You have undoubtedly read dozens of articles by now on the economic and health challenges created over the past 12 months. Well, I want to share some insights on the good things that have happened during this unusual time. And as my good friend Jim said to me, “don’t put the C-word (or 19) in the title.” We are all sick of seeing and hearing it as clickbait to get us to read. 

So, I didn’t. 

There have been many positive lessons to glean from this funky, strange, haven’t-been-here-before experience which is still in play today. The way I see it, four things have floated to the surface as ways I have tried to learn and grow.  

  1. Patience: What other option do we have? If you have patience, it has certainly come in handy during this past year. And if you don’t (that’s me), you have probably been forced to learn how to acquire it. On the macro level, this once-a-century event highlights what little control we have over anything, and that knowledge can be applied to the day-to-day things that used to rattle the cage. How much of it really matters? I’ll let you decide. As my dear friend Mischa says, “chill the f out.” Pop star Dua Lipa had the word tattooed on her hand as a reminder. 
  1. Perspective: Little things matter, and they happen a lot more frequently than the large ones.  Not getting to take big vacations with my family to far off places, I’ve gotten to appreciate where I am. I live in a beautiful place. My family is healthy and business has been good (really good for my wife). Our teenage kids are doing the right things on a regular basis. Taking the time to feel grateful for all the things that really matter has helped me stay calm and centered, even when I have encountered the pandemic-related snags and frustrations we are all familiar with. In his book “Illusions”, Richard Bach writes “perspective: use it or lose it.” I couldn’t agree more. 
  1. People: While I haven’t been around as many humans as normal (whatever normal means), the time I have spent with my close-knit family and a handful of friends has been a blessing. Have we grown tired of too much togetherness at times? Sure. But overall, there have been so many examples of quality moments that we wouldn’t have had with the frantic pace of non-pandemic life. And in the end, for me as I’m sure for many of you, the important people in my life are what matters most. 
  1. Peace: Silence can be deafening, or it can be used to go within to find peace. For some, the constant distraction by distractions has become a way of life in the “I’m so busy world”. But, even without the quiet provided on the road, there has been plenty of time for repose, solitude and expansion. My friend recently loaned me his cold-water immersion tub, and I got in that 40-degree water every other day for 10 days. It is the purest form of meditation indeed. 

Life teaches us that the challenges we encounter provide as much upside as the successes. I hope that, like me, you have made it through this challenging year with at least a few silver linings of your own. 

Your Sales Attitude: Aggressive or Inquisitive? 

Trust is the foundation for success in sales. And the more complex the sale, the higher the dollar value of the sale, the more important trust is. Unfortunately, the general perception of salespeople causes buyers to be wary. As a result, the trust factor is very low initially—if any trust exists at all. Therefore the seller starts out at a distinct disadvantage and faces an uphill battle to earn trust. He or she has to first dispel the idea that their primary goal is to ensnare the buyer.  

To compound the problem, many salespeople show up with a misguided attitude. They come across as saying, “I’ve got the best solution available, and my job is to convince my prospects that I’m right. To do this, I will offer a precise, logical argument supported by as much data as necessary to prove my point. I will become skillful at overcoming their objections and if they don’t buy, I will be persistent and follow up relentlessly until I win their business.”  

This is the “try harder” approach: If you don’t get the sale, just try harder. These aggressive salespeople win points for effort, but not for effectiveness. This attitude just doesn’t fly. And certainly doesn’t build trust! 

An alternative approach: Ask questions

Contrast that attitude with an entirely different one, such as, “I firmly believe in my product or service. But I also realize not everyone is a prospect for what I sell. And I realize that the harder I try to sell, the less receptive my prospect will be. Therefore, my best strategy is an inquisitive approach, to ask questions and encourage the prospect to tell me about his/her situation without fear that I might take advantage of them. Coming to a point of understanding without the pressure of trying to sell will meet both the prospect’s needs and my company’s needs most effectively.”  

Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes. Which salesperson would you prefer to deal with, the aggressive one or the inquisitive one? Which person would you trust the most? Which attitude takes the pressure off? Most people would prefer—and be more likely to trust—the inquisitive salesperson. 

What kind of attitude are your salespeople taking? How’s that working for you?  



Too many salespeople show up with an attitude. It sounds like this. “I’ve got the best solution available, and my job is to convince my prospects that I’m right. This is the “try harder” syndrome. This attitude just doesn’t work well any longer. Here’s a list of the beliefs that salespeople have that will do them more harm than good and what you should be believing instead.

Faulty Belief: I need to educate my prospect; presentation skills are my most effective tool.
Winning Belief: Your job is to qualify your prospect and investigative skills are your most effective tool. Let’s face it, no one ever lost a sale by listening too much.

Faulty Belief: Everyone needs what I sell; hearing “no” is a failure.
Winning Belief: A more productive belief is that not everyone is a prospect for
what I sell and “no” is not a failure as long as I’ve qualified the opportunity adequately.

Faulty Belief: When the prospect says, “I need to think it over,” there’s still a chance.
Winning Belief: You should be skeptical (not reassured) when your prospect tells you that he needs to “think it over.”

Faulty Belief: My features and benefits differentiate me from my competitors; they give me an advantage.
Winning Belief: If you rely on features and benefits, you’re probably going to sound just like everybody else, and your prospect may conclude that what you sell is just a commodity. When you’re perceived as a commodity, price becomes the most important buying criteria.

Faulty Belief: My job is to convince my prospect that he would benefit from purchasing from me; I need to be a good closer.
Winning Belief: It’s the prospect’s job to convince you that he has a problem, the budget and the decision-making ability to fix it and needs your help. Try this attitude on your next sales interview and see how it will change your approach.

Faulty Belief: Financial considerations are the most important factor in determining who gets the business.
Winning Belief: If you can help them increase their business or save them money, your price is relative to their gain.

Faulty Belief: If my prospects like me, they will buy from me.
Winning Belief: The real issue is whether or not the prospect thinks you can solve their problem. If they do, you’re likely to get the business.

Key Points

1. Your attitudes and beliefs are very important; they dictate what you do and how you do it. Ultimately, your attitudes and beliefs control your results.

2. Hearing “no” is not a failure; not everyone is a prospect for your product or service.

3. You should believe in the Law of Abundance – there’s plenty of business out there. Don’t hang on to a prospective client when the odds of being successful are slim. Find another opportunity.