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Several years before the pandemic, I was a salesman for a small NYC marketing firm. Our main client was a cosmetics brand, and our campaign consisted of each salesperson canvasing a given territory. Our territories would be whole towns and shopping centers, and our goal was to individually speak to 300 people a day about our makeup products.
Everyone thought I was crazy for ever taking such a job. In the rain, snow or the blistering summer sun, I was to walk up to every stranger I saw and pitch them. As challenging as this may sound, I managed to get promoted twice, have a team of three direct reports and would consistently rank in the top five of 30 marketers when it came to sales volume generated.
However, after about a year of this, I plateaued in performance. I often felt burnt out as I ran into mental blocks I couldn’t immediately overcome. Soon my sales performance would drop as a result. In a position that demanded that I maintain a positive attitude, I realized that I was not ready to take things to the next level, so I resigned.
I came out of that experience as a changed man, but I also knew that my work had only begun. As I introspected, I realized that I had many limiting beliefs and external stressors that contributed to my attitude and how I came across in my social interactions. In particular, my mindset around money and how to acquire it was generally skewed and shaky.
At the time, I usually lived in a place of scarcity, as I believed that people and money were things to chase after and hustle for. As a result, the way I spoke to people and generally carried myself directly reflected these beliefs. I would always wonder why I would have to do twice the work to get the same results top performers would get. It wasn’t until I got my next sales position that I got the mindset shift I needed to skyrocket my sales volume.
When you change how you look at things, the things you look at change
As a sales professional, you must know that your clients and customers only buy from service providers they know, like, and trust. They need to be sold on you as an individual or brand before they ever buy your products.
It is also common knowledge that our attitudes are contagious in the presence of other humans. In our brains, we have mirror neurons that pick up different emotions that others experience, leading us to mirror and share these same emotions in an unconscious empathetic response. That said, it is of the utmost importance as sales professionals and entrepreneurs to be mindful of how we carry ourselves and take inventory of the many factors contributing to how we show up for others.
From my later experiences as a meditation teacher and life coach, I’ve found that sales professionals typically act from one of three levels of consciousness:
Inactivity is the mindset where you’re overwhelmed with negative emotions and insecurity to the point where you don’t take action. I was in this state of mind towards the end of my canvassing job. I burnt out so severely that most of my interactions with others became awkward, forced and robotic. I’d get little to nothing done as no one trusted me, not even myself.
Hyperactivity is the mindset that I’ve found most sales professionals live from. We adopt a hustler mentality from this energy space, chasing after people and money purely for our personal gratification. We see others as a means to an end; each prospect and lead we have is simply a number we must get through to see if they will pay us.
From a place of hyperactivity, our interactions come off as impersonal and disingenuous, as our selfish desires prevent us from truly connecting with our prospecting clients. We may also come off as manipulative and shady, for we tend to do whatever it takes to make a sale.
Hyperactivity was the mindset I was in at the height of my canvassing job. I was only ever playing a numbers game with people and never looked to connect with them genuinely. As a result, I would often have to speak to twice as many people to get the same results as those who moved with more integrity.
When a salesperson acts from a place of integrity, they realize that there is an exchange of value when a sale happens. For that exchange of value to take place, the salesperson must take their focus off of their individual needs and place it on the needs of their client. In effectively understanding our clients and prospects, being a salesman becomes more about providing excellent service and aligning their needs with our offerings. Because our clients now feel seen, heard and understood, they are much more likely to give us their money than a hyperactive hustler.
To live and do business from a place of integrity, we must take inventory of what’s causing us to show up without it. We often carry limiting beliefs about people and money stemming from childhood, past bad experiences and our current financial situations.
Perhaps it’s time to find a good mentor if you live in hyperactivity or inactivity. It’s from mentorship that I broke free from my limiting thought patterns, for my mentors helped me become aware of my blind spots. In becoming more self-aware, I would naturally find higher principles to live and do business by.
May we find our lives to be much more prosperous in understanding that doing business means being of service to the human nature of others.