George Ludwig, a nationally known keynote speaker, has more than 25 years of sales, sales management, and sales training experience, including five years of presenting his sales success seminar all over the country. As sales trainer, coach, and corporate consultant, Ludwig trains over 10,000 people per year from various corporations and associations. Yet even Ludwig says, “Selling is scary. If you doubt it, you’ve never stood before a dour-faced prospect, stomach churning and palms sweating, images from recent rejections swirling in your mind like some tornado of self-loathing.” Of course, he’s not talking about himself; he’s talking about you. But in his new book, Power Selling: Seven Strategies for Cracking the Sales Code (Dearborn Trade Publishing, 2004, ISBN: 0-7931-8571-8, $19.95), Ludwig offers some tips to help “Supercharge Your Selling Skills” and overcome the fear that, he says, is all in your mind. Here are just a few of his “tricks of the trade.”
–Make sure you are selling from a sense of purpose. You must have passion for what you’re doing or you will not succeed. You can’t fake passion; there must be a connection between your sales career and a well-defined life purpose—and that purpose shouldn’t be “to make a lot of money.”
–If a belief is holding you back, displace it. Revisit that sweaty-palmed salesperson, and try to recall the basis of your fear. Crippling beliefs spawn negative results. Enabling beliefs foster positive results. Once you’ve met a goal, set a new one. Create an affirmation for it. Visualize a successful outcome each and every time you go into a sales meeting. Your new, positive beliefs will build up your psychological foundation and give you easier access to the supercharged selling state.
–Build a shield of optimism. Believe that somehow, sooner or later, things will work out and you will reach sales success, and that the adversity you face in selling, and in life, is merely a temporary setback with a hidden potential benefit. “To build your shield of optimism, you must constantly dispel cynical, pessimistic thoughts,” says Ludwig. “Steep yourself in positive influences. Attend seminars by reputable professionals. Read books or listen to tapes that teach positive thinking techniques. Connect with your spirituality and faith. Exercise regularly so you’ll feel good about yourself and just plain feel good. Finally, reach out for support from friends and family.”
–Master the ABCDs of resiliency. Things don’t always go the way we would like, and those are the times we have to stop negative thoughts and redirect them before they become a self-defeating pattern. Ludwig teaches a modified version of a resiliency model created by E.P. Seligman, Ph.D., former president of the American Psychological Association. Ludwig’s model follows an ABCD acronym:
A: Adversity. Identify any negative situation with which you deal.
B: Beliefs. The thoughts you have in reaction to a negative event (cold calling or rejection, for example) usually congeal into beliefs when that situation occurs regularly.
C: Catch yourself. The crux of becoming more optimistic is to catch yourself falling into a negative pattern of thoughts (beliefs) in reaction to an event, particularly with those that are habitual. After an adverse event, conduct a self-inventory of your response and your state.
D: Dispute and re-Direct. Once you discover that you’re running negative thoughts in your mind, you must dispute the evidence and/or redirect your thoughts by asking yourself better questions. In this way, you change your reaction from dejection and giving up to activity and success.
Ultimately, says Ludwig, your ability to enter the supercharged sales state depends entirely on the result of the decisions that you make every day. “Take control of your mind and you’ll take control of your career.”
Power Selling: Seven Strategies for Cracking the Sales Code is available at neighborhood and online booksellers or by calling (800) 245-2665.