In between the regular interview episodes until the book is published you’ll find a sample story like this one. You can either listen to the episode and hear Kyle read his story, or read the full text below.
The Mindset of a Champion
By: Kyle Gutzler
After writing the viral blog post about how I doubled my sales on LinkedIn (top1.fm/2x), I also wrote another successful post which talked about a topic that is arguably more important to me than anything in sales – my mindset.
There are plenty of tips, tactics, and skills out there that will incrementally help with your sales success, but what you need to have more than anything to be a stellar sales professional is a rock-solid mindset. I came up with four keys which I’d like to unpack a bit further.
- Why Not Me?
This is a question that I gathered from my hometown sports star, quarterback Russell Wilson. Whether or not you are a fan of Russell Wilson, you have to respect his story. He was passed up by many teams in the NFL draft as an undersized athlete that most teams didn’t have faith in. He was finally selected as the 75th overall pick for the Seattle Seahawks, initially slated as a backup quarterback. He battled his way into the pre-season and eventually earned the starting spot. In just his second season in the NFL, he turned around a struggling franchise and brought his team all the way to the Super Bowl. His motto throughout the year was “why not me?” or “why not us?”
The Seahawks won that Super Bowl in a dominant fashion. I just couldn’t get over this unusual, optimistic mindset that he led with. This is a mindset that I’ve always tried to mirror as a sales professional. I don’t consider myself someone who has any superior gifts or natural talents. My advantage in sales is often in the reckless belief and faith that I can achieve greatness. In fact, at the company that I currently work for, one of my colleagues once said to me, “You probably think that you can do anything, don’t you?” My answer was, and always will be, “yes.” I’ve come to learn in my career that you will become what you believe. In the midst of a struggling season in sales, if you believe that you are incapable and that you cannot be a top sales professional, then that’s what you will get. However, if you relentlessly fixate your mind on being a winner and being an elite performer, in time, that’s what you will eventually become. Start thinking positive thoughts, write them down, verbalize them to others, and soon those things will begin to manifest themselves. Why not you?
- Removing Marble
I shared a story in my post about the famous sculpture of David which was created by Michelangelo. It was said that Michelangelo described this process as simply taking away pieces of the stone that didn’t resemble David. People are often curious about what you should do in sales to get better, what you should add to your process, or what prospecting tip you should try next time. However, it’s equally important to address the things that you shouldn’t do and what you should remove too. It’s important to audit who you spend your time with as well. Are these people high performers? Are they positive and optimistic people? I’ve been in plenty of situations at work where I find myself hanging out with low-performers who radiate constant negativity. These people are absolutely toxic to you and you need to remove them from the rhythm of your day. It’s also vital that you reflect on your own sales process. At my previous company, I spent a lot of time listening to recordings of myself. It’s amazing how many quirks you will find that need adjustment. The headline here is that success in sales isn’t just about addition; it’s about subtraction too. Subtract the things that are holding you back from being great.
- Patience and Persistence
I put the two of these together because you can’t do one without the other and be successful. I was watching a video recently of a successful businessman named David Meltzer. To summarize his video, he was talking about how people need to look at “no” differently. He talked about how differently we would behave if we knew that behind our next 20 “nos” there was our next billion-dollar business idea. This was, of course, a radical example, but one of the big takeaways here is that people often give up too quickly. At my previous company, had I given up when the going got tough, it would have been a sad chapter for me in my career. Instead, I pushed past all the discomfort and rejection and eventually had my breakthrough which catapulted my career. However, to emphasize my original point, it’s not just a game of waiting. You have to persist! Most of you know many of the fundamental keys to be successful in sales, now it’s simply a matter of hammering away, over and over, until you finally break through and begin fulfilling your true potential.
If you’ve ever watched a survival show or been in a survival situation yourself, you know that fire is one of the top priorities. Fire is what makes all basic survival necessities possible. It allows you to purify water, cook food and stay warm. I think of fire as a symbol of success in my sales career. You can have all the knowledge, connections and skills imaginable, but if you don’t have fire, you’ll have a hard time being successful. To me, fire symbolizes a combination of passion, enthusiasm, and inspiration. What’s interesting about fire is that you can have a strong flame that will eventually go out if it’s not fueled with more wood. You’ve probably experienced this in your own life where sometimes you feel inspired and on top of the world, but as time passes, your flame begins to weaken. There are two primary things that I consistently do to spark a strong fire and also maintain the flame. First, I constantly remind myself of where I’m going by writing down my goals. If you’re constantly living off the conditions of here and now, then your emotions will most certainly be a rollercoaster. Life will give you ups and downs, which is no secret. Therefore, it’s human nature to react to what life is dealing you in the present moment. As a result, I try to fixate my mind on the exciting plans, goals, and dreams that I have for the future. This doesn’t mean that I don’t celebrate the wins that happen here and now, but if I lose out on a $500,000 deal, it’s a lot easier to swallow if I’ve convinced myself that one day I’ll close a $500,000,000 deal. Secondly, I prioritize relationships over everything. The attitude of those who you spend your time with is contagious. I know that if I manage the circle of people that I surround myself with and keep hanging out with A-players, then I’ll have a much easier time sustaining my fire. In fact, I try to make it a habit of reaching out to others and encouraging my network when I myself am struggling. If I’m going through a rough season, my default reaction is to lift other people up. Helping those that I care about has always helped me, plain and simple.
- Thoughts become things. You’ve probably heard this phrase before. I’m completely subscribed to this notion. I’ve learned that at the end of the day, I have the choice of how I think. It’s been proven that what you fixate your mind on and what you believe tend to become a reality. Knowing this, I may as well be recklessly faith-filled in my abilities, my likelihood to win, and my chances of being successful.
- Don’t just pile on new learnings, tactics, and methodologies. Take inventory of your behavior and figure out what things you need to cut out in order to help you be a more successful sales professional. This could be related to how you spend your time, what you say in sales meetings, or even who you surround yourself with.
- It’s completely normal to face rejection and failure. Once you understand that this is part of the game, simply be persistent and stay patient and you will undoubtedly reach success.
- Consistently remind yourself of the big things that you are working toward.
- Never stop pouring into the important relationships in your life.
Want more from Kyle? He was the star of Episode 14.