by Brad Roderick | 7/15/14

My friend Rod is a professional salesperson. He tends to lead in all of the activity metrics but consistently lags in what matters the most: revenue dollars. We meet every now and then to talk about his “new” plan and reassess his selling skills. Rod appears to have everything that it takes to be successful. He certainly has experience and skill. He knows his products, his company and his market well. And for a long time I could never quite put my finger on why he kept missing the mark.

During our last conversation Rod showed me his activity log for the previous quarter. No one could argue his work ethic, his preparation and planning, or his persistence. Rod had the “work hard” part of the equation down. But I noticed that he was missing the “smart” part. You know the equation, right? If you want to succeed, you have to work smart … AND hard! His activity level was far above anyone else in his team. After some more digging, he and I could see that his problem was that he simply worked on deals too small to add up to the revenue he needs to attain.

The next step in our dig was a little more challenging. We had to find out why he kept working on smaller deals. During the excavation process it became clear to both of us that Rod was suffering from some big-time self-limiting beliefs. And like most self-limiting beliefs, his were silent killers!

Once we brought this nugget up to the surface so we could see it better, it really wasn’t all that difficult to deal with. He saw it for what it was, determined that he must overcome it to reach his potential and came up with a daily game plan for progress.

Here are the top five self-limiting beliefs I see repeated in so many sales organizations:

1.     I am not an extrovert and only extroverts succeed in sales.

2.     Sales is a sleazy way to make a living.

3.     Nobody likes salespeople.

4.     I will never be as good at sales as ___________.

5.     I would be successful if only my company ____________.

Before we proceed, let’s recognize that not all beliefs are self-limiting. I believe that the Cubs will continue to blow the few chances they get to win the World Series. I also believe that neither one of my kids will be President of the United States. Are these “facts”? Nope, they are simply my beliefs. They also play absolutely no part in whether I will help my organization meet our goals. “Self-limiting beliefs” are those beliefs that — well, they limit what we create, produce, contribute to, etc. They are the beliefs we hold that hold us back from reaching our fullest potential.  

First, we have to separate facts from beliefs so let’s review our limiting beliefs and restate as a fact.

1.     I am not an extrovert but there are many top salespeople who are introverts.

2.     Sales is a worthy profession that matches solutions to needs and provides great economic value for both parties.

3.     People like people who are genuine, trustworthy and helpful.

4.     I will never be as good as some person out there at any given moment but I can continue to be better and better.

5.     My company will never do everything perfectly, if they did, they wouldn’t need me.

Second, let’s determine what we need to do to move on past our “beliefs”.

1.     I will learn from other introverts who have excelled in sales.

2.     As long as I remain ethical, my sales practices will never be sleazy.

3.     I will continue to be seen as genuine, trustworthy and helpful. 

4.     I will always serve the needs of others.

5.     I will continue to add and build my skills, creativity and personality to the mix and help my customers.

To recap: Facts are facts and beliefs are beliefs. Your job, Mr. Phelps, is to make a list of the things that you believe are holding you back. Then go back and mark which are “facts” and which are “beliefs”. Next, restate your belief in terms of facts. Then create some steps to turn your opinion (belief) into a new reality!

What are your limiting beliefs and what are you going to do about them? If you don’t do anything, then your opinions over enough time will become facts. Friends, don’t let the little lies in your head hold you back from being who you were designed to be. 

Brad Roderick is executive vice president of InkCycle Inc. He is an industry veteran with more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience. He is an active member of the imaging industry as an author, trainer and speaker focusing in the areas of industry trends, strategy, sales and marketing, and environmental sustainability.

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