A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to clean out my garage and get rid of a lot of old stuff that I had been hanging on to. No, I am not a candidate for the show on hoarders, but I am guilty of not taking the opportunity to clean out years’ worth of junk I had just kept. As I was going through my boxes, I found all of my old sales training materials from the myriad different programs and courses that I have been through and taught. There was some really good stuff…and some not so good…but that is not the story today.
As I took a step back in time looking through all of the boxes, I realized that one thing I have never seen was content on the attitude of selling. In other words, what is the attitude of the best salespeople out there? And how does that contribute to their success? I am not saying it hasn’t been developed or taught somewhere, but I hadn’t seen it. So, I gave it thought (probably way more than I intended to), and I would like to offer six positive attitude characteristics of great salespeople and businesspeople.
- Avoid being judgmental. Great salespeople don’t prejudge a situation, a client, or a client’s or coworker’s intentions. I think the most successful people work hard to focus on the facts and separate them from judgments. Now, I am not naïve. I know that we all judge people and situations and try to make behavior changes based on that. It’s natural, and I am not suggesting we can stop what is human nature! I simply think that if we are more mindful of our predisposition to judge, we might be pleasantly surprised by what we learn when we base our judgment on the facts we learn during discovery and relationship building.
- Be patient. Can patience be taught? I have no idea, and I am not smart enough to know that one, but I do know we can be more mindful and aware of our impatience when it comes to selling and business situations. Customers and colleagues can smell impatience and tend to back away from making decisions. It makes people feel rushed and that there is some reason that they need to act NOW!
- Trust yourself. I know that when we trust ourselves that we are doing the right thing by our clients and coworkers, and that more good things happen as a result. You are making the pitch because you have the knowledge and skill to do so. Trust yourself that you are making the right offer or creating the best possible solution. That’s what your prospects are waiting for. If you give them a reason to doubt that, they will! You are the expert at what you do, and trusting yourself is a right you have earned.
- Be IN the moment. I have observed the best salespeople ever being very good at dealing with what they have to deal with in the moment. I know this may sound a bit squishy, but it’s true! Focusing on the clients and work at hand—and keeping your focus and energy there—will give you the best possible chance of a terrific outcome! If you are creating a proposal…or rewriting a business case or your resume…and you are thinking about the next things you have to do or where you need to be next week, losing that focus and presence will cost you in the long run. Clients notice it.
- Practice acceptance. Things happen, and our ability to control the outcome of so many situations is totally zero! Very often, outcomes and results are out of our control. We may not even have any idea why decisions went the way they did. Practicing acceptance will help us de-stress and focus on understanding the outcome and learning from it. Accepting takes the pressure off.
- Let it go! This one is perhaps the most challenging, and I admit I am not good at it either. In order for us to practice the above characteristics, I truly believe we have to learn to let go of things that distract us! Letting go is all about being very aware of the things we can and cannot control. Losing a sale or not getting approval for something is tough to accept at times. I know! We do have a choice, though. If you hang on to it and the related disappointment, everything else you have in front of you will suffer as you go through the mental gyrations of “why”? Letting go does not mean forgetting. It does mean putting the situation in its proper place and moving on. Learn from it and get better!
So, the question for you now is: Are you aware of and practicing these six positive attitude characteristics? I firmly believe that the successful businessperson will see these as ways to work through the daily challenges that we all face and can either let inhibit or push us forward!