(Podcast) Exploring the Mindset of High Performing B2B Sales Professionals

July 8, 2019

On this episode of The B2B Sales Show, Dave Currie, CEO, and Jeff Haley, Director of Sales, at Winmo discusses the significance of mindset on B2B performance and provides listeners with a battle-tested, practical formula for creating the right mindset to be the best B2B performer possible.

Announcer: You’re listening to The B2B Sales Show, a podcast dedicated to helping B2B sales professionals master the art and science of selling. If you want to hear what successful sales leaders and individual contributors are doing to break into new accounts, close more deals, and drive revenue for their organizations, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get into the show.

Dave Currie: Great to be here again for another episode of The B2B Sales Show. My name is Dave Currie, CEO of Winmo Sales Intelligence. I’m joined here today with a B2B sales professional and colleague of mine, who’s made a career out of B2B sales, and someone I consider to be a true expert. Welcome, Jeff.

Jeff Haley: Thanks so much. I appreciate you having me a guest on the show today, Dave.

Currie: Great to have you here. Today, we’re going to be talking about the mindset of a high performing B2B sales professional. There’s two aspects that we’re going to be covering today.

Currie: Number one, understanding the significance of mindset on your B2B sales performance, and second, providing you a battle tested, practical formula to creating the right mindset to be the consistent, high performing B2B sales professional that you’re fully capable of. So, what exactly is a mindset?

Currie: In my experience, your mindset’s the most impactful asset that you have complete and total control of. It’s how you choose you present yourself, and how you choose to respond to the environment around you.

Currie: In a B2B sales setting, your daily role, it’s choosing to bring energy, enthusiasm and curiosity together, to be put to work, with the accumulation of your skills and experience, as consistently and as effectively as possible. Without the right mindset, consistently achieving or even beating your quotas is tough, if not, quite frankly, simply impossible.


Currie: So let’s dig into the topic together now, and Jeff, let’s kick it off. Does this idea of mindset resonate with you? And, I guess, the second part of that, why is your mindset so critical to high performance for professionals in B2B sales?

Haley: Yeah, yeah, Dave, it resonates with me. And to be quite frank, I don’t know of a single sales person who’s achieved real success in B2B sales, without having a mindset just like you described.

Currie: We all fall into traps and forget to check ourselves every so often. But in my experience, it’s those who know how to recognize the mindset slumps and get past them, quickly, that really begin to excel.

Haley: Yeah, you’re right. I believe it’s a personal thing, and therefore, it’s different for everybody. I’m not perfect, but I am self-aware enough to know that my mindset is the one thing I’m in total control of. Now our experiences and what motivates us are not the same for everyone. So, I think it’s very important to have a framework, from which sales professionals can work, to create and make their own. Your mindset is critical to how you’re able to achieve your full potential in sales.

Currie: Yeah, I think it’s, certainly, about high performance as a measure against your full potential, versus a measure against others on the teams and their proud performance, which is how many quotas are set. It’s also something that you can truly own. Jeff, how does your mindset help you specifically win more and beat quotas consistently?

Haley: Well, about a year ago, I fell into a sales slump. It’d been going on for about four months. I started blaming, really, the things around me. You know, I wasn’t getting enough leads. Or either I was getting enough, wasn’t getting enough good leads, at least. There were problems with the product, and even the types of companies, who I was selling to. You name it, it was a problem with me. Not with me, but really, with everybody else.

Haley: I was frustrated, perhaps a little angry, and even let desperation seep in. And you know what happens to desperate salespeople, right?

Currie: Sure.

Haley: I don’t recall exactly what triggered it, only that one day I came to the office, and decided to change it. I needed to get my grit back. I decided to own it and stop playing the blame game. I decided to put forth the effort, and control what I could control myself. With that right mindset, not much changed the first week, but by the second week, my numbers started to move. I regained confidence in myself, and our products, and by the third or fourth week, I was back on track to beating my quotas as well.

Haley: I think the biggest challenge for me now, Dave, is recognizing when my mindset is not right, and then recovering quickly.

Currie: Yeah, I’m certainly no stranger to this, either. I’ve fallen into a victim mindset myself over the years from time to time. I think we all have. But as you mentioned, importantly, for everyone on this episode, I’ve also seen, heard and coached hundreds of B2B salespeople out of this mindset, by helping them recognize the importance of your mindset to achieving full sales potential, which we’re talking about right now; ways to self-diagnose or recognize that you’re slipping from an optimal sales mindset; and three, giving some tools to get back into the mindset to win.

Currie: As I noted earlier, there are numerous things that we can’t control, things we can only influence, but there’s also things called your controllables. So, Jeff, talk to us a little bit about a few things that you’ve listed as sales areas out of control. Maybe this help those on the episode understand what you’d prioritize.

Haley: Yeah, I’d say that the out of control list, this is probably my longest list. I’ll give you my top three that I think are pretty universal with all of our listeners on this episode.

Haley: Now, one, you can’t control the product or service you’re selling. Most of our listeners have some sort of predetermined products or services to sell.

Haley: Two, you can’t control the marketing strategies of the company. The marketing strategies should, of course, align with the sales team strategy, but it’s not something in your day to day control as a salesperson.

Haley: You can’t control your competitors. They’re going to do what they’re going to do.

Currie: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Those are certainly the top three that have come up on my list, as well, over the years. Let’s move to a few things that you can influence, or you can only influence. These would be sort of between those controllables, and things out of your control.

Haley: Sure, here are a few things that come to mind, again, that would apply across all listeners.

Haley: First off is a buyer’s stage of consideration. Now, depending on how and where they came into my sales pipeline, in terms of consideration, weighs heavily on my ability to influence the buyer’s stage of consideration. I can guide them from the position they arrived in. But first, I need to undertake some discovery, to determine exactly what stage that is.

Haley: Second is a buyer’s sense of urgency. This is the area in which I most enjoy refining my craft. Through discovery, I’ve learned that I can influence a buyer’s sense of urgency by asking the right questions. I’ve created a cheat sheet for this, that I’ll be happy to share with our listeners, that we’ll include in the episode next.

Haley: The third one I’ll point out is price negotiation. Now most work within a preset price matrix. There’s some defined terms and conditions for discounts, but it’s an area that I have influence on.

Currie: Sure. All good points, Jeff, and listeners, remember to check the episode notes for Jeff’s mindset cheat sheet, on your influence on creating that sense of urgency. It’s a great sales tool and a great asset. So, there’s many things about B2B sales that you can’t control. The one thing that we can control is ourselves, and I like to simplify this by using the term E-A-R-, or EAR, as a way of remembering what we can control.

Currie: This is a tool that I’d like to share with you now. We can control E for Effort, probably the most obvious and therefore, easy to remember. Effort is a choice. In any given moment, you can choose to give maximum personal effort, and it’s that consistent effort that leads to increased success in any area of your life, but in this case, specifically in sales.

Currie: Some also call this discretionary effort, that little bit extra that everyone has the capacity to give. Effort breaks down into many areas. It relates to our own effort in our professional development, and effort in application and refinement of those skills on a consistent basis.

Haley: I completely agree. Effort is never cutting the corners, right? It’s a decision to work hard and work smart. Now, effort is a mindset. Really, never give up, and just keep on going, without any excuses. I called this grit earlier. We want those reps who are willing to take on that challenge, those that are resilient, even faced with the toughest challenges.

Haley: When adding to your team, I’d look for those who have a history of excelling under those different, difficult circumstances. This may not necessarily only be in sales, but in those situations like competitive sports, where they’ve had to demonstrate that grit, the passion and perseverance toward those longer-term goals.

Currie: Absolutely. E for Effort’s super easy, one really straightforward to remember. We can also control A for Attitude, and once again, attitude is a choice. There’s nothing that’ll make you more successful in your career or in your life than having a mindset of keeping a positive attitude. It’s tough. Attitude’s all about how we choose to see everything that happens to us.

Currie: We all have heard that old saying, “The glass is half empty, or the glass is half full,” and some people choose to see everything one way or the other. But you do have a choice of how you see it, and how you choose to see when others on your sales team succeed, while your numbers might be lower, do you just tank, and get negative? Or do you rise your level of effort and get energized by the challenge?

Jeff: Well, in my experience, Dave, most B2B salespeople, they’ve got a positive attitude. They always look for the good in others and finding the best in every situation. That’s what I look for in my teammates, and I’m constantly trying to bring that to the table myself. I like to think of attitude towards sales as really a go giver. That’s the attitude. You should add value without expecting an immediate return.

Jeff: Sometimes, it’s really difficult, especially for a new rep, to think about, “I’m providing all this additional content or value, and I’m not getting a sale out of it.” But that go giver growth mindset is one that pays out long term dividends.

Currie: It certainly does, and I think that’s a good way to sort of move into the next, a good segue into the next, which is R, which is for Response.

Currie: We control how we choose to respond to everything that happens to us in an office setting, or in our lives, and there’s a formula that we work with here, and I’ve used as a training platform for many years, which is, E plus R equals O. So the event, or E, plus R, your response, equals O, your outcome.

Currie: So in B2B sales, this formula, E plus R equals O, is happening over and over again. Events are constantly happening. Leads are up or down, lead quality is up or down. There’s a competitive offer that may supersede yours. There’s a new product, feature or service that could be better than yours. There’s another rep already working on the account.

Currie: But these are all things that are happening in just about every day, in every sales organization, to both clients of ours, and for the listeners on this episode. But how we respond is our choice. And that choice, good or bad, right or wrong, creates our outcome.

Haley: Yeah. I’ve used this framework, and it works. In fact, ever since we discussed this before I actually wrote this, and I got it on a Post-It note that’s stuck to the bottom of my monitor.

Haley: I talk about, with my team, too, let’s say you lose a deal to a competitor, at the very last minute. How do you choose to respond? Do you take it personal, complain, sink into the week of depression? Or do you respond by letting it go and moving on quickly? That increases your effort to chase down the prospect that would be a better fit.

Haley: Now how about when your manager gives you feedback about your lack of hitting your sales goal? Do you respond by resenting being picked on? Or do you listen and focus in on what you need to do, to change and correct, to get better?

Currie: Right. It’s certainly the big picture lesson. And here is the understanding that controlling the controllable isn’t just about the game of B2B sales. All through your life, you’re going to have things that happen to you, that you have absolutely no control over. Your opportunity here is to practice recognizing what you can and can’t control, and influence.

Currie: So an easy tool for that that we’ve discussed is remembering EAR, E-A-R-, and it’s your choice about your effort, your attitude, and how you choose to respond to everything that happens to you, in your professional life and in your personal one, which will give you the outcomes that you’re looking for. The more that you practice this, the better will you become as a person, and as a B2B sales professional.

Currie: So today we’ve talked through practical steps to creating the mindset to be the consistent high performing B2B sales pro that you’re fully capable of. We’ve identified the first step of self-awareness, identifying a victim mindset that may impede your ability to perform at a high level, and we also can now look to train and create a culture that reinforces, and most importantly, I think, sometimes overlooked, rewards these behaviors.

Currie: If you make it a priority, and celebrate the successes when you see these traits, you’ll be setting yourself and your team up for long term success as a high performing sales organization.

Currie: Jeff, thank you so much for joining me on this episode. You’ve offered some great context and insights for our listeners. So be sure to check the episode notes for those insights and more now.

Haley: My pleasure, Dave. I’ve really enjoyed sharing a few tips on what I’ve learned about the importance of having the right mindset for B2B sales.

Currie: That’s a wrap for this episode. On behalf of my team and I at Winmo Sales Intelligence, happy hunting out there.

The B2B Sales Show is a podcast dedicated to helping B2B sales professionals master the art and science of selling. If you want to hear what successful sales leaders and individual contributors are doing to break into new accounts, close more deals, and drive revenue for their organizations, you’ve got to check out their content!


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