(3 minute read)

Is it enough to have good product knowledge, the ability to hold a conversation and a fair bit of charisma to survive in sales? Or does attitude play a key role in your sales success?

While it makes sense that a positive attitude is more likely to bring you success in any pursuit, we need to consider how we can develop this positivity. Positive thinking is a learned self-discipline that needs to be practiced as often as possible and practical, eventually developing into a habit.

To understand the need for practice – before the habit is formed – imagine a piece of string held between two people. With little effort, it would be quite easy for those two people to break that one piece of string.

However, if you wind lots of string together, binding them one over another, it becomes more difficult to break. Now, imagine putting many, many pieces together so they form a piece of rope. How difficult is it to break rope? Habits develop in much the same way. We think/behave in one manner, then add similar thoughts/behaviours and before long, it becomes a thick rope, difficult to break, driving our responses and affecting performance.

So, what actions can you take to build a strong rope of positivity?

Here are some thoughts:

Remember, you always have a choice in what attitude you choose. Many choose negativity because it’s easier to blame and defend than accept responsibility – it simply becomes a default response for them. It requires a conscious effort to adopt a different/positive mindset toward situations and problems. While this may appear challenging at the beginning, as the string thickens, it can develop into your new default.

Invest your time in productive ways. Find a project and invest up to 30 minutes a day in learning about it. In one year, you will have invested 180 hours on the subject. That’s equivalent to 22 days of training. Think what kind of competencies you could develop by investing that kind of time in something worthwhile.

Surround yourself with positive people. Research indicates that we become a reflection of the 3-5 people we spend the most time with. Consider reading some iconic thought-pieces, including Napoleon Hill’s ‘Think and Grow Rich’ or works by Zig Ziglar, Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins or others that will fill your mind with success.

• Check-in on how you use language. Your words will have a profound effect on your attitude. Listen to yourself and your way of describing things. Do you discuss things as if the glass is half-full or half-empty?

• Consider things that affect your mood and take personal responsibility for how you look at things, rather than allowing others or situations to directly affect your mood.

You may tell yourself to think positively, but it requires action to make it happen. Positivity, without action, is wishful thinking. Don’t get caught in that trap. Take the necessary action and see the genuine results that will come your way.

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