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There are four Mental Leashes that are holding you back from being a top-performing salesperson. Sales is a mental game and mindset is everything.
Jason Forrest, CEO at Forrest Performance Group, is our guest this week and he is a machine. He gives us his unique perspective and breaks down the gritty details about how sales is a mental game. Forrest discovered that the best training isn’t just telling people what to do, or how to do it, or even why to do it; it’s unleashing their mindset. It’s removing those mental chokeholds to help them see the true, fully realized picture of their abilities. The four mental leashes are limiting beliefs every person experiences. It’s that voice inside your head whispering you can’t do something. We dig deep into the four mental leashes: Stories, Reluctance, Rules, and Self Image.
Listen to the full episode here.
The Goods on Jason Forrest
Forrest is a winner of four international Stevie Awards for his Warrior Selling and Leadership Coaching training programs. He is an award-winning author and has written five books. Forrest lives on the leading edge of the sales industry. As a behavioral change expert and maverick entrepreneur, he believes the only way to break your sales plateau is to completely change the way you look at sales. And that means an extreme focus on pulling the future of sales into the present. Forrest’s mission is to give every sales professional, manager, and executive the tactical, real-world knowledge they need to remove any limiting beliefs that are keeping them from breaking their plateaus. Over the course of this decades-long mission, Forrest’s trained billion-dollar companies, and everyone from high-powered CEOs to frontline salespeople, to increase their effectiveness by driving more profit.
Mindset is everything. To tackle that, Forrest created and trademarked the idea that performance equals knowledge minus leashes.
“If performance is the sales that we make. Knowledge is what we have been taught to do.”
Leashes are resistance to positive mindsets. To categorize these, Forrest states that we have four types of mental leashes.
Where a lot of training fails—and where some of the early struggles really begin—is to teach people the strategies to handle an objection or to deliver a selling message. If the salesperson doesn’t initiate contact, if they don’t engage because they have one of the leashes holding them back, it doesn’t matter.
Stories are anything external that you believe to be true.
It is a reason why you can’t engage, or why you can’t perform and do your job. Stories are a big deal. It’s a simple question; what are the circumstances that are outside of your control? Or more precisely; what circumstances are outside of your control and currently holding you back from earning what you’re worth? That’s your first leash.
The difference is that the salesperson who is performing at the top 1% of their industry or their market simply has fewer stories. To reach that level, you have to get rid of the stories that hold you back
But how do you as a sales manager tackle this? How do you find out what stories your salespeople believe in?
“You would ask the question: ‘Hey, I’m curious. What are some of the reasons why people aren’t buying today?’ And if the sales rep says, ‘Well, it’s because I specifically need some additional processes or words on how to convince the customer to think differently about blank, or to handle the price objection’ they’re owning it themselves.
But if they say anything else outside of that, if they say, ‘Well, I just can’t because the customers just think the price is too high. Or I can’t because we really need purchasing to give us better features, or better product. Or I really need better qualified customers.’ If they give anything that’s outside of them, that’s a story.”
An exercise a person can do to alleviate this leash is to say to themselves, “The customer thinks that we are overpriced,” then you would counter that with a simple reframe. And instead you might say, “It’s not that the customer thinks we’re overpriced. It’s that I have not convinced them of the value that justifies the price.”
It’s about salespeople taking ownership and not putting it outside of their responsibility.
However, labeling it as an excuse overgeneralizes what the issue truly is. For example, it would be like a doctor saying, “Wasn’t the person unhealthy?” Yes, but there are specific reasons why they’re unhealthy. The more we can break something down, the more we can really diagnose the issue properly and then prescribe the right solution to get a person unstuck.
Partnered with the Behavioral Science Research Press, Forrest discovered there are 16 different types of sales reluctances that people may have. Reluctances is like yielding, and yielding is not wanting to come across too pushy. In other words, they want to avoid conflict. Rejecting your role— not wanting to see yourself as a salesperson—and instead calling yourself an advisor, a consultant, realtor, etc., is a big sign of role rejection.
“People can all relate to the idea of telephobia. Right? People were raised, and they overheard their parents saying something like, ‘Oh, I can’t stand these annoying telemarketers.’ Well, as a child, you are vulnerable to being influenced and programmed. Now growing up, you are all of a sudden asked to cold call people, and you have this parent that’s whispering in your ear going, ‘Hey, don’t be one of those people that I can’t stand.’ That’s a reluctance that’s picked up, programmed by our upbringing.”
Yielding is one of the most common reluctances, it costs the global economy billions and billions in lost revenue on an annual basis. Yielding is the idea of, make a friend, make a sale, a behavior born with positive intention, but lead to the soft sale revolution during the 1980s.
“When society goes too far to the right, we go too far to the left. Then we back off completely. We’re not going to push anything on anyone. We’re not going to try to convince anyone to do anything. We’re going to let customers make their own decisions on their timeframe, when they want to. The yielding tendency says it’s on the customer’s terms. It’s the customer’s life. They need to buy when they need to buy. What I help salespeople recognize is that customers don’t have a problem with sales or salespeople in general. They have a problem with some salespeople who are boring, unhelpful, or unethical.”
As a salesperson, your mission is to liberate that customer from their indecision; to remove the ambiguity. Yielder’s just want to help; if we can recognize that we are not helping the customer when you let them make the decision on their own, the process will be easier. When you guide them through a formal decision making process it gets them to optimize their decisions, and you are actually doing something for them and not to them.
As a sales manager, you can demonstrate to your sales team the behaviors they’re doing that negatively impact the customer. They either have to change their behavior, or they have to change their highest intention.
These aren’t the rules our operations department puts on us and how we are supposed to fill out our forms properly—it’s more than that. These are internal rules.
Let’s do a little exercise. Let’s come up with the characteristics that we need to see, feel, or hear that tells us if this prospect is going to buy from us right now.
- Do you want to have all decision makers present or do you want to have just one? I want all.
- Do you want to have them smiling or do you want to have them frowning? I want them smiling.
- Do you see them asking questions or do you want them kind of just stuck there? I want them asking questions.
- Do you want to be the third person they’ve seen in the process or the first? I want to be the third.
- Do you want them to be in the market for a month or six months? Oh, six months.
- Do you want them to be pre-qualified and clear on their budget and what they can afford? Yeah, pre-qualified.
Congratulations, you found a unicorn.
Every sales professional out there, has some, or all, of these rules. Most salespeople don’t have all of these rules, but they usually have some of them. As salespeople, what we have to do is let the rules go.
Tony Robbins explains that there is a sense of quality of life that is equal to the amount of rules we have. Meaning, if you look at your religion, career, health, or relationships, what are the rules that we need to have in order to feel loved. In order to feel like God loves me or my company loves me or my kids love me or I’m doing a good job as a father or a mother.
Forrest took what Tony Robbins was saying as a great general concept and then applied it to a sales perspective.
We all can relate to this using a dating example. You can ask someone who hasn’t found “the one.” Have them list their criteria.
- I want them to be older than me.
- I want them to make $200,000 a year, but I don’t want them working too hard where they don’t spend time with me.
- I want them to be fit, but not too fit so they don’t like to spend time with me.
- I want them to be healthy, but not too healthy because then it gets kind of creepy.
- I want them to have kids, but I want the kids to be old enough that I don’t have to attend to them anymore.
It’s nuts. They have too many rules. Same thing happens with sales. We have too many rules, and we have to let them go.
Self-image relates to how we define ourselves. What is our self-efficacy, our self-confidence, and our sense of worthiness.
“It’s amazing how I can ask a salesperson and get them to be vulnerable with me and say, ‘Okay, how much right now do you believe you’re actually worth? How much? What’s the dollar sign on your head that says this is what I have to make?’And what’s amazing is, then I’ll go back and say, ‘Hey, let’s look at the last two years of your sales performance and your sales career.’ And that number is very close. Within several percentage points of what they’re actually earning. The number they define themselves as ends up becoming this mental leash, this self-image, this barrier for them.”
Maxwell Maltz was a plastic surgeon in the 1960s; he wrote a book called Psycho-Cybernetics and it has these stories in it. He would give a young patient a mirror, and the person had just got in a car wreck and had a complete disfigurement. He completely changed their face and got their face back to looking the way it should. He would give them a mirror and say, “What do you think of your new nose?” And they would say, “I don’t see anything different.” What we realize at that moment is that our perception, our reality, actually affected them. We can change everything on the outside, but if we don’t see anything different on the inside, it doesn’t matter.
Forrest explains one of his individual exercises:
Step 1: List out the positive attributes that you believe are your strengths.
Step 2: Ask your boss, “Tell me five reasons why you hired me. What were the reasons that I stood out above the other candidates in a sales position?”
Ask your customers, “Specifically, what were the reasons why you chose me over everyone else? What did I do?”
Ask your friends and your family, “Hey, what are the attributes you believe are my strengths and why?”
Step 3: Go through each response and ask yourself, “Is this personally true to me? Do I feel strengthened by this? Is this how other people see me in that metaphorical mirror?
This is where the work begins. It’s a good place to see if there is a cognitive dissonance between how the world defines you and how you define yourself.
Advice from Jason
“So one of the things that we teach is there are four levels of a sales person. One is a sales warrior, and the bottom level is a follower. You just kind of wait for the customer. The next level is a helper. The majority of sales people are actually in that helper stage. Then you go above the line, and you are a leader. You lead a person to a place they wouldn’t go on their own. But the final level is a warrior. And a warrior is a protector. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a great thing. I’m protecting the customer from themselves. I’m protecting the customer from making a poorly thought out decision when they are choosing to spend less, and therefore get less, when they’re focused on the sticker, or on the price, or on their budget. And they’re not focused on what they’re trying to accomplish and what their mission is. And what they’re trying to solve.”
A special gift for all the conquerors out there from Jason; a copy of his new book—The Mindset of a Sales Warrior. Visit www.warriormindsetbook.com to snag your copy.
“This book is all about self-work. We have all heard the concept of you’ve got to work on your business and then in your business. What we’ve missed out on in life though, is you have to work on yourself first. Really the new way people should say it is, work on yourself first, then work on your business, and then work in your business. This is what this book is all about; it’s putting yourself first every single day and the score will take care of itself.”
Jason Forrest, CEO, Forrest Performance Group
Colleen McGrath, Conquer Local Producer, Vendasta
Colleen is an experienced Marketing & Communications Specialist with a demonstrated history of working in the public relations, corporate social responsibility, and the marketing and communications industry. Skilled in Social Media, Business Communications, Stakeholder Engagement, Meeting Facilitation, and Marketing Strategy. It is her mandate and mission to bolster and grow the Conquer Local Community.