As any sports psychologist will tell you, winning is not all about physical performance - it’s also about faith in your ability to win.
Many sales people could learn from their sporting heroes’ self belief and, while they may not be able to wear the word ‘believe’ on the inside of their shirt as many do on the pitch, it should certainly be a mantra that comes from their heart every day of their working lives.
The correlation between confidence and sales success is well-documented with numerous experiments being carried out to measure the impact of positive belief on sales conversion rates.
For example, a large team of newly trained sales people was split randomly into two groups following the recruits’ induction. The two sets of salespeople had been trained in the same way and were equally talented.
Group one was told that the territories they were being given were well-established markets with excellent potential where the company expected to see high sales volumes during a short period of time. Group two, meanwhile, was told that they were to be deployed in challenging territories where sales opportunities were scarce and meeting targets was going to be tough.
The outcomes are not surprising. Despite the fact that all the territories had the same customer demographic and potential to generate new business, sales for group one far outstripped those for group two. The only real difference between each location was the sales people’s expectation of success.
The work I do myself, training a wide range of sales people, echoes these results. MLP Training provides a range of courses and works with sales people who are just starting out on their career right through to those that have lived and breathed sales for decades. It’s extraordinary that many of those who have earned their sales stripes over a number of years still don’t fully understand the correlation between expectation and success.
A recent MLP ‘Getting Appointments Over the Phone’ course highlights this too. The one-day course involved training a group of 10 experienced sales people and my first question was ‘How many cold calls do you expect to have to make before you secure an appointment?’
Answers from the group varied between 10 and 20, with one particularly jaded salesperson answering 100. There was, however, just one delegate that confidently answered ‘one’.
When set the practical task of carrying out some cold calls, success levels varied across the group. By far the most successful delegate, however, was the person that had anticipated securing an appointment with his first call. He may not have achieved a successful outcome every time he picked up the phone but his hit rate was far greater – largely because he believed it would be!
Whatever you’re selling and whoever you’re selling it to, the biggest factor in your success is confidence that you can make success happen. Certainly, there will be obstacles, but, if believe you will lose out on price, quality or anything else, the chances are you probably will.
If you want to avoid being defeated the moment you’re challenged, you have to believe the sale is yours.