The MInd Game of Sales

Master The Mind Game of Selling

Posted on September 27th, 2023


Selling, like sport, has its highs and its lows. When things are going well it’s the greatest job in the world – we love the feel of winning. But what happens when things don’t click for us or the market toughens and we hit a dry spell? It’s easy to lose confidence and begin a downward spiral.

In sales, your inner game determines the effectiveness of your outer game. Once you have a solid foundation of sales skills and have done the necessary practice and preparation, the real difference between good and great results is how you play the mind game.

This, of course, is not only true for selling, it applies to all human performance, be it in the workplace, the performing arts or sport. Top athletes when asked how important are psychological factors in determining the outcome of a competition, report that once they are in physical shape between 70 and 90% of the result is down to psychological factors.

You will have your own view as to what it is in selling.

To be a top salesperson today, you need to master, not just the sales skills of the outer game, but the skills of the inner game as well. This is Skill+WillTM and the approach permeates all our sales training and coaching.

In this post we highlight 5 ideas to help you master the mind game. Each will give you a slight edge. Keep in mind, to achieve unusual results, you must sometimes use unusual methods.

1. Replay past success. Whatever you think about grows stronger.

In your experience, when is the very best time to make a sale?  Just after you’ve made one. That’s true isn’t it. You’re on a roll, you can’t wait to get out there and do it again. So before you make a sales call, what should you do?

Think of the last time you sold well. Replay that experience over and over.

In fact it’s a great idea to have a mental library of four or five past successes. Play them before any upcoming challenge to get in the zone and enhance your confidence.

Winners replay what went right. Losers replay, over and over, what went wrong.

2. ‘Thank goodness I’ve called.’

This is a little known but powerful skill. According to the Guinness Book of World Records the most outstanding insurance salesperson in history was Ben Feldman. During his career he personally sold $1.6 billion of insurance. He personally outsold the entire sales force of many of his competitors.

What was his secret?

He had many but one of his secrets was he knew the importance of mental tuning. Before calling on a prospect, he would say to himself – “This client is desperately under insured, thank goodness I’ve called”.

What a terrific attitude to emulate. Whatever you sell, before contacting a prospect picture them as desperately in need of what you offer. ‘Thank goodness I’ve called.’

Use the technique to set yourself up for every call. It will help you to overcome call reluctance and be at your best when it counts.

3. Forward play future success.

This is visualisation or mental rehearsal. It’s one of the most valuable skills you can ever learn. Before commencing any task, rehearse it in your imagination. Most people instinctively use it to a certain extent. Have you ever mentally rehearsed an interview or making a speech? Most of us use it but we only use it to a fraction of its potential.

Winners see the act of winning in advance. They know that what you see is who you’ll be.

If you have an important sales call tomorrow, in your imagination be one minute after its successful completion, you were outstanding. See it first, lock onto that picture.

It is especially powerful to use this exercise from a place of relaxation – just before dropping off to sleep at night and first thing on waking in the morning. The mind completes the picture.

4. Trigger your Ideal Performance State.

What always seems to be present when you are operating at your best?

Research from many disciplines suggests it is JOY. Joy is the best word to describe our internal environment when we are at our best.

So how do you trigger the feeling of joy?

The quickest way is to laugh. A few moments of laughter BEFORE (not during!) an important sales call or event can change your state instantly. Laughter gives you an internal workout and triggers your ideal performance state.  If other people are in earshot and it’s not practical to laugh out loud then laugh in your imagination.

And try it before your next Zoom/Teams call.

5. Use great self-talk.

What is your internal dialogue before you pick up the phone or start a sales call? What input do you give to your very powerful subconscious mind about your intent and ambition?

Let’s keep it simple, say: “I’m selling well. I’m selling well. I’m selling well. I love my job. I’m the best. I’m selling well. I’m selling well.” It takes the edge off your nerves and sends a strong signal to your mind that you’re performing at your best. Say it long enough and it starts to become part of you.

For more insight watch the video Self-Talk – Does It Matter?

“I am the greatest – I said that even before I knew I was.”

Muhammad Ali

This post has looked at the mind game in selling but the skills work just as effectively in any high stakes activity – be it managing a team, making a presentation or negotiating terms.

Read more about LDL sales training.

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