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[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a replay of the Optimal Sales Mindset Webinar hosted by Fred Diamond, Host of the Sales Game Changers Podcast, on April 9, 2020. It featured sales leaders Diane Cashin and Mike Schmidtmann.]
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Mike’s presentation begins at the 4 minute mark. Diane takes over at minute 26.
EPISODE 246: Sales Leaders Diane Cashin and Mike Schmidtmann Offer Rich Insights as Re-Opening Accelerates for Sales Teams Across the Globe
MIKE’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Every successful person I know has been defined by difficulty at some point in their career that they fought through, that’s without exception. These times are opportunities for us to power through it, to learn from it, to profit from it, this is an opportunity. It is a gift for us so don’t squander it, take advantage of it.”
DIANE’S TIP TO EMERGING SALES LEADERS: “Awareness is the most important pivotal moment for you. When you notice something showing up for you just take a moment and notice it. That observing capacity makes it easier for you then to move and in these moments I’d just invite you to say, “What is one thing that you would do to move yourself forward?”
Fred Diamond: Alright, thank you so much. Welcome to the Thursday Institute for Excellence in Sales, Sales Game Changers webinar, it’s on mindset. We have two great mindset experts, we have Mike Schmidtmann, sales expert and world-renowned sales coach and Diane Cashin who’s the author of Squeeze More Life out of Time.
Mike Schmidtmann: Alright, everyone. Thank you, welcome and thank you Fred, Diane, I’m very excited to hear your session in just a minute. I’m here to talk about five ways to make your mindset your competitive advantage. First of all, Fred set this up, you have age before beauty so I’m the guy who’s lived through a few recessions. I want to talk first about economic cycles having been through a few of these my day. I first got into sales in the 80s and you can see over the past 50 years we’ve had about 6 recessions.
What’s interesting about these recessions is what’s happened, who are the groups and what are the companies that were formed out of this? You’ll see in the 70s, Apple was formed. In the 80s, Dell, in the 90s, Google, in the 2000s, YouTube and then in the last recession, Facebook, Airbnb and Uber. Why is it that some of the biggest, greatest, most profitable, fastest-growing, most influential companies in the world were all formed during recessions? That’s because it forces people to do things differently, it creates opportunities so first and foremost, recessions are opportunities for us. It forces our customers and clients to think differently, act differently and it presents opportunities all the time. This pandemic, as terrible as it is, will have winners and losers so we can choose to take advantage of this then turn this to our advantage.
As Andy Grove says, “Bad companies are ruined by crisis, good companies survive them, great companies are improved by them.” Andy Grove, the founder of Intel. Every time we have an economic recession like this, there are winners or losers but some of the best companies were formed in the last recessions and 10 years from now we’ll be looking back at this pandemic as why some companies came to the forefront. Similarly, in the last 10 or 12 years this has been the longest uninterrupted growth period in the last 100 years. If ever there were a time that we could withstand a recession, it’s now. Companies have 12 years of profits salted away in many cases, the companies are doing okay and nobody is enjoying this difficult time but having said that, there’s never been a better time for companies to withstand it.
Overall, we’re actually in very good shape to withstand a downturn like this. As a matter of fact, it was going to probably happen whether this pandemic happened or not. First of all, economic cycles can work to your advantage. Secondly, what’s the biggest problem we in sales have all the time? That status quo, urgency. “How do I get my customers to take action? How do I get them to move? I think I’ll just think about it.” Your biggest problem just went away because your customers and clients need to do something now so urgency is working in your favor. People just can’t sit still, they can’t do the status quo. Look at it this way, this is maybe a typical buying cycle so think of an iPhone. I’ve got daughters and they’ll get an iPhone and they love it, and that’s the peak here, they’re happy and then overtime the iPhone gets older, the case cracks a little bit. Within a couple years their friends all have cooler iPhones and now they can’t stand their iPhone anymore, they’ve got to get a new one. Then they’re happy again, then it cracks again and the newer phones have cooler features and once again, so this is a typical cycle. The problem with this from a sales perspective, this is what I call the order taking zone which means all you’re doing is when people get a little bit upset they buy stuff but it’s something easy to postpone. If for any reason you don’t have money, there’s nothing really urgent and critical about what you’re doing and it’s easy to postpone it.
These sales jobs, if you’re in the order taking zone, you’re not making much money because there’s no reason any company would pay you a lot of money to do something that anybody can do. The challenge is for sales, the sales zone amps up the customer expectations higher and when they’re down in despair they’re also more motivated to act. The sales zone is where your customers are more excited than usual, more anticipatory, more opportunistic about the new technologies and services that you offer and the down is when they’ve got to do something. This sales zone actually cures your biggest problem which is status quo, “I think I’ll think about it”, fat, dumb and happy. Your customers’ clients cannot be fat, dumb and happy now so having said that, Fred, I’m just curious from your perspective since you deal with dozens and dozens of sales leaders and hundreds of companies, is this something you’re seeing as well?
Fred Diamond: We are, but we’re seeing a couple different things. By the way, anyone listening to the webinar, watching the webinar’s questions, just go to your questions panel and submit them. We’re basically seeing three things, Mike. We’re seeing some of our members of the Institute for Excellence in Sales, let’s say those who are servicing state and local government, they’re working around the clock right now because medical supplies and things like that are in such high demand. They’re looking for ways for those vendors to supply them, they’re working around the clock and then you have the companies, we have one member that services the entertainment industry so they’re not really buying a whole lot right now, what they’re doing is they’re flipping it to talk to them about planning and things that you might look in the future and they’re beginning to move back into sales.
Then there’s the other 70% that are in the land where you’re talking about right now where the phones aren’t ringing off the hook, the customer is figuring out what they’re going to be doing because their customers are figuring out what they’re going to be doing as well. It looks like that 70% is beginning to get a little bit tighter because people want to get back to business and work. What would you say to those people? The ones where the phones aren’t ringing off the hook and the business hasn’t gone out of business but their normal, standard, “We still have customers, we need to service them”?
Mike Schmidtmann: I’m going to get to that, Fred and that is a great point. At the end of this we’re going to raise that very issue, when people slow down purchases. Again, my message here to everyone on this session is to turn this to your advantage and that’s exactly what I’m going to talk about. If times are slow, how can we turn that to a competitive advantage for us? That’s exactly what I’m going to be talking about. One thing that forces us to do, Fred, when businesses slow down, when they’re scared, when they’re afraid to take risk, they’re forced to innovate. This is where we can come in handy as well, again, the order taking zone for salespeople is when they’re just collecting orders. We’re not in the order taking zone anymore, nobody’s order taking but there are, as you said, pockets of growth and opportunity always. The challenge for us in sales, we’re experts on our services, our products, our solutions and our benefits, the customers aren’t so when customers are saying, “How am I going to deal with this? How am I going to adapt? How am I going to keep my business stable?”
We can be providing them answers and solutions by marrying our solutions, technologies and offers to what the customers need. It’s up to us to do that, the customers are not experts on our business, we are. We’ve got to go to them with ideas and say, “Okay, you’ve got this business problem.” I was just dealing this morning, Fred, with a company that has a big software package for nonprofits, and what’s the big problem with nonprofits? Nonprofits rely on big events with people to raise money.
Guess what? There aren’t any more big events with lots of people to raise money, so the nonprofits are freaking out. Our story to this software company is, “You need to show your nonprofit clients how to raise money apart from group events” and that’s an opportunity for this company to supply technology for that. There’s always opportunity when there’s a challenge so here’s an example of one from years ago, we can use this in illustration. We’re all familiar with Southwest Airlines and many of you have maybe heard the story of how they came up with the idea for Southwest Airlines in Denny’s restaurant. It was on the back of a napkin and they said, “Okay, we’ve got three cities in Texas, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio. We’re not going to compete with American Airlines, Delta and United, we’re going to compete with the bus companies. People that want to go from point A to point B fast and cheap, let’s do it.” Southwest Airlines bought four airplanes and they did this.
They had two airplanes going clockwise from San Antonio to Dallas to Houston, and they had two airplanes going counter-clockwise from Houston to Dallas to San Antonio so everybody’s happy. Then the recession hit. At this point, Southwest was doing business pretty much like American and Delta which means that they had a first class, they had a business class, they had assigned seating and they said, “Okay, recession” and they lost one of their planes so they went from four planes to three. They said, “We can’t do our routes with three planes. If we cut back our trips, they’re cut our revenues and we’re going to lose the third plane, then we’ll be down to two, then there’ll be the one, it’s a death spiral.” They realized they couldn’t do business the way they did any further, they had to make a change, so how do we do it? They asked the question, “What if we do the same number of flights with only three planes instead of four?” In doing so, they had to get rid of the old status quo, they had to get rid of business class, coach and first class and they pretty much said, “We have to do the turnarounds instead of an hour and a half at the airport, it has to be 25 minutes.” So instead of assigning all these seats and taking all this time, they said, “Get in line, get in, buckle up and let’s get going” and they would do this again and again.
They were able to do just as many flights with three planes as they had with four and because of this, it lowered the cost structure and the rest is history, they’re now the largest US provider of air travel and they’ve maintained that seating policy to this day. In fact, Herb Kelleher, at the time the president of Southwest said, “If we hadn’t had the recession we never would have been forced to make the changes that transformed our company.” This is an example where a business challenge forces you to innovate and try new things, that’s #3. #4, guess what? Fat, dumb and happy is no longer a choice for us, we’ve got to focus so what do we focus on? As Fred said, there are always pockets of the economy even in tough times that are busy so these are what’s called the essential industries and there are 17 of them, and all of these people are essential, they’re busy. If you’ve been to a grocery store you see how busy it is and try and buy toilet paper somewhere, you can’t. I was at a Home Depot over the weekend and they had a line out the door for people going in doing home improvement construction projects. There are sectors of the economy and as you said, Fred, there are several other ones as well that are busy right now.
In any economic decline there are people who are profiting and yes, restaurants are down, catering down, hotels down, travel down. I get that, but food is up. Many categories, there’s a hundred of fast growing industries and then stay away from the ones like apparel or accessories that aren’t essential, they’re down. There’s always opportunity and for those of us in sales, focus on the opportunity that’s ahead of us. That’s four, I’m just wondering, Fred. That ties back to your comment before about focusing on hot industries, anything to add to that?
Fred Diamond: Mike, I have a question for you. Innovation, as we think about our mindset right now, innovation’s a great one and you gave us a great example. Everyone right now is seeing Zoom and other types of technologies that are just killing it right now. I’d like to ask you for two brief examples. Give us a way that a sales manager can be innovative right now, and how about the individual rep? The person who’s the account manager who has a quota, has a territory. Give us one or two ideas on how the sales manager could be innovative. We get it with the companies coming and creating new ideas, but we’ve got a whole bunch of salespeople from around the globe on today’s webinar and they’re giving us an hour of their time thinking about, “How can I thrive, how can I transform?” In some cases, “How can I survive, how can I get better?” Give us one of your ideas, your sales expertise.
Mike Schmidtmann: I think first of all, Fred, that is a great question. That’s actually the last point. How do we take action, what do we do? I’ll just answer it this way, for most people on this call, your biggest problem in the past year or two, whatever, has been, “I wish I could do this but I don’t have time.” You’ve got time now. In my industry, I’m in information technology and I see people running around with their hair on fire all the time. If you’ve been running around with your hair on fire, I’m guessing it’s slowing down a little bit treat that as a gift. Nobody is wishing this on anybody but think of it as a gift, you’ve been given the gift of time. You’ve never had time to do these things, how many people have books on the book shelf that you haven’t read? What can you do with that time?
One is you can learn your market better, you can take that time that you never had before to learn your customers and applications better than ever. You can be profiling people to call, you can be profiling hot applications, hot businesses, you can be spending your time doing research that you never had time for before. Think of all the books on your shelf that you wanted to read, all the books that people have recommended. Guess what? You’ve got time so don’t devote your whole day to reading but maybe an hour a day like Warren Buffet does or Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey. Devote time every day to knocking down that backlog of books or even audio books that you wanted to read. How about a certification? What if you say, “I’d really like to have a sales certification, a products certification, a service. How many of you have certifications that would help you be more credible in your industry but you’ve never had time to do it? Well, you’ve got time now, you’ve been given the gift of time. Use it to get those certifications that will pay of dividends for you down the road. We talked to Fred about the quarantine 15, how about personal habits? All the, “I have been too busy to do this”, now you’ve got time maybe to do the workouts that you always wanted to do, maybe it’s time to implement new habits with your diet, exercise, lifestyle. All these things you didn’t have time for, you’ve got time for now and if you have these small wins, maybe if you lose a few pounds, you get in a little bit better shape when we come out of this recession your head is going to be in a better place because you’ve applied yourself, you’ve achieved something, you haven’t lost ground at all.
You’ve used that time productively to help yourself and your career be more effective so you’ve got that option. You can use this as a gift to do all the things you never had time for before and do it or you can be roadkill and none of us want that so let’s take action and do some things. Fred, we did our podcast a while back on salespeople that earn a million dollars a year or more so how do you earn a million dollars? They have great success habits and if you want to get to that million dollar a year income territory, what better time to start implementing better habits for yourself? Learning your product, learning your applications, learning your market, doing the spade work so when we come out of this you can take advantage of it. It’s a great time to build your network because other people like yourself need the support and your positive example and you can feed from that and find other people who are in the same boat you are, maybe even are going after the same kind of customer you are and you can collaborate and trade leads. It’s a great time to build your network virtually, of course.
My last final thought is think of the economy like bears in hibernation. Yes, they’re not as active but they’re healthy. Yes, they’re not buying as much, they’re not active as much but when the winter is over they’re going to climb out of that cave and they are going to be hungry, and they’re going to want to eat and eat, and they want to get active. If you’re there in the right place at the right time you can take advantage of that when that economy comes back. Who’s going to benefit from it? You will. That’s my sermon for the day, Fred. Economic cycles can work to your advantage, this cures the biggest problem you’d have which is urgency, it forces not just yourself but your customers to be innovative and that provides opportunities. This forces you to focus on what’s important and it’s a great time to take action on all those things you never had time for before. With that, I’ll pass it back to you.
Fred Diamond: Mike, thank you so much. Alright, speaking about Mike’s last point which was you could use this opportunity to read a book, we’re very fortunate to have Diane Cashin. She’s a coach, she’s a consultant, she’s worked for great companies like Cisco, she is the author of a fantastic book called Squeeze More Life out of Time, you can see it over my back shoulder. By the way, Mike was a guest on the Sales Game Changers podcast about a year and a half ago, Diane is also a future guest, her show will be live sometime in the next four weeks. Diane, it’s great to have you on the sales mindset webinar and I’m excited for what you’re going to tell us. Once again, if anybody has a question submit them via your panel. After Diane completes, we’re going to open up the floor for questions for Mike and Diane.
Diane Cashin: Thank you so much for the opportunity and I know that your listeners are getting wonderful sage advice from all of the thought leaders in the sales industry. I have 25 years in sales and business development as a manager and a front line contributor so I can bring that lens but I thought, “How can I really make a difference for them today?” We really want to focus on optimal mindset. Fred knows this about me but a lot of you guys don’t. How can I bring real insight on what an optimal mindset can do? I’ll share with you that last May I was in a near death car accident. After jaws of life and a helicopter ride, a month in the hospital and six months to learn to walk again optimal mindset is how I lived every minute of every day and I did apply the techniques in the book which was great but it really came down to just being in the moment of what is one little thing we can do to keep moving forward. It gets harder to do when there’s so many complexities and things are coming at you from all these different directions and you don’t feel like you have control.
I now live in Delaware and that wasn’t a part of my plan but my whole world imploded in July especially of last year and I’ve had to take a moment to say everything I thought to be true, everything I was working for would change but it’s simply a change. It was big change so my mindset really mattered so what I wanted to do to talk with you a little bit today is I’m going to share some pieces of a multi-day workshop that I do for sales executives and leaders on creating big transformation. A lot of it is we traditionally are looking at what we do every day. What I want to do is take a moment to really go to the mushy marshmallow center of the human experience and what you do every day more from who you are.
We have four parts that we’re going to come through today, we’re going to do it super-fast so buckle up, here we go. I wanted to make it a little fun because the last year for me has been very serious so playful, fun, a little bit of levity but we want to look at four spaces. Who are you being, how are you expanding what you know, from this place of awareness and knowing, how are you continuing to grow? And as we all know, in order to keep growing you have to be in action to do it. We’re talking about this in the context of what’s happening right now in sales. What we’re going to talk about today you can use every single day so uncertainty is always going to be with us, just like Mike shared.
There’s day and there’s night, there’s up and there’s down, the fluctuations are always going to be there so the question is who are you going to be when it’s hard and how do you tap into it? Because we’re all trained with our genius and there’s a lot of people who are excellent in sales but what makes you so unique? I want to share a context to change your perspective of it. When you think about who you are, a lot of our days we get up, we lead with our mind, we’re looking at what we’ve got to do, how we’ve got to do it so we go into thinking about it, creating those to-do lists and then we get into action with our bodies and then we spend most of the day there. 80% of our time, our mind is running our show and we spend a lot of time wishing that we could just find love, peace, calm, quiet, we think about those vacations. How do we find some happiness? Often times when we start our days from this place of ‘what do I need to do’ as a human doing and you’re thinking about that and then you’re in action with your body, you’re creating a place of continual churn.
Sometimes it’s pushing, persevering, striving. You’re in action yet it doesn’t always feel good so sometimes you have to stop for a second and say, “Wait a minute, what if the order is wrong?” We hear all the time we’re body, mind and spirit or body, mind and soul and I intentionally call out four categories. You are body, mind and soul but what if the order is wrong? What if it’s soul, mind and body? If you were to think of the places when we really have the human connection, where humanity, love, peace and joy come from, it’s usually from somewhere like in your heart center area. People can relate to this as your soul, your essence, yourself, your heart, your being, yourself and it’s really what makes you very unique. Some people refer to it as divine spark but this is where we really wake up every morning saying, “I want to create more love, peace, joy, wealth, health, happiness, I want to have a good life” and at the same time we have these fears, pain, sadness and loss. A lot of times our soul, when it gets depleted – this is where our personality, our animation comes from – when it gets depleted we reach to something bigger than us through spirit.
A lot of people through religion, we’ll reach to the creator, their divine source to refill them back up. This is what we look at, who are you, who are you being and what if your soul could then guide your mind? If you think of it this way, your soul is focused on your desires and your purpose in your life. Your mind is in action to create and imagine and then your body is in action to do it but if you just let your mind run on automatic and you step over what your soul truly desires, craves, you can then just become that human doing. When you think about this, the best way to think of your soul is if you were to write down 5 adjectives that really describe who you are when you are your best and your greatest, that’s your unique attributes and talents.
From that place, if you’re not sure of who you are, call five friends and ask them, “Who am I being when I’m my best and greatest?” Write those things down and then keep them handy. I’m going to move to the next part but before I jump there I know, Fred, this is a topic that takes people to the mushy marshmallow center, it’s kind of uncomfortable because we always relate to this part as, “Oh, that’s where your emotions are” and actually, it’s not. It’s where your power is, it’s where your uniqueness is because we can all be great at knowing our product portfolio or being great at selling our solution and competitive knowledge as we all have to do in what we do for our profession every day, but who are you being and what makes you so unique? Are you tapping into that and bringing that to the show when you show up in life and in business? Anything you’re hearing out there and seeing, Fred?
Fred Diamond: Once again, if anybody has any question, submit them. We have a question here. I know that you coach sales leaders and CEOs around the world on how to get the most out of themselves. Again, your book is called Squeeze More Life out of Time and one of the challenges right now is everybody’s home so you’re with yourself 24 hours a day. Of course, we’re always with ourselves 24 hours a day but now you’re really with yourself 24 hours a day and we have this whole world of uncertainty of the world and we have this whole uncertainty about me and my family and then we have this whole uncertainty about my company and me as a sales professional. A lot of times when we coach sales professionals on mindset like Mike does, it’s about how do you get the most out of yourself, how do you stay at a high level, how do you remove things? Right now we have so much time with ourselves so the ability to do what you just said which is to understand that is something that’s quite critical.
Diane Cashin: It’s true and I always think of ourselves as 360 degrees views of our lives. I know we’re talking about the sales aspect of us but most of us are doing some sales profession because we want to support our dreams, our children, our family, our goals, our adventures and such. When you think of 360 degree view of who you are and you are to stand in the circle at the center of your universe, of your own life, what is it you truly want to create? That can come from anything so in this category of knowing there’s only one you in the whole universe and it took all time and centuries and every alignment of the gene pool of your parent’s side that had to come together for you to be created. You’re truly unique and truly miraculous not just when you’re a baby but right now, you’re truly miraculous but you know what is best for you so while you can take all this input and guidance from all these different people as gifts, you have to try them on to see what fits because you have your own superpowers.
You know you have your intuition, your purpose, your dreams, your goals and your unique talents so from that place of knowing, this is usually what is calling to us whispering or sometimes yelling at us what we should be doing. In the midst of all of that 360 degree view of creation we get afraid. Let’s talk about fear because it’s the biggest disruptor that I face with all of my clients no matter how powerful, it could be a solo entrepreneur. We all get afraid, it’s a human natural way of experiencing this and I probably should have made this a poll but often times when we lead with our minds it creates these fears about us, the stories that we have. We have had life experiences, some of it didn’t go so well so we learned to survive and adapt and from these places of fear it will get in your way. I wanted to put a list up of a few things and take a look for yourself.
What are the fears that you have and especially now, what are you afraid of? Are you afraid of losing your job or a reduction in force? Are you afraid you just can’t get a client on the phone? It creates these stories and these narratives that then have you switch out of being your best and greatest. You start getting into hyper performance, you might over-prepare, you might get nervous or anxious, you might be really distracted or not present and you start not being in service to your best and greatest because your fear is now modifying how you can behave. You might talk to people differently, you might get competitive or controlling, you might start micromanaging. There’s all these different ways that we switch from being our best and greatest when fear shows up. Fred, any questions that people are sharing around what their fears might be or what’s showing up for them now especially with the Coronavirus and the economy? There’s a lot going on politically, we’re in the election year so the world is complicated, there’s a lot that can trigger fear that might be getting in the way. Anybody sharing anything?
Fred Diamond: A couple people here chimed in that they agree and you could probably add another 20 things specifically as it relates to the moments that we’re going through right now, so keep going. How do we get beyond this? That’s the whole point.
Diane Cashin: Here’s the secret sauce, this is the recipe. Awareness is the most important pivotal moment for you. When you notice something showing up for you just take a moment and notice it. “I’m afraid of being judged” or, “I’m afraid of losing my job”, “I’m afraid that I might be wrong.” Whatever it is for you and it doesn’t necessarily even need to be fear, it could be, “I’m feeling anxious, I’m feeling depressed, I’m feeling frustrated.” It’s usually a negative emotion that we really want to pay attention to because that’s not serving us any longer, it’s an emotion that isn’t going to be in support of what you want to create and you being your best and greatest. Noticing is really important. “Look at that, look what’s showing up right now, I’m afraid of being judged because I’m going to present right now for IES.” I’m aware that I’m afraid of maybe hyper-performance or a fear of being judged. From that place of awareness I can move to the next part and say, “Okay Diane, what are you winning by feeling like that?”
Usually when it’s something negative that’s in our head creating anxiety, depression, fear or frustration we’re not winning anything. Then you ask yourself the next question, “What’s the cost that I’m paying?” I may not be able to give my gift to the world, I may isolate, I may avoid, I may drink too much. What is the price you pay when this fear or this emotion is showing up? You can also get really clear of what’s missing in the way of what I want so if I can come through this and address that gap or obstacle, then I can really get focused on what it is I need right now. A lot of times it’s easy to step out of it like if you’re on the court or in the storm, whichever way you want to look at it, and you have this sense of awareness, if you extract yourself out and pretend you’re observing your role model with the same situation, “I wonder what my role model would do.”
That observing capacity makes it easier for you then to move forward and often times as sales professionals we are superstars singing for the fences, we are the fearless leaders but sometimes we can over-complicate it and in these moments I’d just invite you to say, “What is one thing that you would do to move yourself forward?” Sometimes it’s a really small thing and I’ll share a little funny story here. Before the accident I used to travel all over the world and jump in helicopters and photograph things but after the accident I had to sleep pretty much in the same position for about three months, I had a commode in my room and it was a simple thing. What was one thing I could do today to make my life feel extraordinary? It didn’t mean make a million dollars. Wherever you find yourself, you can do one thing to move yourself forward and that day the funny story was, “Today my big travel adventure is I’m not going to use the commode, I’m going to try to use the actual bathroom.” That would have been a big win for me and it’s that kind of optimal mindset when you set that intention, my mind would then get into action to get my body to do that. I could create it from that context and leaders are especially good at this, they’re always aware, they’re always noticing but they do this very silently and they stay in this place of these attributes: honesty, sense of humor, ability to delegate and trust people, they’re really great communicators, they’re confident, they’re committed, they’ve got this great positive attitude, they apply a lot of creativity, they trust their intuition and they inspire others. That’s a list from Forbes and I wanted to bring that up here because when we are coming from a place of fear it’s really easy to switch away from those leadership attributes to some of the things I talked about before.
Fred Diamond: Diane, we’re getting a lot of questions coming in from the audience here and we want to be respectful, we told people we would wind down at 2:50. If you want to give your final thought, then I want to get to some of these questions because we’ve got a couple great ones coming in.
Diane Cashin: The last part of this piece because the rest is more how-to stuff I’ll share, but every moment of every day you’re standing at this place of choice. You can do this automatic predictable thing that feels comfortable and sometimes that can create worry, fear, stories, more control because you might be afraid. If you want to really create this future state, as Mike is sharing, of where you’re going, understanding all the things that are happening, the goal is in those moments. What is the most ideal or empowering choice? It doesn’t have to be a big one. When you make the ideal choice it is in service of your best and greatest, you can accept exactly where you are, believe in yourself. It creates more trust and a more peaceful and confident way of being. That’s in the knowing piece and then the growing piece we can answer probably during the Q&A as some of the examples of how to apply these things in addition to the stuff that Mike shared.
Fred Diamond: I want to move to the questions here, I’m going to make myself the presenter. I want to thank again Diane, Mike, we’ve got a couple great questions here. If you can keep your answers relatively brief, what am I losing out by not taking advantage of this time? Interesting question. Mike, you deal with a lot of high-performing sales professionals so what am I losing out if I don’t take advantage of some of the suggestions you had on your last line?
Mike Schmidtmann: What do they lose by not doing this? I think status quo is a recipe for mediocrity and loss, fails. I think if there’s ever a time to change the status quo, now is the time.
Fred Diamond: Diane, I have a question from you that comes in from the audience here. Since emotion is so driving our current lives, jobs and personal situations, how do we project calm to our customers to gain trust and not come off as ambulance-chasing? Mike, you can give your thoughts on that, too. We just ended the quarter two weeks ago which is traditionally a time when a lot of people try to get as many sales as possible but how do we maintain calm? How do we get out mindset focus so that we’re not like, “Please, we’re going out of business, I need you.” How do we focus on that?
Diane Cashin: I’ll do this quick like a bunny but it’s up to you to set your intentions in the morning. Lots of breaths, be excited about what lies ahead in the day and then set your intentions. “Today I need to be confident, today I need to be patient” and then focus on three things only you can do today to move that forward. From that place, when you show up with your clients, I’m going to boldly say it’s not about you at all. It’s not about your number, I know that’s in your head, I know you had a forecast to do but really what it is is you’ve got to show up and just care. You’re hearing this everywhere but when you connect with them, try to do it on voice, try to do it on video, see them, make a connection.
Empathy, patience, kindness all matter, acknowledge them, ask them good questions that start with ‘what’, that’s what your best leaders do, they ask questions. Then what do they need? What can I do to make any difference for you today? What is your biggest challenge today or what do you see on the other side of this? What can I do to begin planning for you? Show them respect for their time because they’re trying to do all kinds of stuff as well as manage their stuff at home, make sure you’re focusing about them and then when you are engaging take any action you can to support them. Understand their bigger context in addition to the deal but you do have situations and you have a relationship where you do have to ask questions because you have to let your managers know about forecast. I would just say you can ask them specifically, “What do you need in terms of this particular sales opportunity in terms of timeline?” Create that respect between each other because they need to understand what you’re dealing with as well. Then if you have a space to say to them, “I hear you want to slide this to the right”, you can start asking curiosity questions of, “What if this…?” or, “What would be different?” and then just be very respectful. Like Mike said, innovate with them. It’s not a push, it’s collaborate and innovate with them and if it does come down that it needs to slide you can have a real honest conversation with your management team. Also, again take good care of your managers as well because they’ve got a lot coming at them. What do they need each day? What do your clients need, what do you need, what does your management team as well as your family?
Fred Diamond: Mike, we have a question for you. I know you’ve worked with a lot of sales managers who manage people who are relatively new to sales and of course people who are senior in their sales career. What would you tell someone who’s in their first or second job? They’re still learning sales, they haven’t been through 9/11, they haven’t been through the 2008 recession, they haven’t been through that whole thing, they’re new to sales. They’re in their first or second job, they’re still trying to figure out their process, their flow, what they’re good at. What would be some of your recommendations for them today to help them take their sales mindset to an optimal level?
Mike Schmidtmann: That is a great question. A high percentage of people get into sales and quit out of frustration so that’s an occupational hazard. The mantra I have for all new salespeople is this and this is exactly your topic today, Fred, it’s a mindset issue. My statement is purely this profession pays a lot of money because it’s hard. If it were not hard we wouldn’t need to pay you a lot of money, we’d pay you minimum wage so the fact that it’s hard is good. The fact that it’s difficult is good, if it were easy it wouldn’t pay much, folks. If you want to earn a lot of money you need to get good at what you do so embrace the difficulty and be glad it’s hard, that’s my mindset issue. If you give up you’re not going to succeed not just in sales but anything, anybody who wants to succeed needs to stick with it and get really good at what they do. The nice thing about sales, there’s nothing that pays more, better, faster than sales if you’re good at what you do.
Fred Diamond: I want to thank Diane Cashin, the author of Squeeze More Life out of Time and Mike Schmidtmann who’s a sales trainer to the many companies around the world, he’s also spoken at the Institute for Excellence in Sales many times, his podcast is available at salesgamechangerspodcast.com/mikeschmidtmann and Diane’s will be available probably in early May. You’ve given us a lot of great ideas, we had a lot of people from around the globe watching today. Briefly, just give us one final thought to inspire the people watching the webinar today. Again, this will also be a Sales Game Changers podcast. Diane, give us something positive to leave on.
Diane Cashin: I would just say keep taking exquisite care of yourself, be your best and greatest. I know that’s two, but go out there and love up – not literally – but love up your clients and let them know you care.
Fred Diamond: Mike, why don’t you give us a final thought to inspire our webinars watchers today?
Mike Schmidtmann: Every successful person I know has been defined by difficulty at some point in their career that they fought through, that’s without exception. These times are opportunities for us to power through it, to learn from it, to profit from it, this is an opportunity. It is a gift for us so don’t squander it, take advantage of it.
Transcribed by Mariana Badillo