EPISODE 674: Finding the Best Sales Professional Within Yourself with Umar Hameed

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Today’s show featured an interview with mindset specialist Umar Hameed, NLP Mindset Coach for Salespeople and Leaders.

Find Umar on LinkedIn.

UMAR’S ADVICE:  “I want you to know with certainty is there’s a better you inside you. Instead of being something unreachable, what I want you to know is it’s within your grasp. All you need to do is just ask the simple question, “What does my future look like if I actually reach my full potential?” Just let yourself daydream and the vision will appear. That’ll be the first step to achieving it, is realizing, “Oh my God, I could effortlessly talk to clients and get them to say yes. I could feel comfortable and powerful going out there in my sales career. I could be a great mentor for people to help them grow and become better salespeople as well.” All it takes is knowing that one truth, and this is a truth, is there is a better you inside you. It’s a joyous journey to find that version of you so you become the person you were always meant to be.”


Fred Diamond: Umar, I’m excited to talk to you today. Whenever we have a question about mindset or whenever things like that come up, getting past blocks, and of course, Umar, the whole purpose of the Institute for Excellence in Sales is basically to help sales leaders and sales teams get past blocks. Some of them may be big, some of them may be small, some may be real, some may be imagined, doesn’t really matter, we’re here to help you get through that. We’re going to be talking today, as we do frequently with Umar, about mindset and selling.

Umar, for people who are unaware of you or want to get refreshed, give us a little bit of an update on who you are and what you do. Then I have a couple questions lined up for you.

Umar Hameed: Back in the ‘90s, it would’ve been like the year 2000, a thought occurred to me. I was in Silicon Valley working for high tech companies, a consultant, and I noticed no matter where in the world a company was located, they had this one problem that no one seemed to be able to solve. They had people working for them in leadership and sales, and they looked at that person, “Jane could be a rockstar. We know she’s capable of it, she wants it, we’re going to give her training and she’s going to get better,” and oftentimes she did not. The question was, what’s that unseen force that stops her from reaching her full potential?

In 2003, I decided to go on a quest to figure out what that was. We’ve all heard of mindset, but it was like, “Okay, I know I can say the word, but what does it really mean?” I got trained in neuro-linguistic programming, applied neuroscience, and became a really good hypnotist. “Do not look into my eyes. You will feel sleepy.” No, no, that’s just my dates. They feel sleepy. No.

Started working with clients and what I realized was at the heart of who we are is where we hold our beliefs. Our beliefs control how we show up in the world and how we see the world. That’s why when a sales company spends money on training and invests half a million dollars, some of their sales reps set the world on fire, but a lot of them do a little bit better, but not a lot better. That’s what I set out to fix. How do we get people with the right mindset so they become fantabulous?

Fred Diamond: I’m going to ask some very basic questions because we have a lot of people who are new to sales or junior in their career. Let’s go through a couple definitions, mindset. What exactly is mindset?

Umar Hameed: Mindset is the filter that we see the world through. Our experiences from childhood where this experience happened and that changed the way we see the world. That’s why when you have two people looking at the same event, they can’t actually come together and say, “This actually happened,” is because we see it differently. Mindset in sales comes from, let’s say we have a lot of beliefs around money, around money is useful, it’s powerful, it’s the root of all evil, depending on what your beliefs happen to be, is how you see money. I’ll tell you a quick really good example around mindset.

I was working with this guy who’s raised $100 million for this hospital. He goes out there like a warrior, and he raises a ton of dough, but he says, “Umar, I can’t do it for myself. When I go to do it for myself, I hesitate in asking, give me a raise, do this. But for the hospital, I’m a warrior. What’s the difference?” There’s two different mindsets. One is, “I’m doing this for a greater good,” and the other one is about me and what I’m worth. Mindset determines how we see the world and it can have a huge positive or a huge negative impact on your performance.

Fred Diamond: In 2015, I believe it was, the Institute for Excellence in Sales, we held a program, it was our first customer acquisition symposium, and we had six of the top sales leaders in the world at the time, guys who wrote books that have sold millions. The very last question, we did a panel at the end of the day, and I remember this very clearly. I said, “If you could give us one bit of advice here for people listening,” or people who were attending at the time, “To take their career to the next level, what would you recommend?” They all said, “You need the right growth mindset.”

When people talk about mindset, they throw around Carol Dweck’s book about mindset, the whole concept of growth versus fixed. I want to ask you to explain what both of those mean, but I’m going to ask you a preemptive question. Does every sales professional have a growth mindset? Define what both of them means, and then answer that question.

Umar Hameed: Thank you, Carol Dweck, for releasing that book where we got this concept of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. Pretty much the difference is, as I see it, is a fixed mindset is, “This is what I know. This is the way the world is. Nothing will ever change and I just need to go along with the program.” A growth mindset is, “Hey, there’s always a better way. If I fail, I get better and I learn what’s going on.” Failure is feedback, not the eventuality.

But I think there’s a third space. The third space is this, is that we have anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 beliefs that define who we are. Let’s say we had a belief that money caused divorces. “Our parents got divorced when we were younger, and they fought about money all the time.” As a six-year-old kid, they go, “Wait a minute, money was the cause. I don’t want money because I don’t want to break up my family when I have one myself.” All this goes in the unconscious mind. Basically, if you’re looking at it from a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, that’s very much a fixed mindset. It would appear that that’s the way we are stuck.

But in comes applied neuroscience. We can go in and we can identify what that limiting belief is and change it. When we change it, it changes the way we show up. That one belief that was holding us down all of a sudden breaks free and it allows us to earn what we are worth rather than what we used to think we were worth.

Fred Diamond: I want to talk about NLP, you mentioned that before. It’s interesting, you see athletes, guys who’ve made it to the major leagues, or the NBA, and then they’re obviously great baseball players, great basketball players. Let’s use basketball for example. Guys who made it to the NBA, so they were in the top 500 people on the planet playing basketball, but they’re okay basketball players, maybe the bottom half. Then something happens, maybe their fifth, sixth year, something clicks for them and they become a great player. They start averaging 20, 25 points a game. Something changes where even though they’re at a high level, something triggered them to even get to the next level.

Talk about why that might happen and how that might happen more appropriately in sales. We meet a lot of people who, especially the junior people listening to today’s show, or people who were junior in their sales career who made a shift and they went to some training, and they read books, and they’re probably listening to podcasts. If they’re listening to this now, obviously they see there’s value in that or they’ve gotten coaching, but then something clicks 5, 10, maybe 12, 15 years in. Why does that happen?

Umar Hameed: People are going about their lives, whether it’s basketball or sales, and everything is going okay, then all of a sudden one day they wake up and they go, “Never again.” All of a sudden it changes the way they show up. It could change in this way. You’ve heard of players that go into a slump, they had one bad outing, and all of a sudden, they change the meaning of that event. That’s what human beings do, is they’re meaning-making machines and that one event haunts them and all of a sudden their whole career goes in a slump.

When I tell people that story, they go, “Yeah, absolutely, that could happen.” But the opposite is true as well, is that they could be playing the game, whatever that game is, really, really well. Then one day something changes, a belief inside them, they make a new meaning. Soon as they do that, all of a sudden they go up to a different level of performance. It could be that they were playing with Michael Jordan, who is really awesome, and that particular day he had a bad day, and it’s like, “I thought he was the best in the world and I could never do what he does.” Just that one little click is enough for them to just aliven and waken up and set the world on fire.

The question is, do you wait for that to accidentally happen or are there technologies out there that allow you to go in and identify those limiting beliefs that are stopping you from executing? More importantly, once you identify it, you can actually change it. When you change it, you can set the world on fire. The question is, is that possible? If it is possible, is it possible for you? Sometimes people go, “Well, that is possible, but it isn’t possible for me.” That’s another belief, right?

Fred Diamond: Yeah. That is one of those fixed mindset things. As you’re talking here, it reminds me of the famous Bruce Springsteen quote from the song Badlands. “You spend your whole life waiting for a moment that just don’t come, don’t waste your time waiting.”

I want to ask you on how we can be intentional about changing our mindset. Before I do, I asked you a couple seconds ago to define NLP, neuro-linguistic programming. Talk about that for a little bit. Then let’s get into some specific things that people can do to not wait their whole life for that moment, but how they can be intentional about hopefully accelerating their path to those moments. Define NLP for us to get started.

Umar Hameed: According to Psychology Today magazine, they had said that NLP is the most powerful technology for change in existence. What NLP is, is really understanding what goes on at an unconscious level, our perception of what’s happening, because there’s models there that we can use to change our behavior quickly and make those changes permanently. The founders of NLP, Richard Bandler and John Grinder, discovered that they could model what people were doing. Because when they asked people, when they do something exceptional, “How did you do that?” Sometimes the answer would be, “That’s easy. You do steps A, B, C, D. That’s how you do that amazing event.” They went to an average person, “How do you do that?” They gave the same answer, “A, B, C, D.” It’s like, “Wait a minute. They both can’t be doing the same thing and getting radically different results. Something must be going on at an unconscious level.”

They developed this toolkit called modeling that allowed them to go in and say, what’s happening at a deep inner level, unconscious level when you, great person, does this amazing thing. They found, “Wait a minute, he’s not even aware that he’s doing these steps internally with his mind.” Once we got those steps, we can go to an average person, show them those steps at an unconscious level, and all of a sudden they start getting amazing results as well. NLP allows you to take mastery over the one thing that you need to, which is your mindset. When you take mastery of your mindset, you change your world in sales, in leadership, and in life and romance

Fred Diamond: Let’s give some examples here of things people can do to shift their mindset. You said that there’s things you can do, things may occur, you may see something, a moment may happen. You may be at an event and you may observe something, but those are fortuitous. Those are great when you have a moment. I’ve done over 700 Sales Game Changers Podcasts, and for people who know, I also do a podcast on Lyme disease, and I’ll hear something from that show that’ll then trigger something which will shift my mindset.

Umar, let’s talk specifically, what can people do who are listening to today’s show, to intentionally make those shifts? Give us some of your things that you do with clients that you’d like to let us know about.

Umar Hameed: In sales, we deal with two things. One of the things is actually selling. If you look in our society beliefs around selling, some of them are positive, but a ton are negative. The other thing is money. Money is what’s happening inside the salesperson’s head. The first step in creating change is figuring out where your financial thermostat is. Fred, I’m going to lead you on this journey and the viewers on this journey on how to determine where your financial thermostat is set.

The first thing you need to do is to take a deep breath and hold it for three seconds and let it out slowly. That allows you to just step into your body so you can pay attention to what’s going on. I’m going to suggest what your annual income should be. I’m going to start low and I’m going to start working my way up higher and higher, and I want you to just pay attention to any thoughts, emotions, or body sensations that come up during this process. Here it goes, “Your annual income should be $50,000 a year. Your annual income should be $80,000 a year. Your annual income should be $100,000 a year. Your annual income should be $250,000 a year. Your annual income should be $500,000 a year, $700,000 a year, a million dollars a year. Your annual income should be $10 million a year.”

For most people, when I go through that exercise and I say numbers lower than what they were expecting, what they report back is, “I felt, huh, you’re not talking to me.” Or some people go, “How dare you suggest I earn such low money?” Beliefs coming up. When I go to what they’re earning right now, oftentimes what I hear back is, “Well, it felt okay. It felt comfortable.” The comfort zone coming in.

Then I ask them, “What was it like when I went slightly above what you’re earning right now?”

What I hear is excitement. “Oh my God, I can’t wait to do this.”

“Then what happened when I went way beyond what you’re earning right now?”

What I hear back is this, is that, “Oh my God, I’ll be working all the time. I won’t be there for my kids. They’ll turn to drugs and start hanging out with the wrong crowd. My spouse is going to leave me, because money causes fights.” All of a sudden you start realizing the beliefs we have around money determine where our financial thermostat is set. If you ask anybody that the thermostat is set lower than they want, and you ask them, “Do you want more money?”


“Are you driven to do it?”


“Are the results showing it?”

It’s like, “No, it’s not showing it.”

The first thing we need to do is figure out where our financial thermostat is set, and then, and only then can we go out and tweak that thermostat so we start earning what we deserve.

Fred Diamond: Actually, as I was listening to you say those numbers, for a couple of them, I was like, “Eh, okay, yeah, I’ve done that. It’s a slam dunk type of thing.” Then as you started getting into the numbers where I am, it was like, “Okay, that’s where I am, but I know there’s potential for more.” Then as you got to the higher numbers, it was like, “Yeah,” and I started noticing myself sitting up a little taller. Then I noticed myself even smiling a little bit at the numbers where I believe, and I’ve been doing some work on this.

For people who are listening, full disclosure, Umar’s been a friend of the Institute for Excellence in Sales since our beginning almost. He’s spoken on our stage a number of times. We’ve actually referred him to a bunch of our customers to do some work. I know you’ve done some work with a lot of them as well. This isn’t the first time that you and I have gone through a process, and then when I got to the higher, higher numbers, it was like, “That probably ain’t going to happen.”

But it’s interesting too, and I know for people listening, you’ve done some work with assessments of sales professionals, and that is something that you need to determine, is how willing or are people comfortable asking for money? Even not just for themselves, the ownership thing you asked before, but we know this, and we’ve talked about this before, one of the major problems in pairing sales professionals is the ability to ask for follow up. In a lot of cases, follow up is asking for the order. That’s something that is a mindset thing. “Am I worthy of asking a client for a million-dollar purchase order?” That’s something that companies need to think about, especially as they’re hiring people for bigger ticket products.

Umar Hameed: What’s interesting is this, is that they have this organization out there called OMG, and they have a sales assessment that’s based on beliefs. One of the things they look for is, “Do you think $500 is a lot of money?” For some salespeople it is like, “No, it’s nothing.” For other salespeople, “Yeah, that’s a lot of money.” It turns out that people that think $500 is a lot of money are dramatically more likely to discount their price, which, as companies, we don’t want our salespeople to do that. We want them to go out there wholeheartedly, bravely, and go ask what they’re worth. Yeah, it’s our own hang-ups around money dictate whether we ask or not.

What’s interesting, we have different rule books for different situations. It could be that if I go and I ask someone for money for a charity event, happy to do it, boldly do it, be a pain in the butt and keep on asking. But for me, all of a sudden I can’t do that. Or I can ask strangers for money, but I can’t ask friends for money. For other people, it’s the opposite way around. I could go to my friends and ask them for money, but I can’t ask a stranger, “Oh my God, what will people think? They’ll think I’m greedy.” All that stuff that’s happening in our head determines how well we do in real life.

Fred Diamond: Let’s be realistic about this. Can mindset shift for everybody? Let’s say you’ve had lifelong challenges with money on the mindset perspective, for whatever the reasons might be. Can people be trained to drop all of those self-limiting beliefs? Can everybody be trained to ask for million-dollar deals, or $10-million deals? The same thing, for a guy who has no problem asking for $100-million deal but the guy who struggles with a half a million, whatever it might be, can mindset change, or even no matter what you do, there’s still going to be some self-limiting beliefs?

Umar Hameed: There’s an old shrink joke, how many shrinks does it take to change a light bulb? The answer is one, but the bulb has to want to change. Oftentimes, when you go in for a salesperson that feels comfortable selling $100,000 deals, but feels super uncomfortable selling half-a-million-dollar deals, and you ask them, “Do you want to sell half-a-million-dollar deals?”

“Absolutely. 100% yes, I want to do that. My whole career is about that.”

It’s like, “Well, why aren’t you doing it?”

They’re like, “I don’t know.”

The way to decode that is this, is that your mind is going to tell you lies, but your body never lies to you. It always tells the truth. There’s books out there that talk about fear, that you’re going into this place and your mind says, “No, no, this is a safe neighborhood, I’ll be perfectly fine.” But your body’s saying, “Run, run, you idiot.” Of course, you get mugged.

When someone goes to do something they really want to do, and their body reacts with anxiety or discomfort, the answer to why that’s happening is not happening in the mind. You need to find it with the body. A good example of that would be, I was working with a client and it’s like, “Okay, you have trouble asking for the sale when it’s a sale that’s much larger than you normally do.”

They said, “Absolutely.”

“Tell me about the last time you went to do one of those things, when you actually asked for that large sale, or you felt so uncomfortable you didn’t. Tell me about that.”

They go, “Yeah, I wanted to ask for it. Then a voice inside my head said, ‘They’re not going to buy from you. There’s no point doing this. They’re going to think you’re overpriced and your company’s too small.’”

That is the clue. That is the tether that you can follow down to the underlying belief that controls it. Once you find that underlying belief, you can change it. Let me give you a tangible example of that.

Working with this realtor who was 21 years old, and he believed deep down that, “I’m too young to be selling to these older people. They won’t take me seriously.” Each time he went to do a sale, one of his sales was smaller, he would take his team leader with him to do those appointments. We found out what uncomfortable feeling happened when he went to go ask that made him think that, “Yeah, I’m too young,” we traced it down to a belief and we changed that belief.

A month later, he did a video testimonial saying, “This entire month I’ve not had that thought that I’m too young come into my head. By the way, my average sale is $600,000. I just listed a three-and-a-half-million-dollar appointment, and my team leader didn’t go on that appointment. I went myself.” The answer is yes, as long as you want to change, we’ll find the belief that’s stopping you from changing and create that change and allow you to step into the person you are always meant to be.

Fred Diamond: If you’re listening to today’s Sales Game Changer podcast, you’re obviously investing in yourself. You’re investing in things that are required of you to take your sales career to the next level. Umar, in the time we have remaining, why don’t you take us through maybe one or two other exercises that you do with sales professionals to help them get past this? It’s a great topic. It all comes down to mindset, I believe. It’s interesting, there’s a famous quote that I used to always talk about. It’s the Henry Ford quote, “If you believe you can or believe you can’t, you’re right.” I used to always think it was just pretty basic. It’s like, “Yeah, you can do something. Or if you believe you can’t, you’re not going to be able to.”

I’ve come to realize that that is really all about our basic mindset. Not just, “Can I get a sale today? If I say I can, I can. If I say I can’t, obviously I won’t.” I guess now we’re talking here, it’s growth versus fixed. But that whole concept applies to everything in your life. Not just, “Can I grow my career as a sales professional or can’t I?” But, “Can I make more phone calls? Can I make better phone calls? Can I lead my team? Can I help my company get to the next level? Can I help my territory become one of the top territories for the company? Can I do the things? Can I have a happy life? Can I have my own podcast?” Et cetera.

Why don’t you take us through in the time we have remaining here maybe an exercise or two, or something you want to discuss that would help the people listening figure out how to get to the next level with their mindset?

Umar Hameed: I heard this the other day and it just blew my mind. I’m not a religious person, but the person said this, “God put you here on earth to succeed. Act like it.” It just made me think about when we were babies, when we were just powerless lumps of blob, we controlled the world around us. These giant 30-foot adults around us basically fed us, changed our diapers, and didn’t even complain about it. They celebrated, “Oh my god, the first poopie.” When we were toddlers, we would fall down. If we didn’t get what we wanted, we would cry, look cute, whatever. We achieved what we wanted to achieve and somewhere along the line, we forgot that. We’ve become adults and we go out there and we act like we are not deserving.

The one thing I want you to do, dear listeners, dear viewers, is this, is that you have to 100% love yourself, honor yourself, respect yourself wholeheartedly, without any reservation whatsoever. It sounds like, “Well, that sounds like it’s ego or self-centered.” No, if you are less than you need to be, you can’t go out there and help other people in the way that you want because they’re going to sense there’s a disconnect between what you are saying and who you are. When you realize that you love yourself, are you a perfect person? No. Am I a perfect person? No. But if we accept ourselves for who we are and try and do better, but we love ourselves for who we are, we honor ourselves, we respect ourselves, we have a solid foundation.

That solid foundation allows us to go after bigger challenges and it allows us to do it in an authentic way. People come around us and they feel safe because it’s like, “Hey, I can trust you. You want me to invest a million dollars in this thing? Absolutely, 100% I believe.” But if you do not have that self-love and that self-respect and you honor yourself in the way that you want, then there’s a disconnect. When there’s a disconnect, human beings can sense it. Then they shy away from, “Wait a minute, I’m not sure I want to do this.” That’s number one, is that love yourself is the first step to being a fully functioning adult, a fully functioning salesperson, a fully functioning leader.

Fred Diamond: Before I ask you for your final action step, I want to ask you, what is your advice for leaders, for sales managers who are managing people? We got a lot of people who listen to the Sales Game Changers Podcast. What would be your advice for maybe a first or second level sales leader who is tasked with helping his team or her team grow? Give us some advice on how they could be better at helping the people on their team take their mindset to where it needs to be.

Umar Hameed: For leaders, whether you are a new leader or a seasoned leader, this is a technique that I think is going to help you become a better leader. Because you can’t be that one leader for everybody, because people have different needs. The question is, how do you figure out what needs that particular employee that you want to lead, that salesperson needs in order to thrive? One of the ways to do that is if you ask them, oftentimes they’ll give you the answer they think they should give, or the answer they think you need to hear. But one of the ways to get around that is at a casual moment, you’re at the coffee machine together or out for lunch, ask this simple question, “Which teacher in high school inspired you the most, that got the best work out of you?”

They go, “Oh my God, my elementary school teacher,” or, “This college professor,” everybody has a teacher that they went, “Oh my God, that person was amazing.”

Say, “Really? What did they do to get the best work out of you?” They’ll tell you.

The reason they’ll tell you without any filters is because you’re not asking them about, “I’m your manager. Tell me how I can lead you.” It’s a different answer. They go back to that moment in time where it was that magical time where they had that teacher and they, “Oh my God, this teacher would basically tell us what he wanted and then basically let us go out there and go explore.” Other people would tell you, “Well, they showed me step by step and then they did this.”

Just from that simple question in an unguarded moment, you get the blueprint of what that human being needs for you to get the best performance out of them. What I want you to do is to be like the KGB and have a dossier on each one of the people you lead, so that if you are doing a great job, you get those people that you’re leading can step into your position. When they do, you hand them that dossier on everybody that they’ll be leading. That allows you to get to the next level yourself. Sometimes you ask a question that comes out of the blue that reveals everything.

Fred Diamond: A lot of leaders, especially new, they think they have to have their process. For me to get to the next level of management because I was just promoted to that, I need to have my way of doing it and I’m going to make my mark. But I love your answer there about customizing or modifying how you lead each person. Because each person, like you just talked about in the beginning of the show, they’re coming from different places. They most likely want to succeed. If they’re not in sales, they want to succeed. Everybody who’s listening to today’s Sales Game Changers Podcast, or works at a company that’s a partner of the Institute for Excellence in Sales, they want to be good at sales. Now, they may not want to take their earnings to five levels above. They may want to maintain whatever it might be, because they want to balance work versus their ability to earn. Doesn’t really matter. They still want to be successful or else they’re not going to be in this position.

We talked to our good friend today, Umar Hameed. We talked about mindset, like we typically do with Umar. You can find Umar on LinkedIn. Umar, that’s the best way and easiest way to find you. I encourage people to reach out. Full disclosure, I’ve had many heart-to-heart conversations with Umar about how to grow the institute, how to grow my personal career. We’ve also had some conversations about personal things that were in the way slowing me from where I was willing to get to. I encourage people to reach out to him and utilize his services to help grow your sales organization.

Umar, you’ve given us a lot of great ideas. Give us one final thought for the listeners who are either reading the transcript or listening to today’s show on how they can take their sales career to the next level.

Umar Hameed: The one thing I want you to know with certainty is there’s a better you inside you. Instead of being something unreachable, what I want you to know is it’s within your grasp. All you need to do is just ask the simple question, “What does my future look like if I actually reach my full potential?” Just let yourself daydream and the vision will appear. That’ll be the first step to achieving it, is realizing, “Oh my God, I could effortlessly talk to clients and get them to say yes. I could feel comfortable and powerful going out there in my sales career. I could be a great mentor for people to help them grow and become better salespeople as well.” All it takes is knowing that one truth, and this is a truth, is there is a better you inside you. It’s a joyous journey to find that version of you so you become the person you were always meant to be.

Fred Diamond: Thank you, Umar Hameed. My name is Fred Diamond. This is the Sales Game Changers Podcast.

Transcribed by Mariana Badillo

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