Today's Reading

Part 3: Achieving Lasting Sales Success

Chapter 8, "Sell with Integrity," provides fresh, scientific insights regarding the important topic of what it means to sell with integrity and the huge benefits of doing so. You'll learn to identify the difference between manipulation and influence, recognize when salespeople are most likely to engage in manipulative behaviors, and find out what each of us can do to protect ourselves, our clients, and others from unethical selling practices.

Chapter 9, "Take Your Sales Career to the Next Level," is a chapter you'll refer to again and again. In it, I'll demystify the process of improving your sales career by disclosing a powerful formula to create positive change and experience a whole new level of success. If you're ready to take a giant leap forward in your career, this chapter is for you.

Today, in sales and business, you need every advantage you can get. The current marketplace is so hypercompetitive that if you aren't actively working to improve and move forward, you will fall behind. You no longer have the luxury of coasting. So whether you are brand- new to the profession of sales or have a wealth of experience, the science-backed strategies shared in this book will provide you with an unprecedented opportunity to stay ahead of your competition and succeed. That's what science offers—a superior, evidence-backed approach that will enhance your work and your career. Let's begin our journey by looking at the two mindsets that determine how much sales you'll produce.


Preparing for Sales Success


How You Think Determines the Results You Produce

A hallmark of elite sales performers is they have mindsets that prime them for success. In other words, the way they think helps them get results. This shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, our mindsets are the filters through which we perceive, interpret, and respond to the world around us— and they determine our ability to thrive in different circumstances. Too often in sales—and in life—we focus only on behaviors and outcomes, and ignore what is driving them. Decades of research have demonstrated the enormous impact our thought process has on our performance.

Just how powerfully can our mindsets affect our actions? So much that merely thinking you slept poorly last night can make you perform worse the next day. That's what researchers Christina Draganich and Kristi Erdal discovered when they analyzed the impact of our beliefs on our actions. At the beginning of their experiment, they told participants that adults generally spend 20 to 25 percent of their time sleeping in deep REM, and that those who spend less than 20 percent in REM often underperform on cognitive tests. Armed with this frame of reference, the participants were then informed that their sleep would be tracked overnight. The following morning, they were told at random that they had either experienced low-quality sleep—with only 16.2 percent of their night spent in REM sleep—or high-quality sleep, with an impressive 28.7 percent of time spent in REM. When participants were given a test to assess cognitive skills most affected by sleep deprivation, those who'd been told they'd slept poorly performed significantly worse than those told they'd slept well—regardless of how any of them had actually snoozed. In other words, believing you slept badly has the same mental effect on your performance as actually having low- quality sleep.

This is why mindsets matter; they predispose you to act in predictable ways that will alter your performance for better or worse. I encounter that impact on performance every time I train salespeople. Often, simply by talking with participants prior to the training—and before I witness their skills or abilities in action— I can accurately predict who will become a top performer. Some mindsets set us up for achievement and enable us to exceed our potential and rise to the top. Others stifle growth and curb performance. The latter sabotage salespeople by causing them to behave in ways that drive down the likelihood of the sale.

Before we go into these mindsets and how to cultivate ones that will help you grow and prosper, it's crucial to remember the following: Your mindsets are yours, and you can change them. At any given time, you can choose to adopt one that will serve you better. Often, we subconsciously adopt the perspectives and attitudes of those around us, rather than actively deciding how we want to approach the world. Perhaps you've assumed a specific way of interacting with others modeled by your parents, teachers, bosses, or friends, or a bad experience prompted you to embrace a defensive or pessimistic approach to protect yourself. Regardless of how you developed your current mindset, science shows that you don't have to be stuck with it. Mindsets are learned, which means you can unshackle yourself from one that's harming you or holding you back and replace it with one that will help you move forward and realize your goals. In fact, you owe it to yourself to analyze your mindsets and discard any that aren't serving you.

How exactly can you do this? That's what we are going to discover next, as we look at two foundational mindsets that will determine your effectiveness and results.


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