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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Women in Sales Webinar sponsored by the Institute for Excellence in Sales on September 15, 2021. It featured sales mindset and personal brand expert Linda Yates, author of Beyond the Clothes.]
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LINDAS TIP FOR EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “I alluded to affirmations, and we started our conversation today with visualization. As you go to sleep at night, as you turn off the light, all the lights that you may be looking at, start to take some deep breaths and visualize what you want your life to be. When we were teenagers, this was called daydreaming. When we were little kids, it was make-believe. We as adults I think have forgotten that, and you need to go back to that. If you then think about what it is you really want – not what you don’t want, you don’t want to be focused on what you don’t want. What do you want? Really visualize. If you spend a little bit of time as you’re drifting off to sleep putting that into your head, then even if you want to have double the impact, make that a part of your morning routine as you wake up, “What do I see this day?” What is your intention for the day, and what do you want to see happen to this day? Whether or not it happens and whether then the negative self-talk comes in and says, “But it won’t happen because of this,” really, again, stay with that positive intention and in that visualization, or the daydreaming, or even that make-believe. That will change what chemistry is even going on within your system and in your brain, because what we think about, we become. Where you’re at right now, you at one point thought about. I know I see that continually with my clients, I’ve seen that in my own life. We always need to keep our mindset in wherever it is we want to be going, growing and developing that picture of what it is we want.”
THE PODCAST BEGINS HERE
Gina Stracuzzi: Welcome everyone and thank you for sharing your afternoon with us. I’m super excited to talk to my guest today, Linda Yates. She is the Image Energizer, which I love, and she’s a keynote speaker, a corporate trainer, executive coach, and she’s going to be talking to us about how mindset pretty much affects everything, from our own image and our brand, and really our selling. Linda, welcome.
Linda Yates: Thank you, Gina. It’s an absolute pleasure to be with you today.
Gina Stracuzzi: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got to where you’re doing what you’re doing, and then we’ll have some conversation about mindset?
Linda Yates: It started when I was a teenager, to be frank, and I was inspired by a woman. It was my first professional development course. I was part of a multi-network company and I had my first sell, if you will. I sold my parents on about a $300 package to join this particular company. Then I went to learn about the information and this packet that we had just purchased, myself and my folks, who had invested in. As I heard this woman speak, she made me believe what was possible for me as this 13-year-old teenager that was comparing myself with my siblings. That planted the seed.
Then as time went on, later became married and started working, I quite frankly let that 13-year-old sit on the back shelf due to fear. But throughout my career, the common theme was that organizations would hire me to do different things. Business development, marketing, I was chair of admissions at one point at a university professional program in physical therapy. The common theme throughout my career, tech, real estate, so on and so forth, was that the organizations would always put me on a stage and get me to share the message or woo, if you will, whoever it was I was speaking to.
Then as time went on, and leadership opportunities came and went, and positions changed, and positions came and went, there was this ache and this need to pull that 13-year-old mindset off of the shelf and really do what I believe in. That is to help others tap into and discover what their strengths are, what their voice is, and how to live, and lead, and love in the way that they want with regard to their personal image. In whatever it is they’re doing, in communication and leading teams, whatever the case may be. That’s how I kind of came on this route. I’ve been doing this full-time now almost nine years, and I’m an author, and also have a podcast and do a lot of different speaking for organizations, and work with individuals, again, in tapping into what their potential is, to help them reach their goals.
Gina Stracuzzi: I love that background. It’s the early parts with the marketing and the communication and the business development, that is basically my background as well. I had to chuckle a bit because we’ve all done those various personality tests, and they either label you as you’re in this quadrant or whatever the case is. I took one and apparently, I am a professional level wooer. When you said that, I was like, “That is a thing.” [Laughs]
Linda Yates: That’s why we got on this journey, and I guess I’m really passionate about helping others find that voice, and live with that voice, and stay strong in that voice. That’s what I do. That’s what I love.
Gina Stracuzzi: The truth is, even the most confident, the most outgoing of us with even the strongest mindsets, you can get worn down sometimes because of the circumstances, the whole pandemic thing. It took a big toll on me just because I need to be around people. Keeping myself energized has really been a task. I think sometimes the people with the best mindsets might actually be in the worst position in situations like this because there’s that piece of you that believes you’re still operating in your normal mindset when in fact, you’re not. I can only say that from my own experience, but it’s a reality for me.
Linda Yates: I totally get that. It is hard, quite frankly, to not get sucked into all the negativity, and all the doom and gloom, and the worry, whatever it may be. I love the fact that you talked about extroverted individuals, but I am an ambivert, which is I have some extroverted tendencies, but really at heart I’m probably an introvert. I have to work to be out and to engage. Introverts were probably really happy over the pandemic and the locking of the doors, but there’s still that mindset of the feeling energized and feeling like you’re of value.
One of the four levels of happiness, which I believe is the most important level of happiness, that is contribution, and feeling like you’re contributing in whatever the case may be. I think in the pandemic, there’s this feeling of isolation that maybe you’re sitting back and you’re thinking, “Wow, am I really contributing? Am I really adding value?” Or, “Am I being seen, or am I enough?” Whatever the case may be.
Gina Stracuzzi: Let’s take some of this thinking and let’s talk a little bit about the impact of mindset. Obviously, this is a Women in Sales program, and our audience are almost 100% in sales or sales management, perhaps marketing or business development, but they all play a role in the sales process. Let’s talk about what mindset means to the sales process and what happens when it’s not where it needs to be.
Linda Yates: Perhaps you start your day with some prospecting. Maybe you spend an hour prospecting every day, that’s just part of your program. Well, if your mindset is not in an abundance mindset, you may be from a desperation mindset, or quite frankly, you may come into that mindset with, “These people, they’re not going to answer the phone. They’re going to tell me no.” That mindset then obviously is going to generate some negative results.
However, if you flip back to someone saying yes to you, and being positive about whatever your offering is, or whatever you’re trying to lead if you’re leading your team, and you’re trying to keep your team motivated. If you’re not necessarily coming to that party, that phone call, that email, whatever the case may be, the Zoom call or whatever it is, if you’re not coming with the most positive mindset, then a way to counteract that – maybe you’ve got some worries and struggles – is to flip back to where you were successful. If you flip back, then that will bring that energy up to do what you need to do, and to have that mindset where you need to have it.
Gina Stracuzzi: It’s basically a visualization technique in many respects, try to bring back the feelings that you had when you were at the top of your game?
Linda Yates: Absolutely. Because then that enthusiasm, that confidence, I mean, people buy people, and it is that energy that’s then going to lift you and lift others. But more importantly, it’s you. That’s one of the things I talk about in my book, is I talk about these different rays, if you will, of energy. For instance, our clothes. When we dress in a polished, positive, professional way, then we feel good. We actually lift our energy, we lift that embodied condition. Then we put out that positive, confident energy, but more importantly, it then comes back and it feeds us, and it’s always generating. The opposite is true as well.
Gina Stracuzzi: That is such a powerful statement, that regenerating. I think that is something we forget, that what we put off, we get back, and then vice versa, and it keeps going. Do you find a lot of people have given up on the polished look?
Linda Yates: I think that a lot of us think, “Everybody’s doing it. They don’t expect me to come my best self to every call, to every meeting, whatever the case. Because it’s virtual, I can be working here in my pajamas or in my shorts.” Yes, absolutely, you can, but what’s interesting is what’s going on in your mindset when you do that, and is that helping you? Is that adding value to you or is that detracting from who it is you want to be, or who it is you know you can be? I guess that’s the real question.
When I do some writing, or when I’m doing some brainstorming or researching, I may not be the most polished that I would be to choose to be when I’m on camera. But I am in that mindset of, “This is the work that I’ve got to get done. I’m going forward.” But every day when I wake up, I think about what my day is going to be and who it is I want to show up as. Then if I am then true to that, then my mindset is in the place where I need it to be for whatever the purpose is of that day. It keeps coming back to your why, why in everything you do. I believe that why is so important in the clothes we put on, in the words we say, in the actions that we have, the service that we give, all these different aspects impact. What is your purpose?
Gina Stracuzzi: That is a very good way to encapsulate all that you just said, why are you doing it? Really, if you take it a step further, what does it mean if you don’t do it? What is the message even to yourself, which is what really impacts your mindset the most, it’s what’s going on up here?
Linda Yates: That’s just so true. We can make choices, but we can’t choose our consequences. By then taking that step back and, “I don’t feel like making those prospect calls today,” well, then what’s going to be the impact of that over time? Is that assisting your why or did that just implode it? [Laughs]
Gina Stracuzzi: I want to talk about a few things that I know that you speak to, and that is how mindset overall affects your personal brand, which I find fascinating. Because I think a lot of us, even if we’re kind of having an off day and our mindset’s maybe not 100%, we think, “They still know who I am. They still know that I’ll deliver.” I wonder if it could be a death from a thousand cuts if we keep doing these same things that we think don’t have impact on their own?
Linda Yates: That’s a great observation. Just as the sun gives us that energy, that warmth, and then as we soak it in, we actually are reflecting back at that sun, and then we’re either warmed or we’re burned by it. The same is happening with your mindset. All these different little things can impact whether you are successful long-term, or if you begin to sabotage what your success is. That may be, “Well, I’m just not feeling good enough today. I’m not going to do this or that.” I would submit that those are the days, quite frankly, that you need to stretch, you need to push yourself. It’s okay to step back and give your permission to shut down, but then plan that, you be in control of that rather than letting anxiety or perhaps depression, or rejection overload, impact that.
Again, keep flipping back to positive experiences that have occurred and focusing what it is you really want, and seeing yourself as that person that you know you can be. Even if you doubt what that is, what maybe others have seen in you, or how have you performed in the past? Again, it just keeps coming back to being really clear about what it is you want, who it is you are, and really leaning into your strengths and understanding what the strengths are.
Gina Stracuzzi: What you were just mentioning there, there’s a lot of objections and rejections that can happen in sales at any point in the sales process or throughout the year. I would say that one of the things that we hear a lot from people who are in the selling community is the kind of roller coaster ride the pandemic has been. Because first there was a great deal of empathy and nobody’s pushing a sale or coming on too hard or too strong. Even some of the sales targets were relaxed a bit. Then things started to kind of come back a little bit normal. Then there was a little bit of pressure, and yet on the receiving end, maybe some companies still weren’t quite ready to buy yet. They’re still trying to figure out their way. Now we have this second, third, fourth, whatever wave we’re on with the Delta variant. Some people were going to start back in the office and now they’re not.
All of these things, they must play on the mindset. I know they do for me, I can’t speak for anybody else, really. How do you keep your confidence going strong in the extraordinary situations that we’ve had right now? Because I would wager a bet that there will be people listening that say, “I can’t even remember the last time I felt really enthusiastic about a sale,” or, “I just can’t tap into that.” What would you say to those folks?
Linda Yates: I think that one of the biggest keys is not to buy in to the panic, to the drama, to the aspect that, “It’s not going to happen because of this.” Again, giving an excuse. I’ve actually seen salespeople sell more throughout this pandemic than they ever have, because again, they’ve not bought in to all the doom and gloom. In other words, they probably stepped up their ability to listen, to really listen to who it is that are their prospects. Then they come to the table with trying to solve a problem. I guess that’s the key. Whatever it is that you’re selling, is think of it as a gift, because it is a solution to whoever has that problem, and really being that physician in that you’re coming in to solve a problem.
If you go in with that attitude, “I’m here to listen to you, to understand what your problems are, to then see if we can find a solution that is going to solve your problems,” and if you’ve done your research right, then your product is going to be able to solve the problem. That’s the goal I think, is to keep in mind the value of what it is you’re giving, and what you’re providing. If you’re in that mindset of, “I provide value, and my product provides great value,” or, “My product answers this question, or solves this problem,” then you’re coming from that abundance, helpful mentality. It’s not really a sell, it’s a solution. I think that if we keep that mindset, then we’re going to feel empowered. Again, we’re tapping into that third level of happiness, contribution.
By then feeling like we’re contributing, then we’re going to feel good about ourselves. Then the next time we pick up the phone, or we meet with a prospect, or we give a presentation, we need to keep going back to, “What gift can I share with them today?” That excitement of, “Man, this is a solution to their problems.” They may not realize that they’ve got that problem, so that’s your opportunity to then paint that picture of what that problem is and what it can solve. But it really keeps coming down to you feeding your mind with positivity, and I believe turning off some doom and gloom. In fact, I was talking to my sister the other day and she, we’ve just had the anniversary of 9/11. She asked me, she just said, “Did you watch all the 9/11 stuff?” I said, “To be frank, I didn’t.”
I will not ever forget. My husband actually works in federal law enforcement, and they honor and they remember every two weeks as they graduate a new class, what occurred on 9/11. I know for me that I honor those people that lost their lives, and those people that saved so many lives, by the fact that I exercise my right in all other ways. I appreciate, I show gratitude to them, but I feed my mind with positivity in any way that I can. When I’m doing that, then I’m actually speaking that as well, and I’m showing that and I’m exemplifying that. I think that that is really key.
Gina Stracuzzi: Yes, that is. Debbie Kay has a question. She said, “You’re right. It’s been one of the best years for selling, but I am exhausted. I’ve never worked so hard in my life and keeping my mindset in the right place is hard.” What do you say to that?
Linda Yates: It is hard. I mean, everything is hard. Even having a low mindset, beating yourself against the wall, we have to choose our hard. Congratulations on having the best year that you have. I think one of the biggest things I would say to you, Debbie, is you need to celebrate that, and you need to rejoice in that. Then also as you plan out what your sales goals are, and as you hit them, or maybe it’s a process that you need to go through, have milestones to celebrate, because as you celebrate, then you’re releasing that endorphin of, “Wow, I did this,” and then seeing what’s possible for the next point. I think that you’ll find yourself rejuvenating as well.
One of the big things too that I tell individuals that I work one-on-one with is the first thing you need to do at the beginning of the year is actually plan out what your vacations are. You need to come first. You are the CEO of your life, and you need to plan out your vacations first so that then everything else fits into that, and making yourself a priority. Again, if you’re on an airplane, they ask you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before you can help anyone else. The same holds true for doing your business, whatever it is, leading your team, is you’ve got to feed yourself first. That would be the advice I would give you.
Gina Stracuzzi: Thank you, Debbie, for your question/statement. That’s very appropriate and powerful too, because I think a lot of people are exhausted, but I love what you said there. Pick your hard, and that is a really great way to look at it, that beating yourself up, or feeling down, or looking for all the things to support the negativity, takes just as much work as being positive and looking for things that reinforce the positive. I love that, pick your hard. I really love your idea about planning out your vacations and the fact that you are a CEO of your life.
We tend to forget that. I’m guilty of this, as much as anybody else, that sometimes we turn the power for things over to other people or circumstances and we feel like we have no control, which is the worst kind of mindset to be in. I mean, for most of us who are driven people, to feel like we don’t have control is the worst. I really liked what you said there. Let’s talk about how we keep our mindset fresh and exciting. Because anything, just like picking your own hard, even what we use to motivate ourselves, that can get old. What do you do to keep things exciting, just like you would in a relationship?
Linda Yates: I love that question, because it’s really important. Years ago, my husband was being interviewed for a position in Oregon, and we had just had our third child. We flew there for the interview and I was going to look around in the Oregon area. The people that were showing us around, they asked me this question, they said, “What are your hobbies?” I was like… It really gave me pause, again, a young mom, just had my third baby, and it made me realize that, “I still have to feed me. I have to feed my spirit.”
That would be one of the things that I would do to stay motivated is to go back to your hobbies or tap into what maybe is interesting, to try something new that will add juice and energy into your life. That would be one thing I would do. I truly believe that affirmations work, I know they work. Really living in that affirmation aspect, seeking out people, quite frankly, that make you laugh, I think is really important as well to keep your motivation up, because I think that helps you not take yourself so seriously. I know I have a tendency to take myself very serious. It’s so dramatic if things don’t work out, because I am such a perfection-oriented individual and I’m working on that. I’m a recovering perfectionist. Those are different things I find. I find too, quite frankly, that writing really helps, because I have a tendency to stuff things, and by writing, then it kind of releases that out of me and then it flares up mind space. Some different things that I would try to keep motivated.
Gina Stracuzzi: I know for myself, sometimes talking to someone that doesn’t really care about that situation, doesn’t know that situation, could be a friend, so you talk to them about work or whatever the case is. But someone who doesn’t have skin in the game, as they say, and just listens. Once you give it air, it just flies away, or the solution presents itself. But for me, I either have to write it down like you say, or I have to share it with somebody. It’s amazing, once I get it out, everything feels lighter. That’s a good piece of advice.
We always like to put our guests on the hot seat and ask you for a piece of advice, one thing that people can put to work today to help them with their mindset.
Linda Yates: I alluded to affirmations, and we started our conversation today with visualization. As you go to sleep at night, as you turn off the light, all the lights that you may be looking at, start to take some deep breaths and visualize what you want your life to be. When we were teenagers, this was called daydreaming. When we were little kids, it was make-believe. We as adults I think have forgotten that, and you need to go back to that. If you then think about what it is you really want – not what you don’t want, you don’t want to be focused on what you don’t want. What do you want? Really visualize. If you spend a little bit of time as you’re drifting off to sleep putting that into your head, then even if you want to have double the impact, make that a part of your morning routine as you wake up, “What do I see this day?” What is your intention for the day, and what do you want to see happen to this day?
Whether or not it happens and whether then the negative self-talk comes in and says, “But it won’t happen because of this,” really, again, stay with that positive intention and in that visualization, or the daydreaming, or even that make-believe. That will change what chemistry is even going on within your system and in your brain, because what we think about, we become. Where you’re at right now, you at one point thought about. I know I see that continually with my clients, I’ve seen that in my own life. We always need to keep our mindset in wherever it is we want to be going, growing and developing that picture of what it is we want.
Gina Stracuzzi: Well, Linda, this has been a wonderful conversation, and very uplifting and thought-provoking. I am going to make a little sticky note, pick your hard, because I really like that idea. It’s equally hard to be negative, so you might as well be positive. I like that.
Linda Yates: You’re amazing. I learned so much from you, so thank you.
Gina Stracuzzi: Thank you, Linda. Well, I hope you’ll come back and see us sometime. Thank you so much, Linda. I will look forward to talking to you again soon. Bye, everyone.
Linda Yates: Bye-bye. Thank you.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo