How do you improve your sales teams performance? It starts with your team’s beliefs about salespeople and selling are impacting sales performance. It’s not about throwing the latest and greatest sales tool at your sales reps. Improve your sales perception to impact your sales results.

What would you say if I told you that your team’s beliefs about salespeople and selling are impacting sales performance? In a recent episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Unbound Growth Founder Carole Mahoney discusses how stereotypes and negative beliefs about the sales profession can impact performance, why it happens, and shares advice to help your sales reps overcome any ingrained stigmas.

Why is Carole someone you should listen to? Her company, Unbound Growth, uses a data-driven process to help salespeople surpass their quotas in less than six months. The scientific sales development firm also assists organizations with hiring the right salespeople and developing them by applying scientific knowledge of human interaction and perception.

How Perception Impacts Sales Results

It’s important to note that Carole was once a sales skeptic herself. She started her professional career in marketing because of a belief that salespeople were “icky.”

Upon building her own marketing agency, Carole’s perception of salespeople and selling began to change. She came to realize that companies still need salespeople, and marketing alone isn’t often the answer, especially with the complexities of B2B sales. Someone has to connect prospects’ problems to the solutions.

Carole’s previous judgments about sales stopped her from having sales conversations with prospects where she could ask questions, prompt realizations, and build trust – all things that a buyer wants. As her perception about sales evolved, she realized that good selling is about focusing on relationships and helping people. With that mindset transformation, her results began to improve.

Investing in More Tools or Methodologies Alone is NOT the Answer

Yes, tools can help you with your sales efforts, but without transforming your mindset and attitude towards selling, any new tools, techniques, or tactics are going to be unsuccessful. As Carole said, trying to solve sales problems with tools alone can be like “trying to Band-Aid something that needs stitches and deeper work.” If the attitude or approach is wrong, the best tools in the world will only improve performance minimally, if at all.

Shifting your mindset about what selling is (or should be) – helping people find solutions to their problems – can support the successful application of technology to your sales process.

People who have a poor impression of the sales profession demonstrate negative, stereotypical sales behaviors when attempting to sell: talking too fast, asking the wrong questions, pushing product over meeting customer needs. While sales engagement software can remedy some of these issues to a degree, new sales reps would be better served by examining and changing their beliefs about what makes someone a great salesperson.

Suggestions to Improve Sales Performance and Overcome Perception Issues

So how can salespeople check their mindsets and raise their awareness of any unconscious beliefs? Here are a few ideas from Carole that sales reps can use to see if they are experiencing cognitive dissonance–holding two contradictory beliefs that affect behavior and create discomfort. Follow these steps yourself and encourage your SDR team to do the same.

  1. Examine your skillsets, biases, and beliefs for insights into your perceptions of selling and stereotypes of salespeople.
  2. Identify “” Think beyond meeting a sales quota. What inspires you (or your salespeople) to go to work each day? To support or create a particular lifestyle, to travel more?
  3. Create tangible goals and an action plan to reach those goals.
  4. Use call recording to recognize areas where you need improvement and then partner with your manager or a colleague to practice anything that could have been done differently.
  5. Check your perceptions and awareness of how sales prospects in certain roles behave. Speak to others in your company who are in a similar position to that of your target decision maker. For example, if you’re a novice salesperson or a fresh-faced entrant into the world of work, you may not yet understand the beliefs and motivations of a targeted senior-level executive that you must sell to.

Work with your sales reps to help them recognize their beliefs about selling and their professional strengths. No doubt about it, perception impacts sales’ ability and results. Evaluating and changing a mindset or belief about selling is personal development work. It is important and can have a dramatic impact on your bottom line. Encourage all of your salespeople to put in the effort.

Have you witnessed the bad influence on performance when a sales rep has a negative personal opinion about sales? Let us know in the comments below what you did to assist your sales rep to breakthrough and progress as a salesperson.

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