12 Mindful selling attributes of top performing sales professionals
Mindful Selling isn’t a new age buzzword riding high on the back of mindfulness.
Selling has changed more in the last ten years than it has in the past five decades.
Advances in technology, competition, buying decisions, highly discerning and savvy purchasers present today’s sales person with a formidable challenge.
Mindful selling is the route to high performance selling
Embracing these 12 attributes is the key to success in this decade:
In the world of high-performance selling, despite the myriad of changes we’ve seen, there is one thing that hasn’t and will never change; the need for a winner’s image. I’m not talking about how you dress, how polished your shoes are and how neat your hair is (although all of that does count too!).
I’m referring to the way you see yourself.
Having the mindset of a winner in the knowledge that you have the determination, positivity and willingness to do whatever it takes to succeed.
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck suggests that there are two types of mindset:
A fixed mindset
‘Our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way’.
A growth mindset
‘Thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.’
Top sales performers have a growth mindset — a ‘winner’s image’.
To develop your growth mindset:
– Follow the research on neuroplasticity.
– Look for opportunities to step out of your comfort zone, set new goals, take more risks.
– Provide regular time and space for reflection.
– Focus on the experience and learning rather than simply the result.
– Create a sense of purpose for yourself and your work.
– “Don’t wish it was easier wish you were better” — Jim Rohn
– Read the book, ‘Mindset — Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential’
Mindful selling requires passion.
Self-belief is critical to top performing sellers but on its own its not enough. They need the desire and enthusiasm to energise and motivate themselves every day.
In his article ‘How to Really Love Selling’ in Inc.com, Geoffrey James, writes, ‘Selling is simply passion with a purpose.’
If you find your passion for sales waning, you can be certain this will be reflected in your performance. Do whatever it takes to rekindle your passion:
– Book yourself on a motivational seminar, conference or speech.
– Surround yourself with passionate people.
– Review your goals and give yourself a personal reward when you achieve it.
– Talk to your sales manager and ask for some coaching, mentoring or help.
– Listen to inspirational TED Talks or immerse yourself in some great reading material.
– Take a break, meditate and reflect on what it will take for you to feel that spark again.
I’m not sure that I believe the idiom ‘Curiosity killed the cat’; personally, I choose to believe that it set the cat free.
Mindful selling as we’ve already noted, is about having a ‘growth mindset’. Top performing sellers have an insatiable appetite to learn, explore and experiment.
They have a thirst for knowledge and strive to be the best in their field.
Status quo is the arch enemy of mindful selling.
In his article in Psychology Today, ‘Seven Ways to Be More Curious’, Assistant Professor of Education Policy and Psychology, Jonathan Wai, says, ‘Be an expert who is interested in everything’; that’s mindful selling.
– Make time for curiosity — introduce yourself to new types of books, magazines, topics and people.
– Be willing to be wrong.
– Surround yourself with curious people
– Make time to be present, practice mindfulness.
– Keep an idea journal.
– Question everything.
– Let go of the past.
I realise it goes without saying that without integrity sales people don’t stand any chance of success.
Integrity is the core of mindful selling.
It’s not something you separate personally and professionally. Integrity is a value you have and live by in everything you do. It’s a highly attractive quality in the eyes of a buyer and they can sense it a mile away.
In his article in Psychology Today, ‘7 Signs of People With Integrity,’ clinical psychologist, Seth Meyers, says, ‘The root of integrity is about doing the right thing even when it’s not acknowledged by others, or convenient for you.’
– Do what you say you will do when you say you will do it.
– Treat your customer with the same attention, care and loyalty as you would your own mother.
– Don’t make empty promises or bend the truth.
– Speak and act with humility and authenticity.
– Respect the time of others.
– Develop your communication skills.
5. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is by far one of the most sought after and valuable attributes of any professional today.
Selling is no exception.
The ability to be aware of, express and manage your own emotions as well as others empathetically, is an invaluable trait of mindful selling.
There are 5 categories of emotional intelligence:
Self-awareness — top sales performers know and understand how they come across to other people.
Self-regulation — the very best sales professionals know how to tune into their own emotions and adapt more readily to different situations.
Motivation — top sales performers know how to motivate themselves. They are more productive, look for more opportunities and are more optimistic.
Empathy — “If people like you, they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you” Zig Ziglar..
Social skills — top sales performers build rapport easily, connect more effectively with others and build stronger relationships.
Here are a few good ideas on how to develop your emotional intelligence.
It’s hard to be highly successful in selling without having a strong sense of urgency.
Whilst a high level of awareness and focus is essential in mindful selling, so too is the ability to respond and move swiftly. I’m not talking about being a pushy sales person and rushing people into action; I’m referring to a personal sense of speed.
Top performing sales people are driven by action and really don’t like the idea of wasting time.
If they see an opportunity, they seize it, if something is wrong, they fix it, if the status quo is inhibitive they challenge it.
Is speed is stopping you from becoming a top performing sales person? If it is:
– Stop waiting for things to be just right, do what you can with what you have and know right now.
– Wake up every morning with an action mindset — if it’s important, do it.
– Get energised — raise your game by increasing your personal energy. Eat well, sleep well and move well.
– ‘Eat that frog’ — Find the one task you hate doing every day that you procrastinate over and do that first.
Here are a few more helpful suggestions on how to develop your sense of urgency.
You don’t have to have a team of people reporting to you to be a leader.
Mindful selling is about leadership.
Top performing sale people take control and they lead the way for themselves and their customers. They are assertive and make it their business to make things happen.
‘Leadership and selling are both forms of influence’, top performing sales people understand this concept and take a leadership role in everything they do.
Buyers want to deal with sales people who are prepared, focused and know how to get things done.
If a buyer can see the leader in you, their respect for you increases exponentially.
Leaders see things differently and buyers like that.
A sales person who is perceived as a leader will receive far more support from others in their own organisation.
Take the time to develop your leadership skills:
– Read Stephen R. Covey’s, ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’.
– Identify/understand your strengths and use them.
– Identify/understand your challenges and deal with them.
– Set clear goals and act on them.
– Practice self-leadership.
– Ask for feedback.
– Read my book, ‘Hamster to harmony’ — Get Off the Wheel and Live Your Best Life!
– Ask yourself 3 very important questions:
a) Where am I heading in my life; physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually?
b) What do I really, really want?
c) Is what I’m doing every day helping or hindering me from being the person I want to be?
It would be remiss of me to not mention the all-important attribute of mindfulness in an article on mindful selling.
I like this simple definition of mindfulness on the website mindful.org:
‘Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us ‘
Mindful selling requires sales people to be fully present and aware.
When you are with your clients, they need to feel that you are fully present and that they have your full attention at every moment.
– Take 5 minutes each day to sit quietly and do nothing else but focusing on your breath. Don’t try to change anything just notice your breath.
– Stop multi-tasking, it doesn’t work. Focus on one thing at a time instead.
– When you’re in the shower, be in the shower, when you’re eating just eat.
– Stop waiting to speak and practice truly listening.
– Take a walk outside and check in with nature for a few moments.
– Consider also reading Eckhart Tolle’s, ‘The Power of Now.’
Rejection, frustration and having to operate in a constantly changing commercial environment is common to most sales professionals.
Top performing sales people have the capacity to get back up when they feel knocked down.
They depersonalise rejection and adapt more quickly. It’s not easy but it’s within their gift and they know that well.
“The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela
– Remind yourself of the difference you can make, the value of your product, service and just how good you really are.
– Visualise success, remember how good things have been in the past and picture yourself getting back their soon.
– Challenge the negative self-talk and reframe the way you talk to yourself.
– Identify your limiting beliefs and then challenge and reframe them.
– Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support when you need it.
– Work on your mental, emotional and physical fitness.
If rejection specifically is something you struggle with, this brilliant TedTalk has the answer:
Creativity isn’t often a characteristic associated with sales which historically has been associated with process, techniques and targets.
Mindful selling is about challenging the status quo.
Top performing sales people avoid standard sales templates and obvious product demos. They work hard to personalise their approach through knowing as much as they can about their buyer, industry and markets.
Successful sales professionals provide creative insights into what they are seeing and how they believe their customers can keep one step ahead.
They create meaningful conversations rather than sales pitches.
Top sales performers don’t sit around waiting for creativity to come to them, they:
– Look for sources of inspiration, music, books, the internet, speeches.
– Challenge themselves to approach a problem or opportunity with new ways of thinking.
– Schedule time for creative thinking.
– Day dream and imagine possibilities without immediately shutting them down; even the crazy ones.
– They avoid using words like ‘yes but’.
– They try on the ‘Six Thinking Hats’:
We live in a world today where it’s often frowned about to consider success in the context of money.
The old saying ‘money can’t buy happiness’, is something most of us can relate to because we understand it to be true.
Mindful selling doesn’t use money as a measure of success. It does, however, recognise that top performing sales people are not only very comfortable talking about money, they like making plenty of it too.
Many are self-motivated to earn as much as they can through their passion of selling.
Money aside, I believe that in Richard St. John’s TED Talk, ‘8 Secrets of Success’, he sums up how many top performing sales people are also likely to measure success:
– Passion: they love what they do.
– Work: they know that nothing worthwhile comes easily and so they love to work hard.
– Good: they like to be the best in their field so love the idea of getting good at what they do.
– Focus: they know how to focus on one thing at a time.
– Push: they love to push themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. They work hard to push themselves through self-doubt.
– Serve: they love to feel that they are making a difference.
– Ideas: they love coming up with ideas to solve problems and seize opportunities.
– Persistence: they know that it’s the key to success and are driven by it.
Watch Richard’s talk here:
For decades the world of sales has been two dimensional. Focusing largely on equipping sales professionals with product knowledge and sales skills.
Prospecting, pipelines, negotiating, overcoming objections and closing are just a few of the sales skill’s organisations have invested heavily in.
That makes sense and of course is necessary, helpful and valuable; although the world has changed.
In addition to the many challenges sales people face today, mindful selling has inspired and equipped professionals to make the transition to 4-dimensional selling.
The two new dimensions are mindset which is the first attribute presented in this article and the final one is impact.
Top performing sales people understand that everything they do has an impact on:
– Their direct customers.
– The organisations they are selling to.
– Their indirect customers; everyone who ultimately uses their product or service.
One of Richard St. John’s 8 secrets to success is focus and today’s top performing sales professionals don’t focus on selling.
They focus on making an impact; in other words, making a difference.
Those of you who have followed Mindful Presenter’s journey will be aware of our fundamental and passionate belief that ‘Connecting is Everything’.
We apply exactly the same belief to Mindful Selling 4D too. We train sales people to connect themselves, their organisations and their products and services with their customers.
If you’re a sales professional we urge you to adopt these 12 attributes if you aren’t yet at the top of your field and want to be.
For sales managers, please do everything you can to help your sales team aspire to and adopt these attributes.
If you need help selling mindfully:
– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.
– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.
– Get yourself some excellent presentation training