Attitude is everything!

(By David Tovey)

I would be doing you a disservice if I didn’t mention how much the way you think impacts on your success as a someone involved in sales or business development. You have probably heard before that attitude is everything and it is my experience that it is true. Having a positive attitude about winning business is easy when things are going well but how do you stay positive about the future in more difficult times?


  ” Attitude is a little thing that makes all the difference” – Winston Churchill, British Statesman

It might seem brutal to point it out but there are too many well-qualified experts in their field who don’t have enough business to allow them to practise what they love to do. There are too many salespeople falling below target and too many great companies under-performing. The one thing they have in common is that they all need more customers to exchange money for their products or services.

Principled Selling will definitely help you to win more business – but only if you implement it. If you want to know who is responsible for implementing it, take a look in the mirror. I know Principled Selling works, I know it’s helped thousands of business people, professionals and professional sales people to win more business but here’s the deal – you have to be committed to it.

Many people I meet have spent years honing their technical or professional skills. Often they are members of professional associations that demand CPD (Continuous Professional Development) in order to make sure their skills and knowledge are right up-to-date. Business owners with a passion for what they do, whether they happen to be printers or electronics engineers spend years gaining experience and hours staying on top of their subject. This book and the resources on the Principled Selling website will help you but it’s not enough, you need to develop your own and your teams’ CPD of selling.

Some readers may still have to come to terms with the need to sell or help others to do so.

 Do I really have to learn how to sell?

 Selling is a noble, honourable normal business activity that got itself a bad name. Even if selling is never going to be your full-time role or your favourite way of spending your time, the best way to be successful and enjoy it is to be personally committed to learning how to sell and commit your organization to providing the environment where Principled Sellers thrive.

Selling becomes easy when you deliver what you promise and do a fantastic job for your customers. When you make the life of a customer easy why wouldn’t they come back for more?


 “If you think you can you will be right; if you think you can’t you will be right”. Henry Ford

Everyone can be better at selling and enjoy it more if they decide that they can.

Pygmalion in the Classroom, based on the research by Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson, came to the conclusion that student achievement mirrors teacher expectations more than it does actual student ability. When others believe images of how things should be, they become self-fulfilling prophecies – the tendency of people to perform in accordance with what is expected of them as well as their own expectations of success or failure.

Believable, positive expectations result in positive results. Unbelievable or negative expectations create the opposite. This phenomenon is called the Pygmalion Effect.

It’s about how you think

There really isn’t any mystique about what is happening with self-fulfilling prophecies. It boils down to the fact that what we think and say is followed by actions and behaviours which become habits that determine outcomes.

If you go into something deciding it won’t work for you then everything becomes a negative. No matter what evidence is provided, no matter how much support is offered if you decide something is not going to work, you will be right.

To make success with Principled Selling a self fulfilling prophesy, you might start by thinking ‘I’m not 100% sure how to make it happen yet but this looks like it could help us win more business’. You then take some of the actions suggested at the end of each chapter. You download the Principled Selling Growth Model and the various templates available and introduce some colleagues to them. Discussions begin about the Principled Selling Approach, live information goes into the model, valuable content is found, social media networking starts and before you know it you are meeting senior decision makers in named prospects that could become dream clients. You think Principled Selling can help you win more business, action and behaviours follow and you do win more business.

Words can affect  performance. Your ability to win more business is affected by the words others use and more importantly the words you say to yourself.

Top athletes train their minds just as much as they train their bodies because they know that what is going on in their head can make the difference between a gold medal and no medal. Sport coaches talk about the inner game, others talk about the inner voice or self talk. Your inner voice has a lot to do with whether you will be good at and enjoy that part of your business life that involves selling.

“The bumble bee’s weight-to-lift ratio is all wrong and there is no way it can fly according to scientist Antoine Magnan; but no one ever told the bumble bee”.  Jack Russell, ‘Don’t Tell the Bumble Bee’

It’s not confidence; it’s competence

Some of the most successful salespeople I have met are professionals and individuals with a technical background. Their assuredness about their technical ability provides them with the confidence to deal with all sorts of challenges, including learning how to sell. Once they know what to do they really fly because they start from the premise of doing a great job for their customers.

For years professionals and others with a technical bias have been told that they are not the sort of people who will be good at selling (or at leading people for that matter). I guess that if bumble bees could understand, and if someone told them often enough that they couldn’t fly, they wouldn’t even try.

Anyone who has been told often enough that they aren’t supposed to be good at selling or that they don’t have the ‘right’ personality profile, will start to tell themselves that it must be true. As the words we hear are our own words, that inner voice, we tend to believe them.

The human brain is fascinating and complex, but it doesn’t have the capacity to differentiate between what is real and what is merely a perception. People are very good at rehearsing negative outcomes in their heads for instance; imagining situations that haven’t happened and not likely to happen. The problem is that when we rehearse negative outcomes our brain responds as if what we are rehearsing has already happened. It is a brain function that was helpful when we were being chased by sabre-toothed tigers but is a less useful when we are about to give a presentation convinced it is all going to go wrong.

Reframing is easy. You just change the words in your head and your body responds accordingly. ‘I can’t’ becomes I can. ‘It won’t work’ becomes Let’s give it a try; ‘I’m nervous’ becomes I’m excited.Another fascinating thing about the human brain is that you can change the way it responds to a thought in an instant. Followers of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) will know the technique as ‘reframing’ and it is hugely powerful.

 ‘I can’t sell’ becomes I can be good at Principled Selling.

Whether you are an athlete or business person who needs to win business, what you rehearse in your head will affect your performance.

Business people, technical people and professionals already have the ability and skills they need. It’s just a matter of adapting and improving existing skills not adopting completely new ones. Then it’s a matter of practising those skills and keeping them razor sharp and ready to put to use when they are needed.