I went for a run in the park yesterday and slowed to a walk at the end to cool down. As I was walking, I passed a young woman who said, "Are you here killing time too?"
I was puzzled by her question and asked what she meant to which she replied, "I'm in sales and this pandemic has shut down my business so I'm trying to find ways to spend my day." Then she went on to say, in very dramatic fashion, "I wish I could see the future and know when we will get back to normal so I can restart my professional life!"
I listened and then asked her what she was doing about her situation and she said she felt there was nothing she could do about it but to accept her fate. I firmly understand that the uncertainty of the world has created an immense sense of anxiety which creates inertia or a "wait and see" attitude.
I did not try to talk her out of it as she was not in the mood to hear my thoughts, however, it made me wonder how many others felt this degree of hopelessness. This is not the first time I have encounter this type of thinking. A recent survey I conducted painted the following picture: 20% of sales professionals are anxious about the state of their business and feel stuck. Since they are locked in fear, they do not see a clear action to take and so they spend time waiting for the pandemic to pass. Another 60% are anxious but trying to figure out what action to take and have the willingness to act once they figure it out. The last group of 20% are anxious and are taking committed steps to explore every avenue for closing business!
Each segment of the previous 3 groups is anxious, so what keeps one segment stuck and drives the other to take committed action? It is simply their belief system which supports action or inhibits it. The committed top 20% are not relying on a crystal ball to see the future and are taking action to create it. Abraham Lincoln is first credited with the saying, "If you want to see the future, create it," however, far too many lower performers are hamstrung by the negative beliefs of the past. Our brain is programmed to anticipate future events based on our past negative or positive experiences and we must fight the urge to believe unfounded negative thoughts. Here are some ways to open your thinking to the possibilities of the future:
1. Get comfortable being uncomfortable! This is the time to stretch your beliefs and realize that growth is on the opposite side of comfort.
2. Ask, "What if" and free yourself to dream about the possibilities the future brings. What if you could take an action that would drive incredible success!
3. Open your mind and develop new thinking that will drive personal growth. Develop new approaches to growing sales and explore the possibilities.
4. Analyze your life-script and eliminate all beliefs that are restrictive. Whenever you experience a negative belief ask, "What if the opposite belief were true?"
5. Set goals to develop your sense of being, not doing. This is a time to develop inner strength that will stretch your selling behavior.
6. Understand that the fastest way to get unstuck, is to act on a new behavior. Pick a selling behavior that you may have deemed problematic in the past (e.g. cold calling) and set a plan to conquer call reluctance.
When you look back at this period of your sales career from the future, will you be proud of the exemplary actions you took or sad that you missed an opportunity stand tall. There is a lot of business to be closed in this time frame and the brave sales warriors are finding it. Go conquer your worlds!
• Bill Bartlett owns Corporate Strategies, A Sandler Training Center. firstname.lastname@example.org Text "salestip" to 35893 to receive Bill's biweekly newsletter.