It’s a new year. Retail sales are bogged down in returns and exchanges. Business-to-business sales should be hitting the ground running, but sales people often are “getting ready to get ready.” Last week, a salesperson mentioned January’s prospecting would have to wait until internal planning meetings were finished. Unfortunately, this salesperson isn’t very detail oriented, so November and December were spent compiling this projection information. “It’s too soon after the holiday season,” he said. “Everything is focused on internal issues.”
“You’re going to have a long year,” I thought.
If I had spoken with him in July, I suspect I would have heard, “Everyone’s on vacation this time of year. My sales always go down in the summer.”
These are examples of the predominant, underlying reason most sales and business development professionals fail to reach their full potential: Head Trash. That’s my term for self-limiting beliefs and notions bouncing around our heads we think are true, and that will become true due to our action or inaction. They become self-fulfilling prophecies.
See if you recognize yourself or anyone you know in this list of common Head Trash.
- “I’m too young to successfully call on company presidents.”
- “I can’t go out there and sell the new product line until I learn all of the specs in detail.”
- “I can’t compete in this market without a low price.”
- “It’s virtually impossibly to replace an incumbent.”
- “I can’t call on the real decision-maker because I’ll upset the purchasing people I’m ‘supposed’ to talk to.”
- “When a prospect asks for literature, I have to send it.”
- “I have to submit proposals to prospective clients…They can’t consider me for the work without a proposal.”
- “I could sell this product line, if only it were available in blue (or green, or large, or small, or faster, or more gigabytes, etc.).”
- “As an attorney (accountant, engineer, architect, etc.), I can’t go out and ‘sell’… It wouldn’t be ‘professional.’”
- “My quota is way too high.”
- “The other salespeople in my company already have the good accounts.”
- “I can’t ask prospects how much money they’re willing and able to spend.”
- “If a prospective client wants me to do it, I’ve got to do it.”
- “Small firms like mine always have a tough time competing with the ‘big boys.’”
- “I don’t have time to prospect for new business.”
Determining and overcoming our Head Trash can lead to dramatic, positive results, but it takes serious effort and commitment. You might start by making a list of all of the issues keeping you from doubling your sales volume and profitability. Ask yourself which of them are truly facts, and which are opinions. Eliminating and replacing those self-limiting beliefs will change your life.
Try this new belief system: Now is a great time of year to be selling. Other salespeople are trying to get ready to get ready after the holidays, so I’ll stand out. People are anxious to make changes at the beginning of the year, so they’re more responsive to me. This is going to be my best January ever. IBI