Sales and Sales Management Blog

March 1, 2007

How is Your Selling Process?: Part 3 Changing Your Belief System

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 9:43 am

Your beliefs—both conscious and unconscious–rule your life—both what you do and what you fail to do. Your thoughts will dictate your ability to succeed or your destiny to fail. Once a belief has become rooted in your mind, it is very difficult to change it—but it can be done. What you believe can be changed because you have a brain and willpower. You can reason; you can analyze and think; you can determine to make the changes you must make to become successful, and your brain can be reprogrammed with new thoughts, goals, and beliefs. But, unfortunately, these changes won’t be overnight. It takes time and considerable effort.

What Needs to Be Changed?
Negative, self-defeating, and self-doubting beliefs must be changed if you want to be able to grow to your full potential. Going back to the over-achiever example, the over-achiever’s primary strength is his or her belief that they can, no matter the obstacle, reach their goal. Their belief isn’t illogical. They recognize their shortcomings, whatever those may be. They simply have determined that despite their shortcomings, they will find a way to correct or work around their shortcomings and accomplish their goals.

Look back at the list of questions from the last newsletter. Which of those questions did you find relevant to yourself? Is it that you don’t find your occupation honorable? Maybe you don’t have the confidence in your knowledge of what your are doing? Maybe you feel inferior because you have only been in your position a short period of time? Or, maybe you don’t believe you deserve to succeed? Maybe you have trained yourself to expect to fail? Worse, maybe you simply don’t have the desire and commitment to succeed.

If you are typical, you may find several of the questions ring a bell. All must be dealt with—and changed. And rooting out and eliminating self-defeating limiting beliefs is a lifetime task, as we all have them and they have a terrible habit of continually finding their way into our thinking. The limiting belief may change—or reoccur time after time, but there isn’t anyone who is immune from the fight.

The toughest to deal with are the desire for success and commitment to succeed.

Desire is the want—the burning passion to be successful. A desire so strong that it feels almost all consuming. But desire alone isn’t nearly enough. Desire must be combined with commitment to be effective. Many desire success but are unwilling to pay the price in time, energy and hard work. And sales is a particularly difficult profession if you lack commitment. We all face far more rejection than success. Without the commitment to overcome whatever comes your way, the rejection will quickly sap the desire right out of you.

Change to What?
So, you have to change your negative and self-limiting beliefs. But to what? Are starry-eyed “positive” thoughts and beliefs enough? If they are, mental institutions must be full of people with incredible sales potential.

Again, changing your internalized beliefs doesn’t mean that you don’t recognize your personal limitations, but it does mean that you don’t allow those limitations to rule your life. Once you have recognized a limitation, you find a solution to work around or eliminate the limitation. You find the training and mentoring needed to build your skills to deal with your limitations.

But your overarching belief system about what you are capable of doing, what you deserve, and what you value, want and aspire to is a much more difficult thing to change. Those beliefs are the ones that take real work to overcome. Those overarching, life affecting beliefs are the ones you must address in more unique ways. To recognize that you lack sufficient skill in a particular area is easy to deal with—you get the training and mentoring you need. To recognize that you have unconsciously believed you were incapable of performing a skill or incapable of performing above a certain level or simply do not deserve to succeed is more difficult to address.

Yet, these overarching beliefs are the beliefs that will more directly determine your level of success and personal satisfaction than the mere skills required to do your job. Turing your negative and self-doubting beliefs into confidence, determination and a belief that you are not only capable of succeeding but will find a way to succeed—along with the commitment to do so requires you to reprogram you brain.

How to Change Your Belief System:
Below you’ll find a number of resources that deal with various aspects of becoming mentally and emotionally prepared—to change how you view yourself and what you think and believe about yourself. These resources come from a variety of philosophical positions—some, such as Nepoleon Hill are of older vintage and come from a time when psychology and psychoanalysis was becoming in vogue, others are quite modern and evolve out of modern psychology and New Age theory. Some I think are right on, others I question. But since there are a variety of personalities and philosophies reading this, I’ve chosen to give a fairly broad spectrum of resources.

But one thing they all have in common—you must be proactive in changing yourself to reach your goals.

Here are some techniques that I have found to be effective:

Visualization:
The whole concept of limiting beliefs stems from a belief that we are or become what we believe about ourselves. That our brain controls our actions and abilities to the extent that it drives us to become exactly what we believe we are. From that we can take a further step to we become what we spend our time thinking about. If that is true, and since we are naturally capable of visualizing what we are thinking about, visualizing ourselves performing at the level and gaining the accompanying rewards seems to be an effective method of reprogramming our thinking process.

Positive Self-talk:
We all carry on a constant conversation with ourselves. Whether our conversation is about work, play, family, or any number of other subjects, we are constantly communicating with ourselves.

These conversations are, of course, often translated into visuals. We see ourselves telling our boss off or winning the downhill at the Olympics. Much of our self-talk tends to be negative. We beat ourselves up after a poor presentation; we kick ourselves after losing a sale because we failed to return a call; we are down on ourselves because we didn’t know the answer to a prospect’s question that we should have known; or we browbeat ourselves because we didn’t think of the perfect answer to an objection until we’re in our car driving back to the office.

Rather than being a positive analysis of our skills that allows us to grow and learn, for many of us this negative self-talk is the primary communication we have with ourselves about ourselves. Eventually, we are convinced that those negative thoughts accurately reflect who we are.

Changing our conversations from the negative to the positive can and will have the same effect—they will change our view of who we are.

Put it in Writing:
Putting your goals and beliefs in writing tends to make them more real. Reading them every morning and every evening—and thinking about them during the day—etches them on our brains. Simply a variation on self-talk, writing gives both verbal reinforcement as you hear the words as your read them and visual as you see your goals and beliefs on paper.

Confide in Someone:
Like putting your goals and beliefs on paper, confiding them in someone also tends to make them more real in your mind. They have ceased to be your secret and have become public knowledge. You’ve voiced them to someone who now knows what you are aiming for—and will know whether or not you reach your goal. You have committed yourself more fully to your proposed change since it is no longer yours alone.

Resources:
Of course, there are other, more sophisticated methods, as you’ll find in the resources below. The above is simply a short list of methods that certainly seem to work–over time.

Changing your belief system is the major task you will probably face in moving from the realm of the average or slightly above average to superstar producer. This short newsletter is simply a broad overview of the sales process and isn’t intended to address any of the subjects fully. So, I encourage you to take a look at these (they are in no particular order):

Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill

How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie

The Inner Game of Selling, Ron Willingham

The Quest for Authentic Power: Getting Past Manipulation, Control, and Self Limiting Beliefs, G. Ross Lawford

The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Jack Canfield and Janet Switzer

Goals!: How to Get Everything You Want Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible, Brian Tracy

Making the Impossible Possible: Think It! Act It! Become It!, Jason Borcyke

Life’s Missing Instruction Manual: The Guidebook You Should Have Been Given at Birth, Joe Vitale

The Power of an Hour: Business and Life Mastery in One Hour a Week, Dave Lakhani

Copyright 2007, Paul McCord

Reproduction with full and proper attribution and notification only. Please notify pmccord@mccordandassociates.com when reproducing in any form.

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