Partners in Performance Blog

The Selling Mindset: How One Man Changed My Sales Career Forever

Change your mindsetIn my last blog post, I told you the story of my early selling days when I struggled for six months to make a significant sale. I had plenty of sales contacts, but not enough results.

And with 100% commission, you know that’s not good! I guess I must have been at a turning point. I decided to pick up the phone and go right to the top of my best prospects. I called Al Kupcis, then CEO of Ontario Hydro.

I was put through right away and although initially rejected, I uncharacteristically persisted and got a meeting with him the very next morning. He ended up giving me a contact sheet for his senior executive team and his blessing to use his name when calling them.

What Happened?

When I left that meeting, I did some serious reflection. What had happened in there? How did I manage to create this result? This was a pivotal moment and I realized how much my selling mindset impacted my choices.

Here are some insights that anyone can learn from this story:

  1. Activity Focused vs. Results Focused Mindset: I realized I spent the first 6 months in activity mode. Not all activity produces results. I was actually spending that time keeping very busy but not focusing on producing results. I was fooling myself. With a results-focused mindset, I engaged in ‘High Pay-Off’ activity. Instead of meeting lower-level contacts, I needed to go right to the top.
  2. Risk Averse vs. Appropriate Risk: I had to get out of my comfort zone – calling Al Kupcis was a BIG risk. What if it didn’t work? It probably won’t work every time, but so what? It’s often worth the try.
  3. Limiting Assumptions vs. Empowering Assumptions: I realized I had all kinds of limiting assumptions holding me back from calling the president of a big company like Ontario Hydro. We were just a little-known boutique change management company – why would he give me the time of day? I learned that a better question to ask myself was “Why would he not?” Why not choose an empowering question as your default question until otherwise shown.
  4. Show Passion vs. Accept Rejection: I was willing to accept his reasonable reaction to my call, but only after I fully expressed my belief that what I had to say was worth his attention. I wasn’t obnoxious, but I was persistent. I showed confidence and I clearly valued my services. Something about my phone call impressed him enough to make an exception and see me anyway.

You can’t always know what triggers a positive response in people, especially busy executives who will refer you elsewhere. But you should know that the impression you leave on people counts – a lot. They will make exceptions when you demonstrate passion and value to them.

This was an appropriate risk that created a shift in my mindset. It was a start of my experience of a selling mindset that led to a very successful sales career. Some additional lessons learned:

Lesson #1: There is nothing like 100% commission to teach you about what works and what doesn’t in sales. After each meeting, phone call or marketing event, I would ask myself “Did I move the action forward or not?”

Lesson #2: Focus on what (or who) is ‘closest to the money’. I looked at everything I had in my funnel and there was a lot. But when I asked myself “What are the 3 or 4 companies that will give me the biggest bang,” Ontario Hydro was one that fit the bill.

Lesson #3: Sit belly to belly with the right people. I had already met many people at the manager and director levels and there was a lot of expressed interest. But I had not managed to translate interest into results. Perhaps all those interactions with these other people provided rehearsal and practice for meeting with the person at the top. I can’t say.

But think about how you spend your time “selling.” How much of it is practice and how much is the real thing? It’s not until you take yourself out of your comfort zone and go out on a limb that your selling mindset will carry you over and into the results you intend to create.

In my coaching and training programs, I call this ‘Intentional Selling’. You create the outcomes you want because you’re very clear about what you intend to get for results. Everything you do, every phone contact, every meeting, is embedded with that selling mindset.

For me, it all started with Al Kupcis, and he probably never knew how much he taught me by taking that meeting with me.

What about you? Are you clear about your intentions? Do you have the selling mindset you need to create the outcomes you want? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment.



This entry was posted by TanjaParsley on October 16, 2013 in Intentional Selling™, Success Mindset. Bookmark the permalink. Follow comments with the RSS feed for this post. Post a comment or leave a trackback.

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