I am writing to—and about—salespeople here. But this idea could apply to anyone in any line of work. I know salespeople. I know what successful salespeople believe, and I know what unsuccessful salespeople believe. And unsuccessful salespeople believe they are victims.

It’s Not Me, It’s You

Unsuccessful salespeople believe that they are victims. They believe that they are exceptionally good at what they do and, were it not for factors out of their control, they would be wildly successful. They believe that their beliefs, behaviors, and actions aren’t the reason for their failure, that it is something—or someone—outside them.

They believe that were it not for the down economy, they would be making their number.

Were it not for the territory that they’ve been given, they’d be selling like the devil.

Were it not for their company’s pricing structure they’d be winning deal after deal after deal.

Were it not for their prospective clients buying on price, their sales numbers would reflect the superstar that they really are.

This list could go on forever. But what’s important to note here is that in every one of these cases the salesperson is the victim. They are the victim of a poor economy, a poor territory, pricing problems, how clients buy, or something else outside their control.

Stop Victimizing Yourself

In all of the examples above the salesperson really is a victim. But they aren’t being victimized by the challenges they cite. These salespeople are really victims of their own poor belief system, their own poor personal psychology.

By adopting a belief system built on the idea that you are powerless to overcome the challenges you face, you eliminate your responsibility to take action, to find a way to overcome those challenges. You also eliminate your ability to use your imagination, your resourcefulness, and your determination to succeed in spite of your perceived challenges. The problem with a victim mindset is that it does nothing to help you improve your results.

You can’t control the economy, can you? No, but you do have more control over your personal economy than anyone else in the world. If you believe there is an opportunity for you to create value for other people, there are always opportunities.

You can’t control the territory you draw. But you can control how well you capitalize on the opportunities that do exist in your territory.

You can’t control your company’s business model. If you aren’t the low price provider—and it’s likely you’re not—then you have to sell to prospects that want to buy something more than price. You control who you target and sell to. You also control whether or not you create enough value to make you worth paying more to obtain.

If you feel like you are a victim, chances are you’re right. But you’re not a victim of something outside yourself. You’re a victim of your own disempowering belief systems. Change those beliefs and you change your results.


What is your favorite excuse for poor results?

What’s the biggest challenge you face, the one that you believe does the most to prevent you from succeeding?

How are the people who are succeeding doing so while facing the very same challenges you face?

What do you have to do to shed the poor beliefs that make you a victim and replace them with healthier, more empowering beliefs?

Sales 2012
Post by Anthony Iannarino on October 20, 2012
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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