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Power of Belief Part II

Jun 17, 2008
"To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe." - Anatole France, Nobel Prize-winning author

In Power of Belief Part I (http://tinyurl.com/5sa6zy), I wrote about the psychology of belief and the tremendous power it has to forge the destiny and outcome of our lives and the lives of people close to us.

In this article, I would like to share some proven techniques you can use to strengthen your internal belief system so you can maintain that victorious can-do attitude to get you closer to your dreams. The techniques I'm going to share with you are based on real life experience learned from the School of Hard Knocks: Door-to-Door Sales!

As unlikely as it sounds, I did door-to-door sales for a period of about two years to help finance my university education and put some spending money in my pockets. And I can tell you with conviction, that I received a world-class degree in the psychology of belief that no educational institution can offer.

If you find my statement hard to believe, try selling a product door-to-door to perfect strangers, in subzero freezing weather, and get them to trust you enough to fork out their hard earned dollars for a down payment, and sign a lengthy contract (after walking them through each point of the contract). Oh, and one more thing, you're paid on straight commission only; meaning, if you don't make any sales, you starve.

Most of my schoolmates who also came on board to sell, did not last the first week after training. The constant rejection was too much. I remember one cold winter day knocking on doors and not making a single sale. On days like these, I too felt like quitting! I knew I could get other less demanding work but I decided to stick it through. It became a challenge and education in mental strength training, resilience, hard work, and most of all - Belief 101. Here's what I learned:

Mentally rehearse a successful outcome

When you're on sales commission, you notice very quickly what works and doesn't work. What didn't work for me was wasting time in the coffee shop with other depressed sales reps sharing stories of loss and rejection.

What did work was mentally rehearsing a successful outcome before the start of the day. I noticed my sales increase on days I visualized myself approaching prospects confidently and watching their faces light up with smiles at the great opportunity I was offering. I saw them signing contracts, handing me deposits, and warmly shaking my hands. I visualized myself with a clipboard overflowing with contracts. During my visualizations which took about 5 to 10 minutes, I intensely felt the rush of excitement well up inside me as I had a successful day and high-fived my peers.

I also found that I had a better sales day when I meditated early in the morning for about 30 minutes before the start of the day. People are stressed enough as it is and don't have the time to chat with a tense, nervous-looking sales rep standing outside their door. When people noticed my calm, serene presence, they'd welcome me in. My energy helped reduce some of their own stress.

Before heading out to sell for the day, I'd look at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, smile, and say enthusiastically, "I feel fantastic! I'm going to make a lot of sales today!"

As hokey as all this may sound, the important thing is it worked. My sales increased and I was consistently #1 in my sales crew. And you can apply this same mental rehearsal technique for almost any activity to help you enjoy more success in your field.

Check negative thoughts at the door

In this line of work, unsubstantiated negative thoughts have a habit of creeping up: "it's too cold or too hot to sell, it's a bad territory, you're not cut out for this, call it quits for the day, etc."

I soon learned that the best way to keep up my sales momentum was to check any negative thoughts as soon as they emerged by saying to myself, "Cancel, cancel. Negative thoughts and negative suggestions have no influence over my mind."

I used other methods as well to keep the negative thoughts at bay, but this inner dialogue was sufficient to stop many negative thoughts from overpowering my mind and allowed me to sell successfully on a consistent basis.

Don't take rejection personally

Being on straight commission, it didn't take long for me to realize that sales to a large degree was indeed,as the cliché goes, 'a numbers game.' Each no simply led to a yes and the more no's I got, the more yes's I'd make. Babe Ruth hit the most home runs, but he also had the most strike outs.

It was difficult at first not to take rejection personally. And I spent a lot of time and energy in the early days replaying each rejection in my mind. But I soon realized that I had no way of reading other people's minds. They could be having a bad day, or might have had an argument, or maybe they got burned before in a bad deal.

I really had no way of knowing. So I adopted the emotionally neutral position: "some will, some won't,who's next?" If someone rudely dismissed me, instead of being rude back, I simply thanked them for their time and went on my way. I no longer expended so much time and energy wallowing in so called rejection and my sales increased as a result.

Assume the sale!

If you knew you could not fail, you'd certainly act very differently than if you expected to fail. A quality product that's competitively priced in a hungry market should be an opportunity for most sales people and entrepreneurs. And yet, every day, I saw reps who came to the door expecting to fail: drooped shoulders, shifty eyes, little eye contact, limp-fish handshakes, weak, choppy presentations, exuding an apologetic look that said, "Sorry to trouble you, Sir, Ma'am. But, you wouldn't want to buy anything from me today, would you?"

I know, because that's how I started out, and my sales were miserable! But when I assumed the sale and expected to win, my sales more than doubled. I simply 'acted as if' I already made the sale: shoulders square, a warm, confident smile, firm handshake, steady eye contact, strong, fluid presentation, shaking my head often in an affirmative "yes."

Expect to win! Assume the sale! Believe you can!
About the Author
Sharif Khan (http://www.herosoul.com; sharif@herosoul.com) is a freelance writer, inspirational keynote speaker, consultant, and author of "Psychology of the Hero Soul," an inspirational leadership book on awakening the hero within. (As mentioned in USA Today, Reader's Digest, and the Toronto Sun).
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