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Think yourself successful

first_imgRelated posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Periods of economic pessimism require some motivating messages.  Here, Patrick Joiner shares his tips oncoaching teams – and yourselfIn sales as elsewhere in life, there are a few people who for no obviousreason are just more successful than the rest. In sport, you might think of England and Liverpool hero Michael Owen. Hisbasic soccer skills are not appreciably higher than those of many of theplayers on the international stage who are all capable of scoring. But mostcommentators agree that it is his attitude and self-belief that mark him out asa real one to watch. At a recent Institute of Sales and Marketing Management seminar, 150delegates were asked to identify the chief attributes that they would look forin a successful salesperson. While 80 per cent of the words used alluded to attitudes, only 20 per centreferred to skills. Overwhelmingly the words used to describe a successfulsalesperson were persistent, creative, imaginative and so on. Yet a glance at the content of most sales training programmes reveals anoverwhelming bias towards skills-based training. The ingredient that singles out the star performer, however, is attitude.Beliefs shape our attitudes, which in turn drive our behaviours, which thenconfirm and strengthen our beliefs. Successful behaviours By focusing on the behaviours of successful people and by replicating them,it is possible for any of us to break into the virtuous circle of belief,attitude and behaviour. To be successful in selling, as in any discipline, requires specific skillsand knowledge; these are the prerequisites. But individuals who wish to rise above the ordinary need to be taughttechniques and skills that will help them to develop success-oriented attitudesand beliefs which will in turn motivate them to adopt the behaviours thatgovern success. For any sales team to be successful, there are three crucial elements thathave to be in place. Firstly the strategy has to be right, secondly thesalespeople need to have the right skills, and finally they have to have theright attitude. There are numerous excellent training courses, books, workshops and seminarsthat cover the first two, but all too often the human ingredient is taken forgranted. Responsibility American business speaker, Larry Winget, speaking at an ISMM-promoted eventat Aston Villa Football Club, took this idea a stage further. While agreeing that attitude is important, he pointed out that it achievednothing in itself, attitude without action is pointless. He also stressed thatwe all need to be prepared to take responsibility for our own success. Winget recounted how at numerous workshops all over the world he has made arecord of all the factors that people blame for their lack of success. The mostcommon excuse, he has discovered, is geography. He has spoken in all American states as well as many other countries, andregardless of where he is, the main reason delegates cite for under-performanceis where they are. All of his audiences provide lengthy lists of factors that limit theirachievements – product, pricing, management, politics etc. “I take a long look at the list,” he says, “then I look atthe audience, and say I have a problem with your list… you ain’t on it!” Making it happen Winget argues that it is no good going through life looking for reasons whywe are not doing well, it’s up to us to make things happen for ourselves. He also maintains that there is no secret recipe for success, and that eachof us knows enough to be successful, or can very easily learn the things thatwe don’t know. The problem, he maintains, is never that we don’t know enough,it’s that we don’t do what we already know. This kind of message is often uncomfortable for us to hear. It’s easy whenwe can blame our lack of success on factors outside our control. The idea that when we don’t succeed we have only to look in the mirror tosee the cause of our failure is not a pleasant one to accept. At the same time, however, it’s also good news. The one thing in this worldover which we do have complete control, for which we have to assume fullresponsibility – and for which we can take full credit – is ourselves. Think yourself successfulOn 1 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. last_img read more