Have you got the right mindset for sales success?

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Unleashing the potential of your sales team – It is all about potential, not results

There I was, 35 years ago sitting in an interview for my first big company sales role. This uber successful senior manager asks me the killer question…

What is the most important quality of a successful salesperson?”

I thought and then I guessed…bravery, questioning, closing, listening,

I got desperate…humour, gift of the gab…? Good try but no cigar. The senior manager tells me “No…. the answer is the desire to learn.”

So 35 years on how many salespeople see it this way?  How many times have you heard “experienced” salespeople say;

…….in summary, many are not open to learning.

This is a shame as research shows that salespeople with a “hunger to learn” or “growth mindset” outperform others by more than 38% (Gerhard Gschwandtner, Selling Power Magazine).

But I can understand this fixed mindset, leaping back 35 years ago, I also experienced it.

Somehow, I did manage to land the job. I loved every minute of it – probably the most fun you can have with your clothes on – I worked hard, played hard and was very successful. And then I started thinking, I must be good because I’m top of the sales table, I’m winning these trips and then there’s the money.

It’s easy to believe your own publicity and ego kicks in big time!

What helped to develop a growth mindset?

I was very lucky to have a fantastic boss who challenged and supported me in equal measure and got me thinking about what I was good at, and what I needed to work on – rather than just my results. He put an emphasis on me working with other members of the sales, engineering and marketing teams to help me learn and improve.

So what questions, as sales leaders can you ask yourselves to help embrace a growth mindset culture?

How can organizations foster this “loving learning” and “growth mindset” environment?
Here are some principles to follow based on Carole Dweck’s research as well as our own experience and findings.

  1. Present skills as ‘learnable’ but ones which need deliberate practice
  2. Communicate that the organization values learning and perseverance, not just ready-made geniuses or plain lucky people
  3. Give feedback in a way which promotes learning and future success
  4. Encourage curiosity and challenge so people openly give their views without fear of criticism
  5. Ensuring your leaders and managers live by these principles

If you would like to learn more about how a growth mindset can support sales success please watch our webinar here.

And if I can leave you with one lasting thought – remember this…

“The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more.” Charlie Munger


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