In sales, the right mindset is crucial. It doesn’t matter how amazing your product is or how many leads you’re getting -- if you’re holding on to self-destructive beliefs, you’ll likely sabotage your deals.
But before you can overcome these negative beliefs, you need to identify them. Read on to learn eight common self-limiting beliefs.
1) “I’m not a natural salesperson.”
Do you believe that great salespeople are born, not made? We’ve got good and bad news. The good news: Selling is a skill, like running or public speaking. Some people might have an easier time picking up sales techniques than others, but anyone can do it with hard work and the right attitude.
The bad news: Now you don’t have any excuse not to become a top rep. Success is yours if you work for it.
2) “Asking for referrals will annoy my prospects.”
You’re 88% more likely to get a first meeting with someone if you’ve been introduced by a mutual connection.
Plus, referrals convert into clients at a higher rate than prospects you found through proactive outreach.
But even though getting referrals makes you far more likely to meet quota, many salespeople are reluctant to ask for them.
“They worry that they’ll come across as pushy, arrogant, or salesy,” explains Craig Elias, creator of Trigger Event Selling™.
Elias tells reps to shift their mindsets. Referrals benefit everyone involved.
“The sales rep gets a new client, the prospect gets introduced to a valuable resource, and the referral source gets to help out two people at once,” he says.
3) “I can’t challenge my prospects.”
It takes guts to push back on buyers, whether you’re digging into their reservations, showing them they’re missing the bigger picture, redirecting the conversation from price to value, or questioning something they’ve told you.
Insecure sales reps often decide to take the easy way out and say nothing. However, this response actually makes you less valuable to your prospects. If you’re simply going to reaffirm their existing thoughts and beliefs, then you’re not helping them in any way.
Your role is to teach them something new and take them out of their comfort zone.
4) “I don’t have enough time to do X.”
A lack of time is a common justification reps give for neglecting high-effort, high-reward activities like researching prospects before they reach out or attending training events.
But this defense doesn’t hold up. If you’re not allocating time toward something, it’s because you don’t truly see it as a priority. Make sure you’re always focusing on the right things by regularly assessing what’s moving you forward and what’s not.
For example, you might save a couple minutes every time you pick up the phone without looking at your prospect’s LinkedIn profile -- but ultimately you’ll waste time during the call asking them questions you could’ve answered yourself. Your lack of knowledge will discredit you (and may lead your prospect to ignore your next call).
5) “I’ll seem greedy if I ask for more during closing.”
No matter how many negotiations you’ve been a part of, asking for more is usually nerve-wracking. You don’t want to damage the relationship you’ve carefully built with your prospect -- nor do you want to make them walk away.
But remember, a good negotiation focuses on identifying the best possible agreement for all parties involved. You need to request concessions from the buyer if you want to arrive at a mutually beneficial arrangement.
6) “I’m a nuisance to buyers.”
Some reps hesitate to contact or follow up with prospects because they’re worried about being annoying.
That’s a valid fear if you’re sending mass emails, calling people without doing any research, or trying to sell before you’ve first provided value.
However, if you’ve embraced the “Always Be Helping” mantra, then you’ll never be a bother to buyers. First, you’re focusing on prospects with problems that you can solve -- so you’re guaranteed to be relevant to their lives. Second, you’re using your expertise to help them not only with this specific business pain, but with their entire business. Third, you’re tailoring your approach to their stage of the buyer’s journey and how their organization’s process works.
This thoughtful approach makes you the opposite of irritating.
7) “I’m not [smart, experienced, credible] enough to talk to C-level executives.”
Even the most experienced sales professionals can be vulnerable to this fear. Bill Caskey, author of Same Game, New Rules, co-host of the Advanced Selling Podcast, and founder of Caskey Achievement Strategies, says he still worries about “being smart enough to go toe-to-toe with the CEO at a big company.”
Overcoming this mental block is crucial for a couple reasons. First, “calling high” is still a best practice -- even if you end up working with someone lower in the organization.
Second, Caskey explains that directly reaching out to the decision maker allows reps to add more value.
“If you’re trying to have the biggest impact possible on this company, the way to do it is call the person who probably has the most pain: The person at the higher levels,” he says.
So, how does Caskey defeat this self-limiting belief? He tells himself that at their core, C-suite executives are just people. Approaching them requires a different strategy, but that doesn’t mean you should feel intimidated.
In fact, remember that you probably have greater expertise than they do. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be talking to you.
8) “I can’t say no to prospects.”
You should empower your prospects and prioritize their needs and agenda over your own. But that doesn’t mean you should be a bobblehead who automatically agrees to everything they ask for.
Use your hard-won knowledge to guide prospects in the right direction. If they ask for an outcome you know is impossible, be upfront and tell them so. If they request a discount during your first call, refocus the conversation on value. In other words, make sure that you’re not so eager to say yes that you sabotage your own interests.
Changing your mindset isn’t easy. But once you’ve gotten past these mental roadblocks, you’ll likely see a noticeable difference in your results.