In a Hole? The Best Way to Get Yourself Out.

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
October 18, 2010

If your sales are not what you want them to be—or need them to be—you have to change. It isn’t enough to work harder, doing more and more of the activities that already aren’t working. When you find yourself in a hole that you yourself are digging, digging faster isn’t the way to get a different result.

It’s Hard to Stop Digging

Sometimes an idea lodges in your belief system and it’s hard to extricate it.

So, you have decided that your approach would work and that the losses that you continue to rack up are not your fault. If things were different, your approach would produce a better result. You rationalize the loss away, blaming price, blaming your company’s offering, blaming some unfair advantage your competitor leveraged, and blaming anything else that absolves you—and your beliefs—of responsibility.

It’s hard to take responsibility for you losses.

If you are going to stop digging a bigger hole, you must accept responsibility for your losses and you must challenge the underlying beliefs that cause you to take the actions that are failing you.

Climbing Out

Regardless of how deep a hole you have dug for yourself, you can climb out. But it won’t be easy.

First, it takes the courage to stop digging, dropping old beliefs and picking up new ones. These old beliefs have been with you for some time, and it’s easy to recall the occasions when they served you well and you won an opportunity. Your old, long held beliefs are as comfortable as your favorite shoes.

New beliefs take a while to break in. It takes a great measure of intestinal fortitude to stick with the new actions you need to take based on your new beliefs. New behaviors take time to learn and even more time to become fully effective. They only get comfortable and they only feel natural when you have worn them for a while.

You can find your way out of the hole only when you drop all of the old beliefs that helped you dig the hole in the first place, and when you adopt the new beliefs that help you to climb out.

Drop the shovel. Start climbing.


For many salespeople, working harder is the answer. But for many more, working harder and working faster isn’t the right prescription to treat what ails them. Their beliefs and their behaviors have them digging a hole, and the first thing they need to do is to stop digging.


If you worked twice as hard or twice as fast as you are working now, would you quickly double your sales results? Is it even possible that you could work twice as hard or twice as fast? If you could, and if it were sustainable, why haven’t you done so?

What if the reason you are not opening the relationships that you need to open, and closing the opportunities that you do create, has more to do with what you believe and the behaviors that they drive than any other single factor (or combination thereof)?

Are you brave enough to set down the shovel? Are you brave enough to challenge what you believe and accept that what are doing may not be producing as great of results as another set of beliefs and another set of actions?

Do you have the stamina and discipline to stick with another set of beliefs and actions long enough to gain the competency that will allow them to produce results? Or will you simply slip back into something more comfortable, even though it no longer serves you?

For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4729.

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Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on October 18, 2010
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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