Why Mindset Could Be The Reason your Sales Team Doesn’t Work

MT - Articles

You lost a sale.

Now what?

Do you shrug your shoulders and go about your day - business-as-usual? 

Do you move onto the next potential sale?

How about reflecting on opportunities to improve?

It all comes down to mindset.

Success in selling is dependent on innate communication skills and charisma - right?  We assume that if we don;t have “it”, we can;t learn it.  
However, academic research shows about what makes people successful has disproven that theory. Though some people do have heightened levels of natural ability, to become a top performing sales person, talent is not enough.  Because in an exceptionally crowded marketplace, you must continually improve your knowledge and skills. In other words, to be successful in sales today – you must sell beyond your natural ability.

Why has your sales training avoided the topic of mindset?

When I first starting working as a Sales Consultant, my learning and development consisted mainly on the products we offered and the premise of how to sell effectively using the product features. There was never a mention of mindset and the need to reflect on my performance and experiences to grow in sales, let alone any focus on the customer. 
Most organisations have advanced slightly, with a greater focus being placed on customer needs and picking up on triggers, however, there is still a lack of focus being placed on the importance of mindset and the need to continually learn and develop. 

How can mindset be utilised in sales training? 

Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, has conducted several studies on how one’s mindset influences one’s performance. 

She has found that people tend to embrace one of two common mindsets:

Fixed Mindset – believing you can do little to change your abilities.
Growth Mindset – believing that through effort you can improve your abilities.

If you embrace a growth mindset, you tend to believe that a person’s intelligence has the capacity to grow, and therefore view experiences, feedback, and challenges as learning opportunities on the path to mastery. If you have a growth mindset, you’re more likely to take risks, learn more, and develop resilience in the face of challenges or negative outcomes. In other words, your mindset is not defined by outcomes.

Those who have a fixed mindset take the opposite view, and therefore are often less willing to take on new challenges for fear of looking less-than-intelligent to the outside world. Because they see challenges and obstacles as things to be feared and avoided, they will steer clear of risks. Outcomes define how they see themselves, and it becomes challenging to learn from those experiences or develop the resilience necessary to move forward.

These mindsets heavily influence sales.

55% of the people making their living in sales don’t have the right skills to be successful. This statistic doesn’t refer to innate skills, more so the lack of ongoing sales training and coaching to foster the growth mindset within sales teams.  Without effective sales training and coaching, your team will continue to pitch the same way and shrug their shoulders when unsuccessful -  a fixed mindset. With the right sales training, your team would be able to be more confident, more resilient and reflect to learn from these experiences. 

So how can you foster a Growth Mindset?
Carol Dweck and her colleagues, Mary Murphy, Jennifer Chatman, and Laura Kray, offer some valuable lessons for sales leaders:

• Leadership support: Management must drive growth mindset within their organisations. 
• Culture: Build a sales organisation culture, in which a growth mindset is the way of thinking—that offers benefits for individuals and the organisation as a whole.
• Hiring: Recruit people who love big challenges, who want to grow, and who want to collaborate.
• Coaching: The language sales leaders adopt is crucial to developing a growth mindset. As a sales leader, praise effort not ability.
• Learning and development: Provide growth mindset sales training and encourage discussion groups. Growth mindset can be learned and developed. 

The mindsets change what people strive for and what they see as success. . . they change the definition, significance, and impact of failure. . . they change the deepest meaning of effort. 

“When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world — the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself. “ Carol Dweck

For your sales team to be successful, it is crucial that they continue to develop, to learn and to grow – to have a growth mindset. Offering training that helps improve performance can show sales people with a fixed mindset that improvement is possible and also foster a growth mindset within your sales team. It’s a win-win for everyone involved - sales people and employers.

Author: Natasha Ebejer

Mdina International