackson MBE- founder and co-architect of The Winning Edge, has put pen to paper, or rather fingers to the keyboard, to bring you this week’s Mindset Blog. He focuses on the art of sales and explains how mindset management is the key to unlocking the real sales potential in an organisation. He also touches on how understanding how the brain makes decisions, is advantageous in all relationship building.

The power gained by thinking about the way you think

Naturally, salespeople are interested in understanding what makes themselves and other people tick in order that they can then make that targeted ‘sell’. So, what is it that sets the great sales individuals apart from the average ones? What really makes the difference between those peak performers who can consistently exceed their targets and the average salespeople who never really manage to break through that perceived glass ceiling? The answer is they think differently from most other people.

Selling is one of the oldest professions and how exciting it can be when we master the most powerful of sales tools of all, our mind. You see what the high performers understand is the vital link between their thinking and emotional skills, and their sales effectiveness; they understand glass ceilings only exist when self-imposed. In order to break through that glass ceiling, they need to understand that traditional selling skills and product knowledge do not play the most important role.

Research shows that success in almost every area of life, whether it be in personal or professional terms, is at least 80% the result of thinking and attitude and only 20% about such factors as knowledge, skills, ability and born-with gifts and talent. It is crucial for salespeople to think about the 80-20 equation and the role thinking plays in their success. High performers know they leverage the existing traditional sales techniques and processes- the 20%, by employing a success-orientated thinking style- the 80%.

This is the case in any job role, and indeed in any challenge you may face in life. Yes, very often skills, competencies and experience help but it’s the attitude, motivation and thinking skills which will get you to where you want to be. We’ve had a brain surgeon attend a Winning Edge course who 100% agreed; he said yes of course you need highly skilled staff in an operating theatre but an expect success mindset and the attitude and motivation to push you through challenging cases and lengthy and complicated procedures is also crucial.

However, in too many businesses, where is most of the training budget allocated? To the 20%. I call this ‘trying to cure a leaky pen by wearing rubber gloves’! And during tough economic times, what is very often the first area to be struck from the budget? Training. And yet if teams had the training to understand the part the nature of their mindset plays in success, this would have a significant impact on how businesses respond to challenging times.

To reach stretching sales targets, we must realise success is based for the most part, on our attitude- the way we think, how we think about things is much more important than what we think about. What high achievers are able to do is think about the way they think about how they sell. They can stand outside themselves and use that incredibly powerful innate tool called introspection; they can benchmark the quality of their thinking which enables them to use the ability we all have to change, to hone their sales skills and to sell at an even higher level.

Selling– persuading people to buy, should be a natural and relaxed process– we sell more when we feel good and are being ourselves. We have all experienced the situation where a salesperson suddenly switches into ‘selling mode’ and it’s a real turn-off. When a salesperson is with a prospect, they should be the same person they are when with their family, friends and colleagues.  If you want to see a great salesperson in action, look at an eight-year-old child who wants an ice-cream– they are natural-born persuaders and don’t give up! Selling can be as natural as getting dressed i.e. they don’t think about it on a conscious level. Peak performers have always sold this way. They know product knowledge, building desire, objection handling and closing techniques should all coalesce into one seamless, subconscious whole. It’s about the salesperson gaining mastery over their own mind to maximise their sales potential; this, combined with gaining an understanding of what motivates their potential customer, and then selling naturally.

Brain-to-brain selling

There is a saying that seems to have been around forever: 'people buy people first' - actually, brains buy brains first. Whenever we are interacting with another human being, our brain is communicating with their brain so it's incredibly useful to have an understanding of how the two brains communicate with each other. Understanding the brain means this will enable the salesperson to understand the reasons why a prospect will buy their product or service.

People don't buy for logical reasons- logic is the bridge we build from where we are to where we want to be. We construct our own logic from our own perceptions, values and emotional needs and it gives the salesperson an undeniable edge if they understand that; because of the way the brain is wired, everyone, without exception, makes buying decisions for emotional reasons. It's therefore important for the salesperson to use that knowledge to give the appropriate emotional information that will persuade the prospect to buy their product or service.

This doesn't mean to say that data, specifications, delivery times, warranties etc are not important to a prospect, but if we bought for logical reasons, we would all be buying the same product or service to suit the same need but we don't. The right-half of the brain monitors the logical side and stays quiet until it doesn’t feel comfortable with the logic being employed and then emotional highjack takes place and emotions take over.

This can be applied to all areas of your life. Think about when you’re trying to persuade your partner to see your point of view, such as why you need a new sofa, or why your holiday destination choice is a better idea- if you appeal to their emotions i.e. their values, you are much more likely to get them onside than if you explain the logic behind your choice.

Managing your mindset

Most people's brains run their lives- very few people run their brains. By understanding how our mind works, we can harness its potential to make it work for us. In these challenging economic times, it is vital for salespeople to not only demonstrate they know how to do their job in order to be successful in their role, but to also be able to demonstrate they can think about the way they think about their job. This means salespeople are then able to continuously improve their thinking skills to persuade prospects to buy more of their products and services.

If we worry or have negative thoughts, if we pretend other people and events can make us feel anything, if we feel resentment about ‘imposed’ targets, if we think we have to go to work, then we are demonstrating we are not thinking about the way we think- we are donating control externally, in other words, we don’t know how to think. When salespeople are more consciously aware of the nature of their thoughts and know that they can manage their thoughts and emotions, it puts them in a much stronger position and the selling becomes subconscious. 

It is about creating a definite shift in thinking and the impact this has on performance. By bringing core thinking to the front of the development issue, salespeople are able to address the root of the matter and redefine the most fundamental elements that will affect their success. On an individual level, this new way of thinking can lead to huge potential for growth and development and will bring benefits far beyond just helping to hit and exceed sales targets; it helps individuals to review their own personal goals and objectives and it’s an opportunity to take a quantum leap forward in deciding what they want for the life ahead and exactly how to get there.

It doesn't matter what level of skill or experience an individual or team have in sales, because what they think about isn’t nearly as important as the way they think about what they think about - this approach is what works for sales professionals at all levels who are serious about increasing results and creating sustainable change. It’s also how we strengthen relationships in our personal life- by understanding the mental map of others- what their values are and thus what motivates them. It’s how we persuade those around us to help us get what we want, by first helping them get what they want! It’s all selling at the end of the day- whether it be a tangible product or an idea or a concept.

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Do you want to hone your thinking skills to be a more effective salesperson?

Perhaps strengthening relationships is something you’d like to focus on in 2022– both personally and professionally.

The Mindset Coaching Membership can help you understand the tools and strategies needed. With Masterclass Teachings + Coaching + Accountability, we will help you to create the future you want. Find out more here.

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