In my last post I shared the concept of "limiting beliefs" which has really been resonating with the readers of Shiftability. A central theme of our book is what we believe is at the center of any potential for transformation. Our ability to shift into new ways of operating in the new sales paradigm depends first on what we believe. Limiting beliefs are the things that hold us back from making that shift. Here is a further discussion of the different forms limiting beliefs can take. I encourage you to get a copy of Shiftability for the full discussion on identifying limiting beliefs and how to break free from them.
Our limiting beliefs can roughly be organized into a few broad categories:
Fear-based beliefs. These beliefs are rooted in our fears. We might be afraid of hurting people’s feelings or damaging a long-term relationship with a client so we are reluctant to have tough conversations. Or we could be afraid of hearing no, so we never ask for the business. These limiting beliefs are generally easier to identify.
Misguided or false beliefs. This can be as simple as believing things that are not true, or it can be holding on to “conventional” wisdom without questioning it. For example, it is a common belief that tension in a relationship should be avoided, but tension is actually a vital part of the sales process that you must leverage, and not avoid.
Misjudgment or overconfidence. This is when we are disconnected from the reality around us and not reading the situation accurately. We might be under the belief that we are really in control when we are not. Our loyalties can be misplaced and not aligned with our business objectives. We can confuse our business relationships with our personal relationships. We might believe that the way we have always done things is the best way and the only way to be successful.
Experience-based beliefs. These are the hardest limiting beliefs to identify and counter because they are often true. Or we at least have experiences that would verify these beliefs. Our competitor has a better product. We know our company has supply constraints and we are not confident we can deliver. We know we do not know all the answers. These things can all be true, but that does not mean we cannot find a way around them.
Many successful people and experienced sales professionals have come to a point where they believe that what they believe about the world of sales is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. We are suggesting that whatever you know about your sales experience, whatever experience you have had, and whatever success you have had, is limited, because the future includes new variables, new truths, and new opportunities. Innovation and disruptive opportunity will start with saying, “What if?”
What if I could reach the customer?
What if I could break through?
What if the customer would buy anyway?
Opportunity is always afforded to the person who recognizes boundaries that exist and decides to go beyond them.