When is the last time you took an inventory of your and your team’s Mindset?

Let me tell you why I ask:

I am reading John C. Maxwell’s The Complete 101 Collection, What Every Leader Needs to Know. The book starts out by stressing the importance of attitude, which for me I think of as mindset. The point made is that MINDSET, how you think, is a major contributor to success.

John tells a story of two shoe sales professionals who were sent to an island to sell shoes. The first salesperson, upon arrival, was shocked to realize that no one wore shoes. Immediately he reached out to his home office in Chicago saying “Will return home tomorrow, no one wears shoes.”

The second salesperson was thrilled by the same realization. Immediately he reached out to the home office in Chicago saying, “Please send me 10,000 shoes, everyone needs them!”

The decisions we make every day, the behaviors we model on a daily basis all are a direct result of how we think. Our mindset is the foundation for how we perform. It drives our level of achievement.

Today I was listening to Victor Antonio’s Sales Influence Podcast– SIP #095, Afraid to Cold Call. Victor does a great job laying out 5 reasons why people are afraid to cold call. One of the reasons he shared is because sales professionals do not TRULY believe in their company’s products or services. I am paraphrasing, but he goes on to say, if you don’t believe at your core that your company provides products or services that can help your customers and their business in a meaningful way, then you are probably reluctant to prospect and make cold calls.

As a guy that enjoys cold calling, I completely agree with Victor. As I thought about his podcast throughout the day and the work we do with our clients, it resonated with me. We work with large sales teams for many industry leading building materials companies. It’s not uncommon for there to be tension between sales and operations. It’s also not uncommon for companies to focus primarily on their products and services and not enough on the impact those products and services have on their customer’s business.

If you look at most websites in the building industry, they all talk about how they wish to impact the customer’s business.  However, when you peek under the hood to see how they are structured, they often are really not customer centric but product centric.

So, if you believe that mindset and culture does drive behavior and behavior drives results, then let’s invest some time to take an inventory of where we stand.

First, company mindset and culture starts at the top.

Does your organization have a discipline to “hear” the “Voice of the Customer” (VOC)? Do all of your teams, across functions, know and believe that they contribute to the VOC?  Do they have a sense for why that’s important? This can be a unifying effort where all departments play for the same team.

Does your company foster a learning, continuous improvement culture? My experience has shown that individuals genuinely like to feel as though they are growing and developing with a company. A learning culture fosters appreciation and respect, not to mention improved performance over time.

Sales Managers, I believe you are the leverage point for a company.

Do you conduct 1:1’s at a scheduled time every month? If you do 1:1s, do you spend at least 30 minutes to go over the numbers, find out what’s working, what’s not working? This provides an opportunity to take the pulse of your team and get a sense for the effort and strategy that was applied the last 30 days.

Do you do monthly learning huddles with your team to support the importance of learning? What would the benefit be if you started?

When you’re in the field doing ride a-longs, do you make sure that at least one call with a sales pro is an Observation Call, where you don’t have an active role in the call, but are there just to observe? Do you really want to know how well your sales pros handle calls when you’re not there? Try doing Observation Calls while you are in the field. You’ll find out how well they prepare, what parts of the company’s value prop they lean on and how they attempt to align to the issues driving decisions for your customers.

When is the last time you spent 45 minutes to an hour, un-interrupted with one of your reps to talk about their personal and professional goals? Or, invested time to simply listen to what’s going on with your team?

If you believe that it is important for your team to believe in the company, then, belief and trust starts with the relationship they have with you. Does your team know that you have their back? Do you?

Sales Professionals, do you have a file saved on your computer for testimonials and praise you’ve received doing the great work that you do?

For me, nothing builds my confidence more than when a customer tells us the work we did was a “game changer” for their company. That fuels my desire to go do more work with more customers.

Do you truly believe that you make a difference for your customers?

What things can you do to foster that mindset?

My wife and I are wired very differently. We’re in different disciplines and have lived a life with different upbringings and experiences. We have different mindsets, not in a bad way. It continues to amaze me when we experience something together, something we read in the news, or maybe something we hear that happened to a friend and we have a different perspective or outlook on the same event.

Many thought leaders have shared what they believe is a universal truth:  “We become what we think about.” The world we “see” in many ways is a product of how we think. Is now a good time to take an inventory on your Mindset? The Mindset of your team? The Mindset of your company? If you believe that Mindset is the starting block for high performance, can you afford not to focus and pay attention to it?

I love exploring these ideas and ways to improve upon them for myself and for the companies we serve. What thoughts do you have on the topic? I would value your feedback, or a conversation.