What does it take to be successful in sales? Certainly effort, hard work and dedication is important. An excellent understanding of the sales process is also essential. But it’s more than that. The most successful people I know have a slightly different outlook than their coworkers and associates.

I recently worked with a group of people who, collectively, had an extensive amount of sales experience. And, for the most part, they all boasted a pretty successful career. Even though they expressed some frustration that they didn’t close as many sales as they would like to, or that prospects didn’t always return their calls, they didn’t bitch, moan, whine or complain about it. In fact, I didn’t hear a single complaint during the entire session. After more than a decade of conducting sales training workshops and programs, I can say that this mentality is rare.

It was evident that this group of people possessed a winner’s attitude. And I believe that this attitude contributed to their success. So, just what is a winner’s attitude?

A winner’s attitude is the ability to focus on your long-term goals even though your short-term results are not on track. This is more difficult than it seems. Too many people take their eyes off their long-term goal when they experience a slow month or two and end up focusing on their lack of results. As a result, they get sidetracked and their sales continue to suffer. In the words of Earl Nightingale, “You become what you think about.”

A winner’s attitude means resisting the temptation to blame the economy, competition, or current market conditions when sales are soft. Winners focus on what they can control unlike the average sales person who redirects the blame to take the heat off himself.

A winner’s attitude means exploring different options and approaches to selling. The best sales people constantly hone their skills. They read books and articles. They listen to CDs or Podcasts. They take advantage of every training program they can including webinars and tele-seminars. Winners know that business gets more competitive every day and they take action to improve their knowledge and skill. They work at incorporating new techniques into their existing style.

A winner’s attitude means focusing on showing the value of your product or service. Unlike average sales people, winners don’t focus on price. They know that most buyers and customers are more concerned with solving their problems and getting a complete solution rather than getting the cheapest or lowest price. While average sales people are quick to offer a discount, winners concentrate on showing customers how their product is different than their competitors.

A winner’s attitude is accepting the fact that you won’t close every sale. Winners recognize that a series of ‘no’s’ brings them that much closer to a ‘yes’. Winners may not enjoy losing a sale to a competitor but they’re not going to beat themselves up when it happens, providing, of course, they can say that they did everything in their power to capture that business.

A winner’s attitude means learning from every sales interaction to improve your future results. Winners take every opportunity to learn. A sales manager once told me that he evaluated every single sale when he first took on a new territory many years earlier. This brief analysis and self-critique helped him improve his performance so he didn’t repeat his mistakes. Plus, in each subsequent sales call, he modified his approach slightly, and in a few short years, sales in his territory increased many times over.

A winner’s attitude is one of optimism and enthusiasm. The most successful people I know all have a great outlook. They know that every cloud has a silver lining, and when ‘stuff’ happens, they recover quickly. They look for ways to prevent ‘stuff’ from occurring because they learn from every situation (see above point). Winners don’t dwell on the past—they focus on the future because they realize that they can’t change what has already happened. However, they do know that they CAN influence what happens from that point forward.
Sales managers who possess a winner’s attitude work with their sales reps instead of chastising them for a lost sales opportunity. Winning sales managers coach their team, go on sales calls with their reps, and provide on-going training for their sales people. They also go to bat for their team and support help in every way possible. Sales managers with a winner’s attitude celebrate individual and team results and they foster a strong sense of pride within the organization. Ultimately, they lead by example and create a team of winners.

What are you doing to develop a winner’s attitude?

© 2008 Kelley Robertson, All rights reserved.

Author's Bio: 

Kelley Robertson, author of The Secrets of Power Selling helps sales professionals and businesses pinpoint what they need to do differently to improve their sales. Receive a FREE copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” by subscribing to his free newsletter available at www.kelleyrobertson.com. Kelley conducts workshops and speaks regularly at sales meetings and conferences. For information on his programs contact him at 905-633-7750 or Kelley@RobertsonTrainingGroup.com.