Mindset vs Sales Skills: Which will achieve better Sales Growth?

Sales Mindset versus sales skills

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Did you know that mindset is responsible for 80 per cent of an individual’s success in sales? That means no matter how many training courses someone goes on to develop their negotiation tactics or improve their cold calling skills, if mindset isn’t covered, then success and sales growth will always be limited.

So what are the main hidden weaknesses which have the capability to impinge on a sales person’s success?

Money weakness

What is it about talking money that can make the most confident, outgoing person suddenly start mumbling and tripping over their words? For a sales rep it is one of the most important things to discuss, but often the most difficult, and for someone who has a hidden money weakness, it can make closing a sale extremely hard. 

Of the 1 per cent top performing sales reps, 98 per cent are comfortable talking about money. And of the bottom 5 per cent of achievers, only 2 per cent are comfortable discussing money.

At its most basic form, a sale is about money, and if there is no qualifying of finances at the beginning of a sales process, and an inability to put forward a price of the service or product, then time is wasted and closed sales will be limited.

It also affects the belief that a potential client or customer has in the product or service a sales rep is offering – if they are unable to talk money comfortably, then how can they instil confidence in others that what they are selling is really worth its cost?

Difficulty recovering from rejection

This one is probably one of the most highly recognisable weaknesses that many salespeople have and it is about avoiding questions or statements which have a risk of the respondent saying “no”.

This seems fair enough, who does like being told ‘no’? However in sales there is plenty of rejection and it is probably even built into your sales process – for every 10 potential clients spoken to, only 1 will convert. But the key is understanding the distinction between fear of rejection and difficulty recovering from rejection. Dave Kurlan explains;

“I measure the latter because that is a more significant indicator of performance. The first one is “what if they say ‘no’ to me?” The second is “crap, they said ‘no’, now what?” When the “now what” part is strong (think disbelief, anger and despair) it indicates that it might take some time before the salesperson is back to being effective.”

Non-supportive buy cycle

According to research by Kurlan and the Objective Management Group, the non-supportive buy cycle is the most powerful, and second most common hidden weakness in salespeople. With a 50 per cent impact on a salesperson’s ability to close a sale, it also significantly effects sales velocity.

If a sales rep has a particular way that they purchase products or services – they shop around, don’t make decisions quickly, are wary of sales pitches and will stall buying something when unsure – then it is very likely that they will be more accepting of a potential client using those same excuses and objections on them.

This is where many salespeople will lose an opportunity because of their inability to challenge, overcome put-offs and lead their prospect through the sales process.

Self-limiting beliefs

It is human nature to be fearful, and there are plenty of things to fear when it comes to selling; “it’s hard to get a sale”, “people don’t like sales reps”, “I can’t do anything about someone not seeing the value in my product”.

More often than not these fears are actually just misconceptions, however if a sales person considers them to be valid then it is that belief, turning into fear and self-limiting thoughts, which can affect outcomes before a sales rep has even left their office.

Need for approval

It’s not hard to understand how this can have a massive impact on whether a sales person is successful or not.  If a rep has a high need for approval, how will they ever ask challenging questions or push back when encountering a put-off? The answer is they won’t, because their need to be liked is stronger than their desire to close a sale.

Research shows that need for approval has a 33 per cent effect on a sales representative’s success.  Just like having a money weakness, if a sales rep isn’t able to be confident when discussing ‘uncomfortable’ things with a prospect (for fear of not being liked) then achieving success will be difficult.

Controlling emotions

Being fearful is human nature, and so is the ability to control emotions in various situations. But if a sales rep is unable to block out negative feelings when prospecting and speaking with potential customers, they might miss out on crucial information that can affect the next critical steps in the selling process. Also, when salespeople become emotional, they will most likely cease to see things objectively, will be drawn to react in an emotional way and won’t present themselves as confidently as they do when they are in control.

Take these examples when emotions get in the way of a sale, from Dave Kurlan;

  • It happens when things don’t go the way they expected and they get frustrated or angry.
  • It happens when things don’t move as quickly as they hoped and they become impatient or anxious.
  • It happens when a prospect surprises them with an objection and they panic.

It happens when they go into a slump and get scared. It really is rather worrying to think that someone’s state of mind is accountable for more than three-quarters of their ability to sell – but the good thing is, there are elements of mindset that can be developed, it is just about understanding where vulnerabilities occur and how to overcome them.

(NB. It is worth noting that sales development programs which incorporate mindset training produce significantly better results).

If you’re looking to increase your sales, your sales team should start embracing a consultative selling strategy. Download our FREE eBook: Stop Selling, Start Consulting. 


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