In The Upside of Stress, Dr. Kelly McGonigal showcases research on the power of mindset to affect outcomes. Those with a negative mindset toward stress experience much different results than those with a positive mindset toward stress. It turns out that mindset towards stress affects happiness, effectiveness, and even personal longevity.
What we think about things matters. When it comes to stress, surprising research shows that it's not stress that is killing people, it’s the “combination of stress and belief that stress is harmful.” In essence, stress can be good or bad depending on what you believe about stress.
What if we took this same line of thought about mindset and applied it to growing revenue? What if what we believe about marketing and sales affects our results.
What if what we believe about marketing and sales affects our results?
How does mindset affect revenue growth? Here are some thoughts.
The news about the business landscape was grim in 1993 when I graduated from business school. Nobody was hiring. Many of my peers were discouraged about the economy. Over the past three decades I have lived through 9/11, 2008, and now, the pandemic.
Watch the news and you will find many people tell you how the economy is terrible and things are about the fall apart. What they should be saying is that the economy is dynamic. Things are always changing. Shifts in the economy create opportunity. As entrepreneurs, sales professionals, and marketing leaders we can adopt the mindset that the ever-shifting economy is a threat. Or, we can choose to see the shifts as gateways to new opportunities.
With most of my sales and marketing career in the tech world, I’ve had the privilege of experiencing wave after wave of digital transformation. You would think that people in the tech world would welcome innovation. Yet, what I discovered many sales people that were pessimistic about change.
Rather than embrace the continual progress of technology some viewed changing technology as a continual threat. The mindset they embraced was that new technology made things more complicated. It extended sales cycles. It made things harder. Sales managers made this worse by having a mindset that “This is too much for my reps.” This group struggled.
Other sales professionals embraced new technology. They saw advancements in tech as an opportunity to grow. They had the mindset that change is good. These people thrived on change. Their mindset has allowed them to grow, creating new opportunities and making more money than ever.
It amazes me how much salespeople sabotage their success with self-fulfilling mindsets. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to prospecting.
Some reps have adopted the belief that prospecting doesn’t work. My podcast co-host for Selling From the Heart, Larry Levine, is famous for saying, “Salespeople have hypnotized themselves into believing that what they aren’t doing doesn’t work.” These reps (and their leaders) also tend to believe that new ways to prospect are a waste of time. Things like social networks are a distraction. This puts this group in between a rock and hard place. They see old methods of prospecting as less effective than ever and believe that anything other than the phone or cold calling is a waste of time.
There are other reps that have adopted the mindset that while hard work, prospecting is easier than ever. Unlike the old days of smiling, praying, and dialing from a literal phone book, we now have the ability to identify ideal prospects, learn about them, and discover who they might know in our network. In addition to picking up the phone or walking into an office, we have the opportunity to communicate by email, video message, text message, LinkedIn inbox, customized cards, and more. We can get on a prospect’s radar through social interactions. We can even build out a personal brand that helps bolster trust.
The rep that adopts the mindset that prospecting is harder than ever will experience the dismal results of their self-fulfilling prophecy. The rep that sees the new ways to prospect can combine that mindset with hard work and create amazing results.
Thinking back to 1993 when I graduated from business school with a marketing degree makes me chuckle. Everything I had learned about marketing tactics would change that year as the internet became mainstream. In my early days of sales, the companies I worked with met with purchased advertising in the Yellow Pages, local newspapers, and sometimes television. They may have done some direct mail drops. That was it.
Fast forward and marketing has exploded. Some business owners and executives have the mindset that marketing is more complicated and more cluttered than ever. Why bother? Let’s just stick our heads in the sand on marketing and double-down on sales. This group that used to spend tens of thousands of dollars a year on just the Yellow Pages has now all but abandoned their marketing budget. It’s just too complicated.
Others have the mindset that there are more ways than ever to get the message out. The evolving world of digital media continues to present ways to change minds. New platforms present new opportunities to communicate. While there are some complexities involved, the benefit of the multitude of audiences is seen as a net win.
I could go on talking about mindset around sales technologies, CRM usage, and training. The point is that mindset matters. This is especially true for leaders.
So many of the mindsets that hold us back are wrapped in seemingly good reasoning. We justify our closed minds with our years of experience and bias towards being prudent. While there are benefits to experience, what if you changed the way you thought about your experience. You have seen shifts in the economy and technology create opportunity. You have recognized that while hard work will always be required, there are new ways to prospect and create opportunities.
So, here is my questions for you:
Originally Published on Darrell Amy's LinkedIn.