A winner’s attitude

What does it take to be successful in sales? Certainly effort, hard work, and dedication are important. An excellent understanding of the sales process is also essential. But success takes more than that. The most successful people I know have a slightly different outlook than their coworkers and associates.

I recently worked with a group of people who, collectively, had an extensive amount of sales experience. And, for the most part, they all boasted pretty successful careers. Of course they had frustrations, but they don’t complain about them. In fact, I didn’t hear a single complaint during the entire session. After more than a decade of conducting sales training workshops and programs, I can say that a complaint-free mentality is rare, even though such a winner’s attitude contributes to sales success.

A winner’s attitude is the ability to focus on your long- term goals even though your short-term results are not on track. Too many people take their eyes off their long-term goals when they experience a slow month or two, and focus instead on their lack of results. As a result, they get sidetracked and their sales continue to suffer. In the words of Earl Nightingale, “You become what you think about.”

A winner’s attitude means resisting the temptation to blame the economy, competition, or current market conditions when sales are soft. Winners focus on what they can control, unlike the average salesperson, who redirects the blame to take the heat off himself.

A winner’s attitude means exploring different options and approaches to selling. The best salespeople constantly hone their skills. They read books and articles. They listen to CDs or Podcasts. They take advantage of every training program they can, including webinars and tele-seminars. Winners know that business gets more competitive every day and they take action to improve their skills and incorporate new techniques.

A winner’s attitude means focusing on the value of your product or service. Unlike average salespeople, winners don’t focus on price. They know that most buyers and customers are more concerned with solving their problems and getting a complete solution rather than getting the cheapest or lowest price. While average salespeople are quick to offer a discount, winners concentrate on showing customers how their product is different than their competitors’.

A winner’s attitude is accepting that you won’t close every sale. Winners recognize that a series of ‘no’s’ brings them that much closer to a ‘yes’. Winners don’t beat themselves up when they lose a sale—providing, of course, that they did everything in their power to capture that business.

A winner’s attitude means learning from every sales interaction to improve your future results. A sales manager once told me that he evaluated every single sale when he first took on a new territory many years earlier. This brief analysis and self-critique helped him improve his performance and modify his approach so he didn’t repeat his mistakes. In a few short years, sales in his territory increased many times over.

A winner’s attitude is one of optimism and enthusiasm. The most successful people I know all have a great outlook. They know that every cloud has a silver lining, and when ‘stuff’ happens, they recover quickly. They look for ways to prevent ‘stuff’ from occurring because they learn from every situation. Winners don’t dwell on the past—they focus on the future because they realize that they can’t change what has already happened. However, they do know that they can influence what happens from that point forward.

Sales managers who possess a winner’s attitude work with their sales reps instead of chastising them for a lost sales opportunity. Winning sales managers coach their team, go on sales calls with their reps, and provide on-going training for their salespeople. They also go to bat for their team and support them in every way possible. Sales managers with a winner’s attitude celebrate individual and team results and they foster a strong sense of pride within the organization. Ultimately, they lead by example and create a team of winners.

What are you doing to develop a winner’s attitude?