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What is a Mindset: The Foundation of a Successful Career in Sales

growth mindset maverick mindset sales success Feb 01, 2023

What is a Mindset: The Foundation of a Successful Career in Sales

What Is a Mindset?

You can find multiple definitions of a mindset – here are some of my favourites:

  • A mental attitude or inclination
  • A fixed mental attitude formed by experience, education, prejudice, etc
  • An established set of beliefs, ideas, and attitudes
  • The way people see their intelligence, abilities, and personal qualities
  • A habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations

Some synonyms of Mindset can help you further clarify what it is in your mind:

  • Attitudes
  • View
  • Perspective
  • Position

A mindset is like a fingerprint, completely unique to the individual. Think of your mindset like your programming – the lens you see the world with. Your mindset determines your thoughts, languages, behaviours, and emotions. Your mindset is your reality.   

Let’s discuss some examples in sales, business, and parenting:

Sales Example:

Imagine you are getting ready to do cold call prospecting – what are you thinking about? How are you imagining it going? Are you setting yourself up for failure or success in your mind?

Your mindset will determine your tone, language, and level of persistence. So, think about a successful cold call and imagine yourself in that situation – are you pleasant to speak with? Are you calm? Are you interested in the prospect and their needs? Are you listening for cues and hints? Are you listening at all?

Once you have the visualization of a successful call and insight into your mindset, try your best to replicate that for EVERY call. If you have a call that goes sideways, learn from it, take a breath, and move on. Trust your mindset and the success it will bring you. The right mindset will allow you to think more clearly and make the best of each call. It takes a lot of self-discipline to persist after bad AND good calls – you will be tempted to listen to the self-talk that is conspiring against you. The ‘that’s enough for today, you have other things to do’ or, ‘let’s grab a snack and finish later’ type of talk. For me, this is the toughest part. As a business owner, I have so many items on my ‘to-do list’. But I need to remind myself that cold calling is necessary to keep sales in the pipeline – if I go too long without cold calling, the pipeline is at risk of drying up and the business is at risk of running low on cash flow. Trust me, it is hard, and I struggle with it on a daily. But, it is important and I am aware and make a conscious effort to continue to cold call – even if I win 2 out of 5 days a week, it is better than 0. And as I continue to improve and develop my mindset, the easier it will be to have the self-discipline to do the tough tasks that most shy away from. Which gives you a competitive advantage.

Business Example:

Imagine you are leading a project and about to start the kickoff brainstorming meeting. You have already decided on a direction prior to this meeting and want everyone to agree on it during the meeting. Do you think this is a mindset that will achieve success? If you go into the meeting with this mindset, you are headed for issues. But, if you change your mindset and engage in the meeting with openness and encourage creativity, it will create an energy in the room that will produce something spectacular. Trust me, I was this guy right out of university. But luckily, I was in an intrapreneurship role with my brother creating and developing a luxury outdoor heating brand for one of our dad's companies. But as the brand grew, the interaction with more people within the company grew, and I look back now and see how I was very persistent and stubborn – silencing other ideas in the process. As time went on, and I educated myself through various means, I became more self-aware. With self-awareness and the self-discipline to continuously improve, you can change your mindset into what it needs to be to achieve your desired reality.

Parenting Example:

Imagine you have three kids and it’s the middle of bedtime AND its bath night! The kids are acting crazy, you have a million things to do, and you are beyond tired. It is easy and very common to mentally check out to survive the chaos. But what if you changed your mindset and took a breath and thought about how much you will miss the chaos when it's gone? Would you become more engaged with the kids? Maybe make the best of the situation and have some fun with them knowing it will be a short 3-5 years before they are kicking you out of their room for privacy! It can be tough to win this battle every night, but a few nights a week is better than none. I know I need to keep my phone away when the kids are around but if I get caught up in emails or social media because my phone is in my pocket, I am missing precious moments I will want back. A trick I use is to ask myself “what will you remember – precious moments with your kids or the emails you answered instead?”. Once I tell myself that, I put the phone away – but it’s not always, always. It’s a battle because life is busy and responsiveness is extremely important for success in sales. Winning enough battles to win the war is the minimum.

I hope this gives you a better understanding of what a mindset is and how it can be used to bring you success in sales, business, and life. We are barely scratching the surface right now. Next, let's dig into the most researched and popular types of mindsets – growth mindset versus fixed mindset and abundance mindset versus scarcity mindset.

The most popular mindsets discussed in recent years are a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset and an abundance mindset versus a scarcity mindset. Unfortunately, the two negative mindsets, fixed and scarcity, in my opinion, are more prevalent in today’s world than positive mindsets, growth and abundance. With so many distractions in the world today, it is extremely difficult to maintain a positive mindset. But self-awareness will help you realize when your mindset is shifting out of one of positivity and into a negativity mindset. The world is hooked on fear – it sells more clicks and views. People would rather see others fail than succeed – would Elon Musk’s electric truck reveal have gone viral if the windows didn’t smash? Doubt it. It is the world we live in, whether we like it or not. So, we have a choice – let it consume us, or build a mindset that can counteract the negativity and keep us focused on becoming the best versions of ourselves.

Types of Mindsets

Fixed Mindset versus Growth Mindset

Fixed Mindset:

A Fixed Mindset is exactly how it sounds – the belief that you are born a certain way and cannot change. Your talents, intelligence, character, physique, and skills are set in stone and no matter what you do, they will not change. This can lead one to feel helpless and fearful because they believe they cannot improve and what happens to them is not in their control. It can lead to the fear of failure and projecting your faults onto others. A fixed mindset is the foundation of a victim mentality – a dark abyss of negativity. Adopt this mindset if you want to repel success and live a forgettable life.

Growth Mindset:

Now let's look at a growth mindset. It is the belief that anything about yourself can be developed and improved with consistent effort over time. With a growth mindset, a setback or challenge is an opportunity to learn, not give up. This encourages persistence, perseverance, and mental toughness. It builds character and can make you feel unstoppable. With a growth mindset, you are more likely to be a lifelong learner and consistently seek out information that can help you through certain situations and challenges.

A great example in the business world that highlights a fixed mindset would be the classic “we have always done it this way” or “it’s not my job”. Whereas a company with employees that have a growth mindset would be quicker to adopt new technology, try new marketing techniques, enter new markets, innovate, and disrupt their industry! Which company would you want to work for? Which company will develop your skills?  And company owners wonder why they have so much turnover – investigate the mindsets of your people!

Abundance Mindset versus Scarcity Mindset

Scarcity Mindset:

A scarcity mindset could be described as having the belief that all things are limited – opportunities, riches (not just money), talents, resources, etc. It is a mindset that could result from having a fixed mindset. You live in a fearful state and avoid risks – playing the game of life on defence. An overall pessimistic thought process.    

Example - Someone with a scarcity mindset does not value their time – they will spend hours clipping coupons, spend the night in line for a black Friday deal, or sit in traffic instead of taking a much quicker toll road. They do this because of the underlying fear of loss of income and/or lack of belief in the achievement of a better life.

Abundance Mindset:

An abundance mindset is when you believe in ample opportunity and means to achieve your desires and goals. Any problem has a solution if you remain positive and persistent. Because the view of the world is limitless, collaboration and shared use of resources are effortless. An overall optimistic thought process.  

 Example – Someone with an abundance mindset would be confident in their ability to weather any storm and find a way to allow continuous forward progress. They usually are perceived as being lucky because everything seems to always go their way. Money does not cross your mind for everyday living expenses because you know you will always make it work.

How Is a Growth Mindset & Abundance Mindset Helpful in Sales?

When you have a growth mindset, you are open to new opportunities, learning new skills and evolving daily. You are curious about how others have become successful in ways you haven’t. You are curious if something can be done better. When you have a growth mindset, challenges are opportunities, and failures are lessons to be learned from. A growth mindset should be the foundation of your overall mindset, especially in sales. Sales consist of problem-solving and learning about customer needs. Having a growth mindset helps you come across your prospect as more genuine and natural. This will build trust with your prospect and break down the walls holding them back from telling you the real story. If your prospect can FEEL you are interested in them and their problems, they will at minimum, share their problems and listen to your proposed solution(s). When you have an abundance mindset, you are not afraid to think BIG! You will find more opportunities and usually, this results in increased sales. With an abundance mindset, you find a way instead of finding an excuse as to why you can’t sell. Sales roles are tough enough – learn and develop a growth and abundance mindset and you will increase your overall performance and quality of life.

What is The Sales Maverick Mindset?

The Sales Maverick Mindset opens doors and gives you the confidence to achieve what you believe. The Maverick Mindset is one of growth, positivity, curiosity, and self-awareness. The commonly discussed ‘growth and abundance mindset’ is only the tip of the iceberg. The Maverick Mindset takes it to a whole other level and is built on three pillars – thoughts, language, and habits.   

More to come on the Sales Maverick Mindset!


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