“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” ~~ Stephen Covey
I have yet to find any advice for top performance in any endeavour that says, “start with a lousy attitude”. What you believe influences how you feel, what you think and how you act. Act on thoughts enough, over and over, and bingo! You have a habit. Starting with the right, positive attitude, a sustainable consistent one, and it fuels performance (and happiness).
What do you believe about yourself? Are you passionate about what you do? Are you driven to find the best outcomes for your clients who have trusted you? Do you believe yourself to be competent? Would you buy from you?
What do you believe about your company and product? Is it a quality product backed up with great service at a competitive price? Do you offer the best outcomes for your prospects/clients? Would you by your company’s product?
What you believe about your prospects and clients? Do you see them above you? Beneath you? Do you believe your prospects/clients are trustworthy for the most part? Do you like them?
These first fundamental beliefs are critical to sales success. If you don’t believe in yourself as the best salesperson to look after your prospects/clients, if you don’t believe your company’s product and service will meet (and exceed) the client’s expectations, or if your attitude is one of mistrust, or scorn of your prospect/client universe, you cannot become a top sales performer. To clarify, by mistrust I’m not talking about a healthy dose of skepticism to ensure you are getting the whole story from the client/prospect. Sales pros make sure they asked lots of good questions to get the complete story and to gain commitment. I’m talking about out right dislike of your customers!
“If you think you can, or if you think you can’t, you’re right!” ~~ Henry Ford
Do you believe you can do it? Very often our attitudes are strongly influenced by memory tapes that play in our minds in response to situations we find ourselves in. Dr. Philip Zimbardo , famous for his work in the 1971 ‘Stanford Prison Study explains in this short (seven minute) Ted Talk how we sometimes frame our decisions (and our attitudes) in terms of time reference.
Be mindful of how your attitude is shaped by your time references, and memory tapes that play in your mind. How often have the worst fears you conjured up in your imagination ever come true?
Do you believe you have control over outcomes and take accountability and responsibility? Dr. Julian Rotter referred to this in his work at Ohio State University in the 1950’s as your internal locus of control, and external locus of control. If you have an internal locus of control, you believe that you have some control in most situations, and certainly control over your own feelings. You take responsibility and accountability for outcomes. If you have an external locus of control, you believe you lack control. You believe that most often when things don’t go well, it’s someone else’s fault or is controlled by ‘fate’. The order was lost because your manager wouldn’t let you lower price, or it was lost because your marketing material is to weak, or you are cursed~~, and you are helpless in these situations. One of the best books that I’ve read recently that addresses accountability and responsibility and references locus of control is Dr. John Izzo’s “Stepping Up". A recommended read. Internal locus of control is the foundation of great attitudes.
Let me give you my best advice for shaping a positive, consistent attitude
Surround yourself with people, and fill your mind with positive thoughts. Negative people will try to pull your attitude into their despair.No ‘Pity Parties’. As a host or as a guest!
Start your day in gratitude. Review all of those things that you feel deeply grateful for and remind yourself periodically throughout the day.
Be mindful that you telegraph your attitude. You do it with body language, tonality, and the words you choose. Make sure you’re telegraphing what you want to telegraph.It forms part of your personal brand and reputation!
Be mindful of your imagination. What does it help you visualize when you are faced with adversity or opportunity? A positive outcome? A negative outcome? Take Henry Ford’s and Dr. Zimbardo’s words to heart.
Be positive and optimistic, but ” confront the brutal reality." Google ‘Stockdale Paradox’ about optimism and resilience (a short YouTube video on the subject).
Positive attitude is created and flows more easily from a healthy, rested body.
Be mindful of the enormous cost of worry/stress, cost to your attitude and to your health.
Look up Dale Carnegie’s reference to his warning “expect ingratitude”.
Remember the proverb attributed to Confucius; “If you seek revenge, dig two graves). To me, this means a long and deep harbouring of feelings of anger, hurt and resentment. Hold it long enough and it becomes poisonous to your mind and spirit!Worse is a quest to get even.Give anger the attention and energy proportionate to the situation. and then let it go as quickly as you can. Always assume positive intent.
Be conscious of your best ‘attitudinal traits’ and telegraph them. People will notice, and for the most part people prefer to be around positive people.Enthusiasm is contagious.
A positive attitude is probably the most influential trait of the top sales professional. I have never met a top performer in any field with a negative, fatalistic attitude. There is a huge body of information available to help shape your attitude. In my estimation, attitude is everything. Practice your great attitude. Exercise it!
Next post, Thing Nine ~~~~~ ‘Finding Work/Life Balance’
This is the eighth in a series of 10 articles on the traits and habits of highly successful sales professionals. Please consider providing some feedback by leaving a comment. If you enjoyed this article and would like to read future articles, please consider following me on LinkedIn.