That you need the right mindset to be successful in sales was so self-evident to me that I didn’t even want to devote any attention to the topic.
But then I noticed that nowadays I meet people almost every day who have a negative attitude towards salespeople and selling itself.
When I thought about where these negative beliefs come from, I became aware that many parents instill in their children that selling is something bad, evil and unethical. With sayings such as “Never buy anything from strangers” or “Where there is selling, there is lying”, most people have predominantly negative beliefs towards salespeople.
There is also still a false image of the typical salesperson. Many still think of José, the dishonest car salesman with poor language skills, or Peter, the pushy telemarketer from the 1990s.
As a result, many people have negative beliefs and a certain antipathy towards salespeople and selling.
No one wants to admit that they are selling something.
No one wants to admit that they’ve been sold something.
That’s probably why so many salespeople hide behind titles like key account manager, trade representative, sales consultant, or consultant.
But a salesperson is not necessarily that person who drives up in an Audi A6 company car, takes his roller suitcase out of the trunk and meets his sales targets.
You can meet Elon Musk, for example, and even though he’s a total nerd, you’ll be convinced by everything he tells you.
The Steve Jobs’, Elon Musk’s, Bill Gates’, Warren Buffett’s of this world are the best influencers in the world, but they are not salespeople.
An influencer is rather a person who masters all the skills to influence other people to make the right decision.
To be really successful in selling, you must be absolutely clear that selling in and of itself is not bad or unethical! For you to really understand this, let’s talk about the necessary topic of ethics in selling.
To drive the point home, let me ask you a question:
What’s wrong with trying to sell your awesome product to a potential customer who needs it, and who is better off with your product than without it?
In my opinion, you have a moral obligation to sell him your product.
Because if you don’t sell him your product, you neither solve his problems nor help him to reach his goals faster and more efficiently. Instead, one of your competitors, whom you may never have heard of, may call this potential customer and offer and sell him a worse solution.
It is your moral obligation to sell a good product to the right customers.
On the other hand, it is unethical to sell a bad product or a product that your customers don’t need at all.
Instead of selling a bad and unnecessary product to customers, you should focus your power and energy on a business and a product that people really need. This way you earn money with a clear conscience, do something good for the community and avoid ending up in jail.
Speaking of money. Just as most people have a negative attitude towards selling, many people follow the misconception that money is a bad thing.
But money is neither bad nor good. On the contrary, money is a lever with which you can do many good things, for example:
- you can donate to your favorite causes,
- provide for your family,
- allow your mother to leave the workforce,
- have a real, positive impact on the world.
Your motivation to become great in sales should be everything positive you can accomplish and create with the money you earn.
And to sell successfully, you need not only a good product, but also a positive attitude. This includes enthusiasm, optimism, and a joy to communicate with people.
On the other hand, a skeptical attitude, fear, nervousness, lack of respect, and lack of compassion towards our conversation partner have a negative impact on the conversation and minimize your chances of success.
With a positive, enthusiastic mood, you make the day of every person you communicate with. With a negative mood, on the other hand, you hurt everyone around you.
A positive attitude is not enough, of course. Every salesperson also must have a thick skin. Because a cold call is, as the name suggests, cold. You will encounter a lot of rejection, and it can happen that people hiss at you in an unfriendly manner or even insult you. Selling is a numbers game.
There are days when you have to make 43 calls to even get a decision maker on the phone. The decision maker gives you a grumpy refusal, and you have to make another 37 calls to get the next decision maker on the phone. If you’re lucky, the decision maker agrees, but you still have to write dozens of follow-up emails and follow up by phone until you hear back and close the deal with that decision maker.
Without a positive attitude, perseverance and thick skin, you will give up after the first few cold calls. To be successful in sales, however, you absolutely need this tenacity and positive attitude.
Don’t Be Afraid of Cold Calling
If you are feeling respectful or a little scared of your first cold call, don’t worry, you’re not alone. I’ve seen even the most extroverted men break out in a sweat thinking about a cold call. Especially in today’s world, where communication is primarily done via email and text messages, more and more people appear to be afraid of talking to strangers on the phone.
This is completely unfounded because who is on the other end of the line? It is also a human being with the same needs, hopes, worries, and fears as you.
The only way to get rid of nervousness and fear of cold calling is through practice. Yes, the first cold calls will suck, you’ll have anxiety sweats, make mistakes and stutter through your script. However, after the first dozen cold calls, you’ll quickly realize that it’s not that bad. You may even enjoy talking to strangers on the phone.
The following tricks can still help you overcome the initial nervousness and fear of the cold call.
Scheduling Cold Calls
Cold calls are often so unpleasant that you keep putting them off. Maybe you think to yourself “Oh, it’s already 1:00 p.m., now is a bad time, everyone is probably on their lunch break, I’ll start cold calling tomorrow morning”.
However, there is no perfect time for making cold calls. Any time today is better than a postponed perfect time tomorrow.
It’s best to treat cold calls like an appointment. To accomplish this, you block out a one- to two-hour time slot every day when you do nothing but to cold call your list of leads. For example, every day between 9:00 am and 11:00 am. In this time slot, you don’t take any other appointments, you close your email client, you block all social media websites, and you focus exclusively on cold calling.
A good trick to get rid of nervousness and anxiety is to do warm-up calls.
Similar to sports, before you really begin, warm up.
To do this, make a list of unimportant contacts. These are leads you won’t be sad to lose. Alternatively, sort your list of contacts from important (dream customer) to unimportant.
Your first phone call will be lousy. You’ll be nervous. Make mistakes and sweat. You’ll also think “Shit, I fucked up!” on your second, third, and fourth cold call.
You should make these mistakes with unimportant contacts rather than with your most important dream clients.
So instead of starting with the most important dream clients, start with minor contacts. If your industry is small, start with a different niche or industry for practice. For example, instead of selling your software to logistics companies, just sell a fictitious software to cab companies for practice.
Practice makes perfect, but don’t practice with your dream customers!
Go for No!
The other trick comes from a book of the same title called “Go For No.” This trick really helped me deal with rejections in the beginning.
Instead of setting goals for successful phone calls and counting how many “yes’s” you get in a day, you do the opposite. You set goals for how many times you want to receive a “no” in a day.
You consciously set a goal: Today I aim to achieve at least 50 “no’s”.
This way, you’re no longer afraid of failure because your goal is to make a certain number of failed phone calls anyway.
The best thing is: while you are collecting your “no’s”, you are bound to get some “yes’s”!
Hype Yourself Up
It’s not every day that you’re in the best of moods. That is why it is all the more important to get yourself in the right emotional state before any cold calling session.
If you call with a negative mood and bad temper, you will harm everyone around you and will hardly succeed in cold calling.
On the other hand, if you call with a good mood and full of enthusiasm, you will sweeten the day for everyone you talk to!
A simple trick to improve your emotional state is to force yourself to smile for 5 minutes. Start a 5-minute timer and until the timer rings, smile and grin. When you’re alone, you can laugh, too. Even if your smiles and laughter are artificial, you’ll find yourself in a wholly different emotional state after just a few seconds!
Otherwise, you can also use techniques from NLP. One NLP technique is called anchoring. Close your eyes and imagine a perfect sales talk with a successful close. Think of your sales commission or the revenue you gain. While you imagine this, including all positive emotions, you clench your fists and say to yourself “YES! YES! YES!”
If you repeat this often, it will become ingrained in your subconscious, so that every time you clench your fists and say “YES!” you will be catapulted into that positive emotional state.
Maybe there’s also a song that motivates you and gets you into the right mindset.
Four Stages of the Learning Process
Being afraid of cold calling is perfectly normal. What you need to know is that you are in the very first stage of learning, which is unconscious incompetence. You are completely unaware of all the techniques that exist in cold calling, and consequently, you cannot apply any of the techniques. You are unconsciously incompetent.
As you work your way through this little book, you will quickly reach the second stage, which Jordan Belfort calls conscious incompetence. As you progress through the book, you will become aware of the techniques that exist and that you have not yet mastered. You’ll realize what skills you need to acquire, and you’ll see that there are other people who have already mastered all these techniques better than you.
Then, with practice, you will reach the third stage of the learning process: conscious competence. You can use the techniques mentioned in this book, but you must actively think about using them.
Once you have successfully made hundreds of cold calls and are getting better with each call, the new skills become your habit, and you no longer have to think about the technique when making new cold calls. You have internalized what you have learned, and you use this skill you have mastered completely unconsciously.
Your journey to becoming a good salesperson starts in the first stage. The more you practice and the more calls you make, the better your sales skills become, to the point where you no longer think about what you’ve mastered, but apply it intuitively.
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