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How to Challenge Negative Beliefs

The organization with the ability to overcome the variety of mental models living in the minds of their workforce will be the organization that wins in the future.

Emphasis has to be placed on creating an environment in which the “can do–will do” mentality thrives and becomes the norm; success and achievement are expected, and as a consequence are much more likely to happen.

It is what Earl Nightingale called “fulfilled expectation.”

Expect Beliefs To Change

Throughout a person’s lifetime, beliefs change continually. Beliefs that they once thought to be immutable cease to be true.

Take the example of Roger Bannister, who in 1957 became the first athlete to break the four-minute barrier for running a mile. Bannister was a 25-year-old British medical student, and his time was 3:59.04, achieved at the Iffley Road track in Oxford, England, watched by just 3,000 spectators.

Prior to Bannister’s achievement, most athletes considered a sub-four-minute mile impossible. But that same year, sixteen other athletes also ran a mile in less than four minutes. Did they become superhuman overnight? Or, more simply, did their beliefs change?

Our Colleagues Can Exert Positive Pressure

Like those milers, salespeople have their own unique sets of beliefs, some of which limit their potential in sales. For instance, during a recession, the members of a sales force may all believe that strong sales are impossible. But if just one person increases their sales, what seemed an inevitable fact will suddenly appear more like a thin excuse for poor performance.

We Must Challenge Negative Beliefs

Sales captains who challenge negative beliefs with good questions can help create shifts in mindset. Take a look at these examples of negative beliefs and examples of questions that challenge them.

Statement: “Our solutions are too expensive.”
Response: “Compared with whom?”
“Compared to what?”
“How do you know?”

Statement: “I’m hopeless at cold calling”
Response: “According to whom?”
“What prevents you from being good at cold calling?”
“What would happen if you were good?”

Statement: “My sales target is too high this month, I’ll never achieve it”
Response: “What do you need to do so that you can?”

While challenging questions may not instantly create a belief change, over time, they can enable salespeople to shift their perceptions of their beliefs, recognizing that there are other possibilities and options available to them.

Developing Self Worth

Organizations that recognize the importance of helping their salespeople develop a strong sense of self-worth are many times more likely to produce high performers. Self-worth is vital to everyone but especially to salespeople who hear “no” more often than they hear “yes, I’ll buy”. A salesperson’s self-esteem can sometimes take a hammering, but organizations that find ways to build their salespeople’s self-esteem reap an invaluable dividend. Self–worth translates into attitude, that small thing that makes such a big difference.

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  1. JC
    April 29, 2010 at 5:03 PM

    it all boils down to leadership no matter what

  1. April 30, 2010 at 6:30 PM

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