Being a sales person is not easy. Between frequent objections and outright rejection, sellers need to be persistent in the face of failure to succeed. This means that certain personality types are more conducive to the sales profession than others; specifically, personalities that press on in the face of difficulties.
But how can we identify this type of mentality, and encourage more sales people to adopt it? Why do some people bounce back after a minor setback while others are overwhelmed?
This second question caught the attention of world-renowned Stanford University Psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck, and she set out to find out why. After decades of research on the behavior of thousands of students, Dr. Dweck discovered that people have two distinct mindsets when it comes to success and achievement – fixed mindset and growth mindset.
The research is described in her famous book, Mindset: The Psychology of Success and discusses how one can become more motivated, productive and accomplished by adopting a growth mindset.
According to Dr. Dweck’s website, a fixed mindset is where:
People believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.
A person with a fixed mindset will have self-doubts about something they are about to do, believe that a skill is an inherited trait and put blame on someone else.
Alternatively, almost all successful people have a growth mindset. On Dr. Dweck’s website, a growth mindset is described as:
People who believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
A person with a growth mindset will acknowledge that they do not know something, however, if they put time and practice into it, they will be able to do it. They also acknowledge that failure is part of the process and they can achieve anything that they put their mind to.
Here are three aspects of a growth mindset that we encourage in our training clients, that can be adopted by any sales person looking to improve:
When you receive a “No” from a prospect, use it as a learning experience.
Rejection is the only guarantee in sales – whether you’re prospecting or competing for business, you will hear “no” more times than “yes”. Instead of getting defensive, upset or ignore the “no” in general, break down your approach, evaluate where you did well and work on areas where you believe you could improve for the next time. Learn from the process that led you to getting a “no” from a prospect and adjust your approach accordingly.
Be open to feedback and coaching from your managers and peers.
We as humans fall into habits and a lot of times don’t even realize it. Having an extra set of eyes and outside perspective from someone to give you feedback on your sales calls, communications, and approach will drastically improve your sales success. The key here is to be open to feedback and apply it. Remember: the people providing you with feedback are trying to help you improve and are looking out for your best interests.
Don’t compare yourself to your peers.
If your colleague has been exceeding their quota and make sales look easy, while you’re not hitting your number – don’t loathe and compare yourself to them. Instead, acknowledge this, and find ways for you to exceed your own number. In sales, this could mean reading up on your prospects industry, changing your approach, adding more coaching time with your manager, educating yourself on selling, enroll in a training course; the list of ways to improve yourself is endless.
In conclusion, a growth mindset is easier said than done and takes discipline and practice. However, implementing one strategy at a time will develop a growth mindset. This could be as simple as viewing a “no” as a learning experience, being open to feedback as well as not comparing yourself to other people. Having a growth mindset in your sales role and your life in general will open you up to endless achievement and possibilities.