Your Success Mindset in Uncertain TimesArticle by Colleen Francis, January 11, 2021
The big mistake repeated far too often by sellers throughout the global pandemic—and in any period of abrupt change—is believing that if you wait long enough and keep on working the way you always have, things will eventually get back to normal.
That belief is a career killer now.
I’ll share with you what I recently talked about with listeners as a guest on a sales podcast: to thrive during uncertain times, your success mindset must change. That means saying goodbye to business as usual. It means taking on a new approach to your work, including tasks that—when done right—should feel uncomfortable.
Yes, change is scary…and necessary. And in my work with top sellers globally, I see three defining characteristics of a transformative success mindset that are made for these times.
1. Make adaptation your new default setting.
The marketplace has changed so fast that anyone who resists adapting is being shut out…and shut down. Adaptation is dynamic, not a thing you do just once. As covered in an earlier article, recognize that what works with one group of customers today won’t work for another. There are no universal best practices anymore.
Adaptation means measuring your efforts aggressively. That monthly study of your sales pipeline should now be weekly. To act fast, micromanage yourself and look carefully at your own data (and the data produced by your team, if you’re a leader of sellers).
There isn’t one generation that has a monopoly on adapting to change. That includes embracing digital selling. A recent Gartner study says a full third of your customers today want a seller-free buying experience, and that by 2025, “80% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels.” Digital is what your market wants now—adapt to that reality! Experiment in your network beyond your familiar players. Pull in new people, new ideas, and invite them to become part of the decision-making process to build a heightened sense of engagement.
2. Acceptance starts with you.
There’s a classic illustration often used in business slides. In the first panel, a speaker addressing his audience asks, “Who wants change?” Everyone raises their hand. In the second panel, the speaker then says, “And who wants to change?” All the hands go down. Don’t be that way! Be the seller ready to embrace and accept change.
Acceptance has two powerful dynamics. The first: change yourself. The second: change the way you relate to others. As a seller, you need more than just empathy for others now. Take time to listen and understand what people (not just your clients) are going through…and do so without judgement. Be nice and do right by others.
3. Practice resiliency.
Be capable of bending as you move ahead in this changed sales landscape. That’s the key to resiliency with the appropriate mindset for success. To get there, ensure you have a sales mentor. Someone you can bounce ideas off of. Have them show you case studies of those who’re successfully applying new ideas and approaches.
Also, stop generalizing from a specific negative event (a common affliction among salespeople). A failed deal, for example, is a specific event—not a pattern. Instead, generalize from a specific positive event. What worked well once will work well again when you apply equal tenacity as before. Lastly, when things sometimes don’t work out despite your best efforts, find ways to vent and move on. Needlessly brooding is wasted time. Your time is worth far more than that.
Apply these three keys to building an all-new success mindset for today. Doing so is instrumental in helping you deal skillfully with tough times—with less stress and a greater willingness to embrace change as a moment of great opportunity.