We MUST Overcome Our Self-Limiting Beliefs



“The winners in life constantly think in terms of ‘I can” ”I will” and ’I am’. Losers, on the other hand, concentrate their waking thoughts on what they should have done, or what they don’t do” – Dennis Waitley

Allowing self-limiting beliefs to constrain performance will in turn limit sales results – sound obvious? - because like everyone, salespeople hold stubbornly to private beliefs about themselves, clients, markets, competition, and even the economy – beliefs that can have an enormous impact, either positive or negative, on their sales achievement levels.

If salespeople do not see themselves as providing value for their prospects and clients, they will tend to approach customers in ways that appeal to reasons for buying, other than the genuine business need of the customer. This is what sometimes leads salespeople to oversell – for example, pressing a customer to act now in order to get a low price – or to be too accommodating. It also can lead salespeople to adopt unethical behavior, because they may try to sell a customer something that they neither need nor want. If they fail to take care of their clients’ best interests, salespeople will fail to build long-term relationships and lose customers.

The Slippery Slope

Typically, salespeople who believe that if they had lower prices, they would win more deals, tend to attract more price objections. This, in turn, leaves them feeling scared or reluctant to talk to prospects about what they have to offer. Their downward spiral then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Salespeople’s desire to succeed may be so dominated by a need to be liked, that they’ll avoid asking prospects for information that is needed to identify the prospects’ compelling reasons to buy. When this happens, closing becomes a real issue because salespeople, fearing rejection, perceive that asking for the order might cause a breakdown in the relationship with their prospect.

Fear of Calling

Recent studies have confirmed the obvious, that is to say that “fear of calling” in sales can contribute to a significant proportion of lost sales revenues. One study that I read recently found that as many as 40% of established salespeople experienced periods of “fear of calling” severe enough to threaten their future in sales.

One particular statistic in the following survey, should give any salesperson suffering from “fear of calling” renewed confidence.

How Customers Regard Salespeople Survey

  • Salespeople who do not bother to make appointments – 45%
  • Salespeople who know nothing about the customer’s business - 60%
  • Salespeople who know little about their own products and services - 60%
  • Salespeople who call too often - 9%
  • Salespeople who don’t call often enough - 49%
  • Salespeople who do not have the authority to negotiate prices - 45%
  • Salespeople who do not ask for the order - 40%
  • Salespeople who are not properly or sufficiently organized - 55%

Most desirable quality customers want to see in salespeople?  Competence!

Customers Can Sense Fear

We must remember that a salesperson’s state of mind is instantly transferred to their prospect or customer, which means that the challenge for organisations is to constantly create a highly resourceful state in their salespeople. This is extremely important, because when salespeople lack belief in themselves, their product or their service, they unconsciously transmit their attitude to prospects in a variety of subtle and sometimes overt ways.

I do fervently believe that the organization with the ability to overcome the variety of mental models living in the minds of their workforce will be the organization that wins in the future. Emphasis has to be placed on creating an environment in which the ‘can do – will do’ mentality thrives and becomes the norm, success and achievement are expected and, as a consequence, are much more likely to happen. We call this fulfilled expectation.

Expect Beliefs to Change

Throughout a person’s lifetime, beliefs change continually. Beliefs that they once thought to be immutable cease to be true. Take the example of Roger Bannister who, in 1957, became the first athlete to break the four-minute barrier for running a mile. Prior to Bannister’s achievement, most athletes considered a sub-four-minute mile impossible. But that same year, sixteen other athletes also ran a mile in less than four minutes. Did they become superhuman overnight? Or, more simply, did their beliefs change?

Like those milers, salespeople have their own unique sets of beliefs, some of which limit their potential in sales. For instance, during a recession, the members of a sales force may all believe that strong sales are impossible. But if just one person increases their sales, what seemed an inevitable fact will suddenly appear more like a thin excuse for poor performance.

Developing Self-Worth is Vital

Organizations that recognize the importance of helping their salespeople develop a strong sense of self-worth, are many times more likely to produce high performers. Self- worth is vital to everyone, but especially to salespeople who hear “no” more often than they hear “yes, I’ll buy”. A salesperson’s self-esteem can sometimes take a hammering, but organizations that find ways to build their salespeople’s self-esteem reap an invaluable dividend. Self–worth translates into attitude – that small thing that makes such a big difference.

In Summary – The most successful salespeople take care of their attitude and they understand that ….

Great attitude = Great results
Average attitude = Average results
Poor attitude = Poor results

The second commonality with successful salespeople is that they expect to be successful and they want it badly enough that they bring about its happening – i.e. fulfilled expectation.


News: It has been a pretty hectic week, and we look forward to more challenges next week: But it is not just over at JFA or even Top Sales World where the action has been happening, and as soon as I press the “Publish” button on this post, I will turn my attention to writing a new weekly feature “JF’s Big Weekend Shout Out” which I will use to share with you all the news from around the sales space. So many of my good chums, colleagues and acquaintances have exciting events coming up; some have just posted excellent articles; a couple have published books … this is my way of doing my bit both for them and you. I don’t think it’s fair you should remain in ignorance for a moment longer than necessary, so do pop back tomorrow and bring yourselves right up to date.

In the meantime, from Paris, bon w/e a tous!



  1. says

    Great article – The survey findings are worth repeating often – so that there is less about macho just “overcoming” and more use of the facts to help breed confidence in the sales person. Where did the survey come from ?

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