Is sales a science or an art? When I ask any person that question, I find the most common answer being, “well, it’s really both” followed by, “it all depends.” My answer to the question would be that sales is an art supported by science. We benefit from technology to sell more efficiently; however, it is how we choose to use it (the art) that makes it work. At the core of all of this is our mind. Without the mind, there is little chance of being successful in sales.
In a world filled with thousands of apps, hacks, and a deluge of information about what we should put into our sales stack, it can be easy to forget that we were already born with the most powerful app: our mind. The mind is both a sales hack and a sales app. The challenge lies in the fact that just like many of the other apps we download, we fail to take full advantage of what it has to offer.
It’s time we power up our sales mind, but first let’s answer this question: what is a mind for sales? A mind for sales takes full advantage of every resource. Customers are not inanimate objects, they’re human beings just like us. They were created with a mind, too. Amazing! We and our customers have minds. The question is, how do we simultaneously use our mind and the customer’s mind?
Often, the customer’s mind overpowers our mind as the salesperson. The main reason why this happens is because we as the salesperson fail to uncover in a logical manner how we could help the customer. I define our job as salespeople like this: helping others see and achieve what they didn’t think was possible. That’s it! Nothing complex and in fact, it is quite basic, but just like with many other simple things in life, we can easily mess it up. I have repeatedly seen salespeople mix up the definition feeling like they’re the one responsible for achieving the impossible, all at the expense of the customer. Don’t get me wrong, I am all in favor of accomplishing what I didn’t think was possible; that’s one of the many reasons why I love sales. I just want to do it knowing the customer is achieving the same thing.
Having a mind for sales starts with being focused on what we do and how we help our customers. It is about creating as much “CFT” (customer facing time) as possible. It’s about leveraging every one of our activities to create both an immediate benefit and a long-term benefit. It embraces not allowing outside factors and negative voices to hold us back from reaching our fullest potential.
To help gear up our sales mind to get going, let me break this down even more for us. As a top performing salesperson, I know without a doubt who my best customers are. It is crystal clear in my mind. With that knowledge we develop an “ICP” (ideal customer profile) that keeps us focused on the best prospects.
I divide CFT into two types: one CFT measurement is with existing customers, and one CFT measurement is with new customers / prospects. If we fail to spend time with the latter, we set ourselves up for trouble. When we only focus on existing customers, we quickly develop a rain barrel mentality that makes us dependent on others. Instead, we want to have a rain maker mentality. This mindset can only be reached when our CFT time is aimed at new customers and prospects.
Having a mind for sales is about leveraging our time for both short and long-term gain. I’ve seen this one puzzle a lot of people; it is something we do subconsciously. Leveraging our time starts by assessing how much of our time is truly CFT. Let’s be honest. When we really start to dissect our day, it’s amazing how much of it is consumed by everything except customer-facing activities. My definition of CFT is simply the time spent actively engaged with a customer. This includes phone calls, in-person meetings, emails, demos, or anything else that involves the customer. Each of these have a short-term benefit. We turn them into long-term benefit when we take the questions we ask our customer today and use them with another customer next week. When we remember information our customers share with us about their industry and use it in the weeks to come with another customer, that is playing the long game.
Finally, it all comes down to our mindset and not allowing outside factors to impede. We can’t control what happens around us, but we can control how we respond to it. Sales is about influence and impact. Join me in celebrating our ability as salespeople to make a difference. Let’s recognize the many outcomes we have helped our customers achieve. Let’s stay focused on the positive, because that is what our customers and our own minds want to hear.