Eliminate Negative Self Talk from Your Sales Team

Negativity can be a real killer on any sales team. I’ve seen good salespeople and great sales teams erode rapidly because a single poisonous thought permeates the team. This crops up more commonly in today’s market, where volatility and constant change can often be the only things that are standard and can shake a sales team. As a sales leader, it’s imperative to have your employees talking positively about your products and services and their performance within your market, regardless of your competition, price or the economy.

In combating negativity in your sales process, it’s important to remember that the first sale is always to yourself. Even when your market is slow, you need to implement measures that will generate enthusiasm and positivity among your team members to ensure they stay upbeat and ramp up activity.

Hard work always pays off in these cases. I recently asked a top performer in the commercial fireplace and heater space about his approach when the economy was tough. His answer was simple: he’s stayed number one by powering through the economy and hustling the competition. Keeping your sales team motivated to do the same is essential when they might be down. Here are some ideas:

  1. Deliver value. If you can’t control the price or even the quality of your product, don’t let it discourage your team. Instead, ask what you can do to deliver additional value to the customer that will subsequently justify a higher price.
  2. Focus on yourself over the competition. You have no control over what your competition is doing, so stop worrying about it. Instead, make the experience of buying from your team more memorable.
  3. Follow the money. If you’re focusing on a portion of the market that’s simply not buying, brainstorm some ideas on ramping up activity or changing markets so that you’re avoiding that part of the market. There is always someone out there with money to spend.
  4. Stop complaining! On a day-to-day basis, there are a million reasons to complain, and if you’re taking advantage of those, you need to stop. Take a step back, reorient and ask yourself, “What can I do differently in these situations? How can I improve my sales performance? How can I change?” Take control of the situation instead of complaining about the issues over which you don’t have any.
  5. Mentor and coach the team. Make your team members feel valued by taking one-on-one time with them that’s devoted to improving their sales skills. This mentoring and coaching can also help you pick up on any negativity that’s permeating the team and identify its source.

Remember that a negative attitude can be toxic and contagious. It’s essential to keep your team positive despite conditions—whether they’re internal or external—because if the team is feeling down and negative, it will pass through to customers as well.