Having the right mindset is fundamental if you are going to succeed as an entrepreneur or business owner. It underpins everything you do. To take your company to the next level, you are undoubtedly going to have to surround yourself with great people. And great people don’t want to associate with anybody who has a bad mindset.
If you bring a poor mindset to your sales process, people will not want to buy from you. Similarly, if you bring a bad mindset home to your family, your workout, your faith, your spirituality, any of those things, the chances are you’re going to feel like garbage — and you’re going to have a bad mindset.
I look at this in a holistic way. You have to ask, what isn’t mindset? We are only minds, that’s where we exist.
The idea that you could compartmentalize and separate your working life from your time with family is, in a time when we all work from home, hard to support. Mindset is now, inevitably, business.
Ask yourself questions to learn how to come up with the right answers
One way to improve your mindset, and to ensure you are making progress as a business owner, is to pay attention to the journey you are on. That’s where the learnings happen.
I have launched many businesses and if you had asked me which was going to succeed, I would have said they all would. That didn’t happen.
But it’s important to ask yourself some important questions at times like that. Questions like…
· What actions did I take?
· What decision-making processes did I use?
· What did I take for granted?
· What else was going on in my life?
· Was the timing wrong?
· Was I lucky?
· Was I unlucky?
It was only this year, at the age of 44, that I got myself into a disciplined routine. I’m finally writing a journal every day, working out and trying to eat the right things.
The key is to recognize the feelings, experiences and intuitions that happen before the big error, so that next time you can stop yourself before you run into the wall. I don’t think it’s magic — it’s just experience.
You cannot build up sales expertise simply from reading a book
Experience is also key when you’re trying to develop as a salesperson. There are numerous formulaic sales playbooks, every one of which claims to contain the version that’s going to work for you.
My suspicion is that most successful people in this sphere learn from experience, and hearing the word ‘no’ enough times. Previous generations, when great entrepreneurs cut their teeth going door to door selling knives, encyclopedias, and vacuum cleaners, they literally got the door slammed in their faces. That’s the sort of experience you don’t get from reading a book.
People are not spending enough time talking to other humans and learning about psychology and things like buying triggers — all the elements that come together when you’re creating your own approach. I can’t tell you I use any particular version of these techniques; I’ve consumed a lot of those books and taken little snippets from each of them.
In the end, you have to believe you’re in this business because you can change somebody’s life. You need to find a way to talk convincingly about that.
Urgency is the worst quality you can bring to a sales call
That doesn’t mean you have a definitive script; the script is just a guide. If you work with a famous leading actor, they’re so good that people just give them the script and expect them to build on it.
You have to be aware of body language and non-verbal communication. And you need to know the most off-putting characteristic a salesperson can display is urgency.
If your prospect can sense that you really need them, you’re dead. You’re going to sell too hard. Whereas my favorite thing in the world is to get on a sales call with so many other leads lined up that I can legitimately look at your potential client with what I call “calm confidence”.
I can tell them I don’t care if they buy this product or not. It will make no difference to my life. But I think it will make a difference for them. If I can say that, and recommend that product with a clear conscience, it’s powerful.
Stay in the game even when your sales hit a cold streak
Every salesperson goes through cold streaks. It’s been long enough that I can’t say how many calls I was terrible on before I was decent. But even now, when we work with new clients and need to develop a brand new strategy and start from scratch, it can be frustrating.
You have moments when you think: “I thought I was good at this, but it’s been 45 days and I haven’t closed anything.”
But in my experience, for every business, things come in batches. It could be ice cold for a month or two and you start worrying what’s wrong with you, and then suddenly you get five closes in a week. I don’t know why it works like that, but I do know that sales is about staying in the game.
How businesses benefit from the Add1Zero approach
When it goes right, though… We worked with a very niche marketing service that was having problems with cash flow. They were having an inflow of commoditized vendors from other places and outsourcing different things that were cutting into their market. We helped them to reposition to focus on a higher ticket value — and they went from about $250,000 of annual revenue at their worst point to topping $3 million in about a year and a half.
It’s great that we added a zero. As you can tell by the name of the company, that’s the whole point. But more than that, I look at the founder, who was really suffering, laying people off and not enjoying the business.
Now, they don’t have to worry about cash flow. They can think about strategic things they actually wanted to do. The founder can go home and spend more time with his wife and kids and know he’s a successful entrepreneur and his company is making millions.
It’s great to be able to bring that gift of optionality when people are suffering. I’ve been the founder that couldn’t make payroll next Friday unless I borrowed money from my dad. That’s miserable, and I don’t want that for anybody else.
Niche down so you can find your perfect clients more easily
You should niche down until it hurts. At Add1Zero, we work only with B2B, tech-enabled services firms where the founder has grown it to about $500,000 in sales and doesn’t want to sit in the sales seat any more.
That means we don’t have hundreds of clients, but we have more than enough. Those are businesses where we can really focus and make a difference for them.
I’m not saying this because I think I’m so brilliant. I’m saying this because I did it wrong so many times that I can tell you that when you finally do niche down, you will find yourself talking directly to people who are instantly able to reach back out to you. That only took me 15 years of doing it wrong.