One of the biggest challenges I see with contractors is a failure to understand how our beliefs and expectations of the sales function impacts our business success. If a contractor sees the sales function and sales professionals in a negative light, those limiting beliefs will undermine the company’s sales results.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “We become what we think about all day long.” And those words are consistent with what most of us have learned through our life experiences – our results in life and business are typically aligned with our expectations for our life and business.
I mean think about it. When was the last time you accomplished something you didn’t expect to accomplish? When was the last time you accidentally reached a business goal or objective? Our results are always a reflection of our expectations.
Consider this, if your expectations for your business is to generate $1,000,000 in annual revenue, what is the likelihood you will accidentally generate $2,000,000 in annual revenue? It’s not very likely because your expectation of $1,000,000 in sales drives everything you do in terms of marketing, sales and other business activities. Your actions will be in alignment with the $1,000,000 expectation and those activities will drive the expected result.
Your results are a reflection of your actions and your actions are a reflection of your expectations. It isn’t rocket science.
The same reality is true for sales. If our expectations and beliefs about sales are fundamentally negative, what is the likelihood we will accidentally become really good at sales? Why would we become highly skilled at an activity that we see in a negative light?
If we want to create outstanding sales results in our companies, we must ensure that our thoughts and expectations about sales are in alignment with our desired results. We are not accidentally going to excel in sales anymore that we are going to accidentally double our company’s revenue.
Your sales results are a reflection of your sales actions and your sales actions are a reflection of your sales expectations.
In my training seminars I often invite attendees to play a game of word association. I give the audience a word and they take 10 seconds to write down the characteristics they associate with the word. Let’s try that here.
Take out a pen and piece of paper and write down the first few words that come to your mind when I say the word “salesman”.
Did you associate positive qualities or negative ones? Be honest. Did words like pushy, high-pressure, greedy or sleazy come to mind? Or did you think things like problem solver, high service or helpful?
Think about the implications of having negative thoughts and expectations about sales people. If you think sales people are sleazy and pushy, what is the likelihood that you are going to excel at something that you fundamentally dislike? If you want to be great at sales it is imperative that you believe and expect positive things about sales.
Recently I was training at a company in the northeast and I ask the team to play the word association game. I gave them the word and lady in the audience started writing very quickly. Somehow in 10 seconds she had written 7 or 8 words the she associated with the word “salesman”, and EVERY word was negative.
She wrote things like dishonest, pushy, scam artist and crook. I was shocked as she shared her thoughts about sales people with the group. But I was completely dumfounded when I learned she was the sales manager!
What are the odds she will build a group of highly motivated and skilled sales professionals? With expectations about sales people like hers it’s doubtful she will ever build a sales team that reaches its true potential.
Our thoughts and exceptions drive our actions which, of course, drive our results. Success in sales and business is rarely an accident. We create the results we expect to create.
Our thoughts and expectations must be in alignment with what we want in our business. It’s very unlikely we will ever create a sales program characterized by high volume and high margins and high service with an expectation that sales is a profession characterized by high pressure and dishonesty.
So I urge you to examine your core beliefs about sales. If the core belief is negative, take a few minutes and write out positive and empowering statements about sales and repeat them to yourself a few times a day. You can change the way you see the sales function, and if you want great sales results you better have great thoughts and expectations about the sales function and sales people.