I have a friend who has been in Sales and Sales Leadership positions his entire career, and he is fond of a really great saying that has captured my attention over the years. When I ask him how things are going, he invariably answers, “There’s nothing wrong with me that a big Purchase Order wouldn’t cure!” I laugh nearly every time he says it, and his relentless reliance on this motivational technique is impressive. I think he’s on to something here. He realizes that sales is a numbers game. You start by training yourself vigorously so that you can add value for customers as a trusted advisor. Because you have become very good at whatever industry you’re selling solutions in, you can rest assured that you can help your prospects and customers, given the opportunity. My friend Steve knows that the opportunity will come if he stays busy.
Winning breeds winning! This is one of my favorite quotes of all time, and it has been attributed to a guy who may have been the greatest coach of all time, John Wooden, who lead the UCLA Bruins to 8 NCAA College Basketball titles in 10 seasons. Wooden was an incredibly intelligent and thoughtful man. He thought about things differently than most of us do, for certain. He pondered things that many of us find uninteresting or straightforward, and he found them to be worth pondering. Consider a baseball player on a hitting streak. He gets a hit, which causes his body to produce testosterone and inhibit the production of cortisol. In effect, the batter has success which raises his confidence and changes his body chemistry. Therefore, the next time he comes up to the plate, he feels more likely to get another hit, and his body is producing chemicals that make it more likely that he will find the strength and ability to get a hit on his next at bat. In business and in sales, I believe the same is true. One win leads to an increase in confidence, immediately, and it also leads to a change for the better in the body chemistry. So the moral of the story? Believe in yourself and look forward to taking the risks that will lead to your next win, because it could kick off a chain reaction of more wins.
How we feel impacts how we perform. I’ve noticed that people respond poorly to negativity and criticism. I’ve also noticed that people almost always react favorably to encouragement and shared success. Given those observations, it seems to follow that positive feedback makes us feel more capable and more likely to continue to grow and succeed, doesn’t it? I truly believe that winning and anticipating the strong likelihood that we will win again is strong medicine. It makes us feel good and feel positive. It enhances our confidence to take risks and our expectation that we can win. The lesson in this for us as leaders is to recognize that negativity doesn’t help, and doesn’t set us up for success. Encouragement and challenge set us up for success. Realize that your role as a Sales Leader or an Executive is to coach the people around you as you hold them accountable. Appreciate and recognize the talents and strengths that your people bring to their work, and encourage them to leverage them on their way to their next victory, and help them to see that this could be the start of their next winning streak.
What do you think? Do you believe winning breeds more winning? Do you believe that how our leaders make us feel can set us up for more performance and more success? Let me know how you see this by sending us a comment, and we’ll provide you with five Business Leadership Best Practices Tools.