By now, any good sales professional knows that mindset is one of the essential ingredients for success. While certain tactics go outdated and some skills may diminish, your attitude, mindset, and drive will always guide you to growth opportunities. Why is mindset so important? I have at least one theory: You can’t succeed past your level of belief. Your beliefs are the source of your results. Business coach Tony Robbins put it well, “Success in life is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics.” So if there are cracks in your mindset, you can expect cracks in your performance. With the year still ahead, here are 10 mindset principles every salesperson must adopt in 2023.
1. Get Rid of Your Fear of Failing
People often say, “I can’t believe these are the only candidates running.” Perhaps there is a qualified and capable candidate out there, but they don’t have a mindset that influences them to overcome their fear of failing. I remember being fearful of starting a podcast. I didn’t have reliable equipment, didn’t have a studio, and struggled to work the camera. I felt like I was way over my head. But I knew I needed to put something out there if I ever wanted to start and make my dream a reality. Through my fearless mindset and abundant blessings, episode 1 turned into episode 2, eventually leading to a podcast with over 1,500 episodes and 3.5+ million downloads.
Some people have a mindset where they can only envision themselves achieving their goals. Others have a mindset where they can only envision potential failure along the way. Which do you think is more likely to succeed?
2. Unwavering Self-Discipline
One of my favorite definitions of self-discipline came from a former guest on my show, Kelly Roach. In her words, “Self-discipline means doing what you need to do when you don’t feel like doing it to get from where you are to where you want to be. Say yes to yourself and no to your excuses.”
I don’t know many salespeople excited about making 20 cold outreach calls daily. Or athletes who look forward to strenuous training every day of the season. But what separates average sellers from great sellers is self-discipline. Average sellers set limits and don’t push past them. Great sellers constantly seek to improve and commit to whatever it takes to become their best selves.
3. The Yet Principle
80% of your thoughts are negative. Yup, you read that right. The National Science Foundation found this to be the case among the average person’s 12,000 – 60,000 thoughts per day. We constantly fill our minds with negativity. How often have you found yourself saying things like, “nobody is going to answer my cold calls today,” or “prospecting sucks.” If this is your mindset going into prospecting, what will your demeanor be during those calls? You’re essentially throwing your confidence out the window.
All salespeople should have one word at the ready and keep it sacred. That word is yet. Add this word to the end of all your negative thoughts and insecurities. Avoid definitive phrases like, “I can’t prospect well.” Instead, what if you say, “I can’t prospect well…yet.” “I don’t look good in that suit…yet.” “I don’t know how to close a deal…yet.” This mindset principle will configure your mind to be more positive and capable.
4. Facts vs. Stories
In everything that happens, there is a fact and a story. A fact might be that you are new to sales. Stories are things that we tell ourselves based on that fact. For example, that new salesperson might say, “Because I am new to sales, it’s going to take me forever to start closing deals.” The story we tell ourselves can either cripple or catapult us in our attempts to reach our goals.
This mindset principle is important because your emotions are not based on facts but on the stories you tell yourself. You aren’t mad because of the fact you didn’t hit quota. You’re mad because of the story you told yourself—that you’re a terrible salesperson for not reaching your goal. You control your story. Avoid negative dramatization and develop a mindset where your story elevates you and does not demean you.
5. Focus On What You Can Control, Not What You Can’t
Salespeople have one of the most stressful jobs. We’re prospecting throughout the day; we’re overcoming objections; we’re in meetings; we’re trying to hit quota, etc. Of all the things that happen throughout the day, many things are out of our control. Think about it. You can make a cold call, but it’s not completely up to you whether or not the gatekeeper listens to you or if they even pick up, for that matter.
The key is to not stress over the aspects of work and life that we can’t control. Sten Morgan explained that we probably control about 10% of what happens every day. You must not allow the 90% you can’t control to define you. Focusing on the 90% distracts you from what you can control. Successful sellers focus on the 10%. No, you can’t control if the prospect picks up the phone. But yes, you can control if you commit to your goal of reaching 5 people each day. Crush the 10%, and you’ll always be one of the most effective people in the room.
6. Remove Your Safety Net
Nelson Mandela once said, “There is no passion for being found playing small — in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” Yet many of us settle for less and choose to play small. Growing up, I’ve often heard people counsel me to play it safe and to have something to fall back on. The simple truth is that you won’t ever reach your full potential if you’re not all in on something. Develop a mindset where failure isn’t even an option.
Nothing in life is worthwhile if it doesn’t involve risk. “The fastest way to success is through risk so high that achieving your goal becomes your only option, and failure would result in a total loss.” – Sten Morgan
7. Be Curious
Curiosity is one of the core characteristics I look for when adding people to my team. Why is it important?
When identifying the prospect’s problems, you must get to the root cause. People genuinely curious about finding the right problem don’t settle for surface-level answers. They ask further questions, aren’t afraid to dig deeper, and get more intel, which leads to a better closing probability. Adopt a mindset hungry for information and eager to find solutions to problems.
8. Never Stop Learning
Strive to be an expert–but link that to never assuming you’ve figured everything out. Make it a daily challenge to learn something new, try something new, and evolve in your profession. If you commit to continuous learning, you’ll eventually adapt to whatever your circumstances may be, and you’ll overcome them.
This may look like asking questions to more experienced sellers. Or learn more about your prospect and clients to build the relationship and identify more pain points. Or listening to credible sales podcasts and reading blogs.
9. Believe It Before You See It
Whatever your product or service may be, develop a mindset where you believe it is your moral obligation to get it to people. Have the belief and confidence that closing the deal is what will change your prospect’s life. Grow a conviction that your lead will not be as well off without the value your business provides.
Many people need to see success before they truly believe it can happen. Some salespeople feel they need to get through to a prospect at least once before they have confidence in cold-calling. Simply believing that you will find a promising lead during each prospecting session will strengthen your confidence, influence your words and tone, and shift your mindset—all things that make a difference in getting more clients and closing more deals.
10. Mindset Is Better Than Skillset
The root of your issues in sales is almost always based on your mindset. Your beliefs are the source of the results you produce.
Don’t get me wrong, skills are important, and you should always be looking to add to them. Both are essential, but I consider mindset the more important. If someone has the right attitude and mindset, they’ll eventually reach success because their internal motivation will get them there. They’ll seek courses, they’ll have the drive to study, and they’ll open up opportunities. I’ve been able to outperform people who have been selling for 20+ years longer than I have, not necessarily because I’m more skillful but because I have a mindset that pushes me to be the best I can be. That’s why mindset matters.