There’s an adage that rings true for sales careers, “if it was easy, everyone would be doing it.” Proficient salespeople have some of the highest job satisfaction across all industries and can have very rewarding and lucrative careers. On the other side of the coin, selling — especially commission based selling — isn’t for everyone. Inexperienced or ineffective salespeople may have a hard time breaking into the profession.
If we examine the gap between great salespeople and those who struggle, the biggest determinants of success are mindset and perspective. This is a good time of year to pause and do some spring cleaning of self-doubt. With a clear mind, you can stay on track to meet your goals. Below are three important questions to ask as you consider where your mental focus is versus where it needs to be.
1. Are your goals clearly defined and are you tracking towards them?
To maintain proper mental and behavioral focus, the starting point is important. If you haven’t done so, begin tracking where you want to go and how you are progressing towards that point through SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time oriented. These five qualifiers identify important elements of each goal or objective you set.
Specificity is essential, as a vague goal is much less likely to be achieved. Being clear with yourself and the terms of your objectives allow a much clearer path to success. A measurable goal ensures that you can carefully quantify what you need to accomplish before it is complete and along the way, you can identify your progress towards it. The more analytical you are, the more likely you are to be able to track and improve your efforts. Attainability is sometimes overlooked when setting goals. Make sure that your goal is something you can accomplish. Everyone would like to make a million dollars in commission next quarter, but very few can attain that level of success. This ties into the next point as well – realism. Think long and hard before you set your goal. Don’t feel that you need to go zero to one hundred right away. Work your way up and set a short-term goal that you know you can accomplish. Finally, all goals should be time oriented. If you leave an open-ended term for a goal, it is impossible to fail and will not give you the proper constraints that will help you to be more successful.
For more information on goals and how to achieve them, check out this Sandler webinar.
2. Become a master of your practice.
If there was only one solitary thing you could do to make the biggest impact on your level of doubt, it would likely be going from knowing to owning your subject area. Doubt often creeps in when someone does not feel confident in their work or execution of that work. This lack of comfort is a usually a reflection of their training. If salespeople are only trained to understand topics instead of encouraged to comprehend the essence of their work, retention will be poor and their confidence to operate on their own will be much lower.
If you do not feel that you have all of the training or guidance necessary to exude confidence as your work, the onus is on you to dive in and become a master. While it does begin with learning the basics, applying something is very different than just knowing it. The best way to turn knowledge into mastery is through practice and repetition. As you apply this learning in applicable situations you will begin to see what works well and what doesn’t. This process of application and comprehension is what ultimately builds skill. The more you practice and the more you learn what is most effective, the more skillful you become.
The true beauty of this method of growing is that failure is just as meaningful as success. When you fail, you are exposed to barriers and boundaries that help refine and improve your process. Theses refinements are what will ultimately transform you into a master. When you can view failure as a tool for growth, doubt and fear will shrink away, and you’ll be able to feel more confident in your area of expertise.
3. Remind yourself daily of your purpose.
Your support system of mentors and teachers is great for the occasional pep talk, but your purpose and drive should be something you examine daily, on an individual basis. Whether the medium of a vision board, mission statement, or even just a picture of what’s important to you works best, you should remind yourself daily of why you are here, what you want to accomplish, and how you’re going to do it. These habitual meditations serve as energizing motivation to keep you striving to be better.
While incorporating this daily reminder into your practice may seem tedious or even silly at first, you’ll quickly realize it’s relevance when you see an improvement in your production and attentiveness.
Daily reminders from yourself, mastering your comprehension, and properly identified goals are three effective steps towards removing clutter from your mind. Without clutter, you can easily prioritize what is important and properly identify your good and bad habits. Like anything, managing your mindset and becoming free of self-doubt doesn’t happen overnight. But if you maintain focus and momentum towards what’s really important, you’ll doubt yourself less and less. This will improve your practice, and bring you closer to realizing goals and objectives.