Be a life-giver… not a life-sucker

When dealing with problems or adversity, salespeople generally fall into one of two categories—they’re
either ‘life suckers’ or ‘life givers’. Life suckers blame others
for their actions and results, whereas life givers take responsibility and ownership for
their actions and get results.  The top sales people are life givers. Those who are
always looking for solutions to challenges are salespeople with a life giving attitude. They
embrace the fact that their jobs—our jobs!—require that they act responsibility.
Rather than wasting time tracing blame, they move forward by creating solutions.

As responsible adults, nobody makes us think or do anything. We are responsible
for our actions as well as our thoughts, opinions, assumptions and conclusions. They belong
to us. We choose to think or act a certain way. Taking responsibility is a matter
of choice.

When someone says: the customer stressed me out; the prospect pressured
me; or my manager made me do this, what they are really saying is that others control
them. It’s as if they expect us to believe that some kind of "others" phantom
crept into their body, taking control of what they think and do. Life does not imitate a
Hollywood horror film. It’s up to each of us to choose how we feel and act.

As a side note – as a consultant I regularly am asked to evaluate talent on a
sales team. There are tell tale signs of failure to me. One critical sign is the answer
to this question:

Tell me about your last loss. What happened? A sales rep that makes excuses – "its
shipping’s fault we lost the deal" is doomed to fail. A sales rep that takes
ownership – "I should have qualified the lead better" is destined for
greatness. My accuracy at determining success or failure of a rep is 95% with this one

Sure, bad things can happen—and they happen even to the best salespeople. None of
us can choose or control every event that occurs in our lives—especially the ones that
affect our business. Have you ever lost a sale to a prospect that was acquired before you
had the contract signed? Have you ever had a sale to a government department wind up in limbo
because of an unexpected spending freeze imposed while you were in final negotiations? These
are examples of situations that as salespeople we can’t control—but we can always choose
our response to how to deal with them.

Consider the conduct expected of first-year cadets at military colleges across North America.
They are only allowed to respond to their instructors in one of three ways: "Yes Sir," "No
Sir," and "No excuses, Sir!" If a cadet fails to complete an assignment
(and the circumstances are deemed irrelevant), the cadet must assume responsibility by stating "No
excuses, Sir!" The purpose here is to create an ownership (life giving) attitude. It’s
that kind of self-discipline and ownership that will serve you well in your career.

How often have you neglected to follow-through on a commitment you made to yourself: making
a specific number of cold calls in a day; completing a tough assignment; hitting your targets;
or closing a sale with a specific customer? Does your personal life often reflect this habit?
For instance, do you ever start a diet, an exercise program or a hobby and never carry it
through? Has it ever reached the point that when you decide on a goal, your inner voice says: "Who
are you kidding? You’ll never follow through!" Those kinds of lies undermine
your confidence to address issues and to effect change. That’s why it’s important
for you to train and condition to believe yourself.

Here are four exercises you can try every day to make sure your attitude is an ownership

1.   Associate
only with life-givers

You have complete control over who you spend your time
with, so choose wisely. Being around positive people will improve your outlook and your attitude.
This is not easy and it does require cutting off access to people you know are life suckers.
Short term pain for long term gain – and profits!

2.   Look
good to feel good!

The following exercise is something learned from Anthony
Robbins, a master of human performance. Take note of your physiology when you’re feeling
your best—when everything is going your way and you’re in a terrific mood. How
do you walk? How loud is your voice? Do you gesture? Are you sitting or standing? Do you
talk quickly or slowly? Do you stand tall or slouch?

Once you’ve made your list, carry it with you. Memorize it. The next time you’re
in a slump and want to change your attitude, pull out your list and begin consciously acting
the way you do when you’re feeling great. It may feel unnatural at first, but soon
you’ll find yourself in a better mood. Remember, it’s easier to act your way
into a new sense of feeling, than it is to feel your way into new sense of acting!

Stop showing up to work looking your ½ best. Press your pants, put on a clean ironed
shirt and dress like you want to strut! Seems trivial I know but its true. The way you look
on the outside will reflect the way you feel on the inside. My mother-in-law likes to remind
me that there is no such thing as an ugly person, just a lazy one! Ouch… I think about
that too often when I am caught grocery shopping in a ball cap and sweats. (As they say,
the truth will set you free… but first it will really piss you off!)

3.   Laugh,
learn and take responsibility

When something bad happens, look for
the good in it and take full responsibility for the bad. Among salespeople, those who aren’t
afraid to admit when they’re wrong are the same who comprise the ranks of the top performers.
Customers don’t have time for mistakes and blame. Being honest or "coming clean" makes
you more trustworthy and earns you something that’s truly invaluable—a reputation
for integrity. So the next time you make a mistake, ask yourself what you can learn from
it. Then take that lesson and use it.

4.   Train
your mind for success by achieving a realizable goal every day

In life, people often get into a negative rut because
they feel they aren’t making progress. If that sounds familiar, then try setting a
small but achievable goal for yourself every day. Make a list. Write down each goal, and
when you’ve achieved each one, cross it off. Before too long you’ll have a pattern
of successful achievement that will help you develop a pattern of positive thinking.

5.   Keep
a success journal

Make note of your success and visit them regularly.
It’s important to remember how far you have come and celebrate those successes. Each
time you achieve a goal, recognize that accomplishment before you go on. Reward yourself.
When you are facing a tough time, pull out your success journal and get excited about all
the wins you have had. Remind yourself, if you were successful yesterday, you can be successful

Take ownership of your behavior and assumptions. Remember, no one made you come
up with your thoughts, opinions, assumptions and conclusions. And only you can steer things