July 7

Is Your Sales Team Struggling With This Invisible Obstacle?  


Remember the William Shatner commercial asking, “What’s in your wallet?” It would serve sales leaders to ask a similar question, “What’s in your salesperson’s briefcase?”

A sales professional owns two briefcases. The first one is visible and you’ve seen the inside of this briefcase. You know the salesperson’s industry experience, a number of years in sales and track record of sales success.

But what about the second briefcase---one that’s not so visible. This briefcase is often stuffed full of self-limiting beliefs, hindering a seller’s ability to execute the right selling behaviors and skills.

Do you know what’s hiding in your salesperson’s second briefcase? 

It could be stuffed full of limiting beliefs, such as:

  • No one is buying in this economy.
  • The only way to win business in this economy is by discounting.
  • Our brand recognition is weak so prospects are always going to go with the better-known competitor.
  • I’m too old to learn this new technology of artificial intelligence.
  • I’m too young. No one wants to work with a new salesperson.
  • I’m a woman selling in a male dominated industry. No one will take me seriously.
  • I’m a man selling in a female-dominated industry.  No one wants to do business with a guy.
  • And you can fill in the rest of the list…

When a sales leader hears a self-limiting belief, it’s tempting to jump in and TELL the salesperson why these beliefs aren’t true. Apply the EQ skills of self-awareness and reality testing. Be aware that when you are telling the reality is you are not selling new ways of thinking.

People believe their own data. Ask don’t tell. 

For example, if a salesperson believes the company is too small to pursue larger deals, apply impulse control. Ask, don’t tell.

“I’m curious. What makes you believe the company can’t land bigger opportunities? Is this conclusion based on a previous experience or perception?” 

"Well, I tried pursuing a larger deal last quarter and the prospect went with our larger competitor.” Ask, don’t tell.  

"Did the prospect say they chose the competitor because of their size or did the competition do a better job of uncovering the true need?”  

"Hmmm. The prospect did share they thought the competitor had a better solution. So, maybe they did a better job of selling its value. It wasn’t just about our company’s size.” Ask, don’t tell.

"Good observation and self-awareness. So what lessons did you learn from this experience and how will you apply these lessons on future sales calls?”   

"Well, for one thing, I am going to do a better job of pre-call planning to sell more effectively against our competitor and uncover the real need. I think I might have been winging it a little bit.”  

Open up the invisible briefcase and ask questions. Increase your salesperson’s awareness around self-limiting beliefs that are impacting sales results.

Stop telling and start asking.

Good Selling!


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