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Tough Love: Three Lies Salespeople Tell Themselves

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
May 1, 2010

Last night at an event, I met a couple of people involved in sales who, when they discovered what I do, asked me about how they could improve their sales. When I asked them about the challenges they faced, I heard answers that indicated to me that the biggest challenge with their sales were in fact their own beliefs.

There is probably nothing more detrimental to your sales results than the lies that you sometimes tell yourself. The problem with the lies that we tell ourselves is that we behave like they are actually true.

I dished out some blatantly honest answers (which were very well received). Sometimes, you just need a little tough love.

Lie Number 1: But, No One is Buying

The truth is, someone is buying. Even in a down economy, someone is buying. Sure demand declines, but economic disruptions mean that people move and make changes. People who buy at the high end move south. People in the middle of the market demand greater results for the money that they are spending.

The Truth: Most of the issue isn’t that there isn’t someone buying. Most of the problem is the fact that you haven’t spent your time identifying those buyers, nurturing those relationships, finding ways to create value for them while they are going through a tough economic time.

In order for you to behave like you need to in order to succeed, you first have to believe that there are people who you can help, and that they need you to help them. If you are in sales management—or if you are an entrepreneur—your people will behave in a manner in complete accordance with what you believe, not based on what you say.

Lie Number 2: When My Clients Come Back

Sometimes your clients don’t come back. Some won’t have survived this economic downturn. Some will be immeasurably transformed—some positively, and some negatively. Even your best clients will change over time. If you are lucky—and exceptional—they will grow and need more of your product or service, and you will grow with them. But sometimes they need less of your product and service.

The Truth: In good times and in bad times, a sales organization must continually focus on new client acquisition. Over time, you will lose your key accounts. This is true even if most of the time it isn’t because of anything you have done—or haven’t done.

Don’t wait for your key clients to come back. Some will be back and stronger than ever. Others aren’t ever coming back.

Lie Number 3: But, My Market Is Different

Your market isn’t different. There may be some differences, but the fundamentals are always close enough. Sales people and sales organizations don’t win by defining the ways in which their markets are different than other markets–especially geographic markets. Sales people and sales organizations are all competing in the sames market. The winners are figuring out how to win.

The Truth: It is easy to point to the differences between the markets and to use that as an excuse for why your sales are lower than you want them to be. It isn’t always easy, but the fact of the matter is that if other people are succeeding in your market, then you can succeed in your market.


Each of us has the ability to rationalize our lack of performance, and it is easy to fall into the trap of telling ourselves lies when our performance isn’t what we want it to be. We behave in a way that is consistent with what we believe—even when these beliefs aren’t based on the truth. Improved performance means recognizing when we are lying to ourselves, and then adopting more powerful beliefs.


1. Do you tell yourself lies because your performance isn’t what you want them to be?

2. How much of your performance is not what you want it to be because you behave in accordance with the lies that you tell yourself?

3. What if you are wrong about what you believe? What different beliefs, if you behaved in accordance with them, could improve your performance?

4. What are the lies that you tell yourself?

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) 212-4279.

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Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on May 1, 2010

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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