Why Your Attitude Matters in Sales
In this week’s Labcast, Kelley Robertson joins us to talk about the importance of having the right attitude in sales.
Kevin: Hello everyone and welcome to this edition of Labcast. I’m Kevin Cain and today we’re going to be talking about sales and the type of attitude you need to have to be successful in sales. I’m joined by Kelley Robertson this morning, and Kelley is a leading sales veteran as well as a president of the Robertson Training Group. Throughout his career Kelley has help thousands of professionals improve their business results with his engaging approach to sales training workshops and sales keynote speaking. He specializes in helping businesses increase their sales, develop better negotiation skills, and motivate their employees to create powerful work teams and deliver outstanding customer service. Kelley is also the author of two books – Stop, Ask and Listen: Proven Sales Techniques to Turn Browsers into Buyers and The Secrets of Power Selling – both of which provide practical insights and tips as well as techniques to improving sales results.
Kelley, thanks so much for joining us today.
Kelley: My pleasure. Thanks for inviting me.
Kevin: As I mentioned, what we really are going to be talking about today is what the right attitude is to have in sales. So my first question on those lines is why is important to have the right attitude and what specifically do you mean by that?
Kelley: Well, I go back to the days of Zig Ziglar when he said your attitude influences your altitude and how much you accomplish. That goes back 20, 30, 40, maybe even 50 years ago. And I still believe in sales today about having a positive, mental, winner’s attitude will definitely influence the results you get. I mean, sales is a pretty tough career. It’s becoming even more challenging, especially for people in the business to business world. It’s becoming more complex. It’s becoming more competitive and certainly a lot more challenging. So maintaining that positive, winner’s attitude can help you get over the barriers. It can help you get past those obstacles and hurdles that you face on a regular basis, and it can really help you achieve the goals that you are striving to accomplish.
Kevin: Great. Is there anything more specific about how to achieve a winning attitude and what you would recommend for people to do and specifically how else that might help increase your sales?
Kelley: Sure. I think number one is to set really high goals for yourself. I find that what happens quite often in sales is sales reps wait for their boss or their manager to give them their quota for the quarter or the month or the year, and then they
gripe and complain that it’s too high or it’s not challenging enough. But what I have found is people who do really well in sales don’t wait for their company to set their own quotas. They go out and they set their quotas themselves. They set really high, challenging, motivating targets that inspire them to take action every single day. And what happens is, when you set them high targets, first of all it’s important to understand that there’s not a company in the world that says, “You know we have a really good year last year, so let’s just coast this year.” That just doesn’t happen. The shareholders are looking for more. The customers are looking for more. Clients are looking for more. So every year we have to produce more.
The sales performers, the salespeople who have that mental outlook that they run their own business within the company, they may sell a product or service for an organization, but the ones that do the best have that attitude that this is my business and I’m going to run this business to the best of my ability. They go into work every single day looking at how they can add value, not only to their customers but to the organization that they work for, and adding that value is a mental mindset that can help you increase your sales because you’re focused on what value can I bring to my employer, and how can I help my employer succeed? When you help your employer succeed, then you succeed as well.
I think it’s critical, in this whole process, I’d say the best way to maintain that positive, winner’s attitude is, number one, focus on what you can do instead of focusing on the things that are out of your control. Salespeople get hung up on the economy. They get hung up on predatory pricing from competitors. They get hung up on sometimes features that their product may not have compared to a competitor’s. These are all things that are outside of your control. But the people who do best are the ones that focus on what they can influence, what they can affect, and they look at the things that are inside their control as opposed to the uncontrollables.
Kevin: I guess when you’re talking about attitude and the sale process, I mean it’s really not a one-way street, right? What do you coach people when in sales to deal with their customers? I mean how do you coach them to adapt to their customers’ attitude which may not be as positive as their own?
Kelley: That’s a great question Kevin. One of the things that I suggest, number one is your attitude will influence your customer or prospect’s attitude. There have been times that I’ve gone into a sales meeting and the person that I’m talking to is having a pretty rough day, which is not uncommon in the corporate world. If you look at a schedule, especially of a busy decision maker, they’re running from meeting to meeting to meeting all day. Their calendar is packed from the time they walk in, in the morning, until the time they leave sometimes late at night. They’ve got 40 or 50 hours of unfinished work on their desk at any given time. So they’re under a lot of stress to perform, and they simply don’t have enough hours in the day.
If you can recognize that and you can say something like, “Kevin, I see that it looks like you’re having a pretty challenging day today. I see you’re stressed out more than normal. Is today still a good time for us to meet, or should we reschedule?” And quite often what you’ll find by doing that, the person will recognize that you’re in tune with their thoughts or their feelings or how they’re reacting or how their day is going. And by making the offer to reschedule, what I found is most of the time people say, “No, no, no. Let’s keep it now,” and then they get more focused on that meeting and they tend to have a better attitude.
Kevin: Now you touched on stress a little bit there, and I guess I was hoping you could expand on in general. I mean, I think stress is a pretty big influence here, right?
Kelley: Without a doubt. There’s no question about that.
Kevin: So what types of tips can you recommend for our listeners in terms of how they can manage their own stress in the sales process and even the stress of their customers?
Kelley: Let’s look at the customer’s stress first. I think one of the things that we can do, one of my beliefs as salespeople that we can do and help our customers reduce the stress is to make it easy to do business with us. It’s having meaningful conversations, two-way, open dialogues with our customers, demonstrating that we may be able to help them solve a particular problem and make that process as easy as we can. It’s tough when you’re selling a complex product. If you’re selling software, there are quite often a number of people involved. The implementation can be pretty stressful for everybody involved. So, in those types of situations, if you walk people through what’s going to happen so they know what to expect and then you help them integrate that implementation into their schedule and manage it more effectively, you can stand out from the competition. You’re not going to eliminate their stress entirely, but you can help them manage the stress associated with the implementation of your offering or your product or your service.
From a salesperson’s perspective, there are a whole bunch of different ways to manage and reduce stress. One of the best is to exercise. I used to do a lot of running. I stopped running for years, and more recently have gotten back into getting in shape. I can tell you that even after two months of regular exercise I feel so much better mentally and physically, and that it’s more mental than anything. But that exercise helps get rid of the stress that accumulates and builds up in your body. I’m not talking about going to the gym for two hours a day or training for a marathon or triathlon or anything like that. It can be something as simple as taking a half hour walk every single night at the end of the day or at the beginning of the day. I’ve got a friend of mine that last October started walking an hour every night. Not only did he drop 25 pounds in three or four months . . .
Kelley: Yeah. And he didn’t do anything else. He didn’t change his diet. All he did was start to exercise and noticed a difference in his outlook, noticed a difference in the way he interacted with people. So exercise is really important. I think another one that helps is having some activities outside of work and people outside of work that you can connect with, that you can associate with, that you can hang out with, and activities that you can do that give you some satisfaction. I think it’s important to have that release outside of work. So whatever hobbies you’re involved in, quite often for my wife and I, it’s getting together with friends over great dinners and great wines. We’re wine enthusiasts, so we spend a lot of time talking to friends about wine, and I find that’s a great stress reliever, not to mention drinking the wines always good too. But that conversation with friends allows us to think about stuff outside of work. So those are two things.
Another one, a really simple one is drink more water. The reason I say this is water gives you more energy. It flushes out the body. It forces you to get up and take washroom breaks. So if you’re sitting on the phone making cold calls all day, it can give you that little 30 second or 1 minute break periodically throughout the day.
So those are a few things that I find really help with the stress associated with sales.
Kevin: Yeah. I mean those are techniques and tips that would apply for stress of all kinds. So that’s really useful. Thank you so much.
Kelley: My pleasure. Another one with the stress, and I’d say it’s even the most important one is network with positive people and surround yourself with positive, goal oriented people. If you hang out with negative people, people who always want to rain on your parade or who always have a negative comment, that behavior is contagious and will bring you down. But if you associate and surround yourself with positive, optimistic, goal oriented people, the conversations you have will be completely different in nature, and they will leave you feeling different. They will give that positive outlook and help you get through those challenging times and stressful times.
Kevin: My last question, Kelley, is actually probably the least stressful of all, and that’s just how can our listeners get in touch with you or follow you online?
Kelley: Sure. There’s a variety of ways. The best is you can just go to my website, which is www.Fearless-Selling.ca. If you want to sign up for my newsletter, I’ve got a bunch of freebies there that you can have just by signing up for my newsletter. Then if you go to my blog or actually even the website, I have a whole variety of free offerings. One is a quick report that is 27 ways to reduce and manage stress. I’ve got some e-books and some reports. So that’s the best way to connect with me.
Kevin: That’s great. Thank you so much for joining us today, Kelley. We really appreciate it.
Kelley: My pleasure, Kevin. Thanks for having me.