Why a Growth Mindset is Key to Sales Success

April 18, 2019    Comment off


The mantra of many of the world’s leading businesses has been built around a so-called ‘growth mindset,’ whereby successful people are those that have talents and abilities that can be enhanced by effort, learning and persistence through their lives.

This theory, coined by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, is central not only to successful businesses, but can also be the blueprint for sales success.

Here are our five top tips to becoming a growth-minded sales superstar.

Don’t take rejection personally

Every salesperson will have challenges thrown at them, from the small and easy to overcome to the significant. The growth-minded salesperson sees these challenges as an opportunity to learn and strengthen their skill set and understands that it’s OK to fail sometimes.

Rejection is the only guarantee in sales and, rather than go on the defensive or worry about it, it’s vital to learn from the experience, evaluate what you did well and where you can improve for next time.

An obvious example is not having the level of knowledge you need to sell a product effectively. Rather than worrying about this, putting in the effort to learn about it, seeking help to understand it goes a long way. Even admitting a lack of knowledge to the customer then following up with the correct details can ultimately earn their respect.

Another major challenge for any salesperson is time. Having the time to make all the calls you need to, having the time to research a product or customer, having the time to perfect your sales pitch or customer presentation, having the time to manage your team. Taking a growth-minded approach allows you to realise you did the best you could and learn from the experience.

Research by Scripted revealed that approaching half of salespeople (44%) give up after just one follow-up to a prospect. A growth-minded sales rep takes ‘no’ as a learning experience and tries again.

Overcome obstacles

Similarly, you’re likely to encounter numerous obstacles in your sales journey. Most likely, whenever you feel you’re on the right path something will come along and present a major roadblock. Dealing with these obstacles in the right way is crucial.

As Carol Dweck states: “Exceptional people have a special talent for converting life’s setbacks into future successes. Being resilient, coming up with a strategy to deal with setbacks and understanding the need to learn new skills are essential to deal with any bad hand that may be thrown at you”.

A good example of this is failing to earn a promotion or bonus you’ve long been working towards. Of course, it’s easy to get downhearted. But by setting aside your ego and taking the feedback that will be provided and understanding where you may have gone wrong or what you need to work on or improve will help you in the long run. It’ll take effort and motivation, but will be worth it.

Give and take criticism

This is a key process for any successful salesperson. Constructive criticism helps you to understand how to fix something, improve your working processes and, ultimately, grow as a salesperson. Gaining feedback from a colleague can often help address mistakes you didn’t realise you were making and help you hone your approach and improve your sales success. This also applies to sales managers.

Criticism is likely to come in many forms throughout your sales career, both from people you work with and report into and from wider across your organisation. Learning to give and take constructive criticism and using it productively can take some time, but it is a vital skill to have.

Put the effort in

Sales is far from an easy job and, regardless of where in the process you are or how senior a salesperson you are, putting the effort in is a must. From taking the effort to always be on the lookout for new business and understanding the products you’re selling to taking on the challenge of presenting to difficult customers and completing the arduous task of seemingly never-ending RFPs, putting the effort in is a given if you’re to taste sales success.

Never stop learning

Learning from the best is a very effective way of honing your own skills. A growth-minded approach enables you to use other peoples’ success as a source of inspiration and an opportunity to improve your performance as opposed to a threat. Earning their time can be difficult given they’re typically very busy, but try to understand what they think they do well, how they go about sealing major deals, how they motivated their sales team and how they adapted to things that may have gone wrong.

Carol Dweck’s research finds that people of a fixed mindset often perceive ‘effort’ as fruitless and commonly associate risk with failure. Adopting a growth mindset is not an easy task, it takes discipline and dedication but in the long run, it’s well worth it. The successful salesperson needs to embrace risk, understand their inadequacies and learn from those around them if they’re to avoid the pitfalls that will inevitably come their way on the sales journey.