I started my career as an engineer and in those days it seemed to me like the salespeople had the easiest job in the company. They didn’t have to keep up with technology. They didn’t need to pass a test to become licensed. Whenever clients asked really tough questions, they brought the engineers in to answer them. It seemed all they did was talk to people, take them to lunch and occasionally play golf. What could be easier? Then they made me a salesman and it seemed like the toughest job in the world. Talking to people, which seemed easy from afar, was a struggle. No one wanted to talk to me when I got into sales. Solving problems was easy when I was an engineer. I discovered that asking the questions to uncover a significant problem that needed to be solved on a sales call was much more difficult. Prospects were guarded. Telling the sales department or the client how much it was going to cost to solve a problem was easy when I was an engineer. Discussing how much money the prospect had available to solve a problem on a sales call was much more difficult. It took me years to discover that my initial thought was correct – selling is easy. Not only that, it is fun. The elite sales people, the top 6%, do it effortlessly. So why was it so difficult for me in the beginning and for the vast majority of salespeople on an ongoing basis? The answer lies in our belief systems and other hidden weaknesses that we possess.
Your mother told you thousands of times not to talk to strangers, but your sales manager tells you to talk to 20 strangers per week. Is it any wonder that we have call reluctance or that we feel stress when prospecting? You learned at an early age that discussing someone else’s money situation in public was not polite. Is it a surprise that salespeople avoid discussing money with a prospect as long as possible? As humans we all need approval but the inexperienced salesperson feels internal pressure when she seeks it from prospects on sales calls. That pressure causes her to skip over the tougher questions she knows she should ask, so as to have a better chance of being liked by the prospect. What makes selling difficult is the erroneous self-limiting beliefs we have which make asking simple questions seem difficult. Hidden weaknesses cause us to avoid doing what we know we must do. So what is the secret to effortless high performance in sales? It is really no secret at all. You just have to identify the self-limiting beliefs that get in your way and eliminate them or change them. It is not easy but the emotional energy you put into changing the belief systems you have is repaid many times over with stress free effortless high performance in sales.
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Dan Caramanico is a salesforce development expert and he is the author of The Optimal Salesperson® One of Selling power’s top ten books for 2010 and Optimal Selling, Sales Conversations of the Optimal Salesperson.