Voss Graham interview by Jeff Blackman – Part 2
YOUR NEXT LEVEL! / part 2
Here’s more of my conversation with friend and fellow pro, Voss Graham. Voss is the CEO and Senior Business Advisor for the InnerActive Consulting Group in Cordova, Tennessee. He helps individuals and companies get to their “next level.”
Jeff Blackman: How does confidence impact short and long-term success?
Voss Graham: Self-confidence is the bedrock or foundational aspect for the successful athlete, businessperson or sales pro. In fact, sales people with high levels of confidence seem to make sales before they even offer a solution. Why? Because customers want to do business with confident people. They feel these people will make things happen and do whatever it takes to get the job done.
People lacking self-confidence are at a major disadvantage. Customers sense a lack of confidence, and therefore lose faith in the abilities of the sales pro or business person. Yes, that’s an emotional response by the customer. Yet all decisions are based in emotional responses, and logic is used to justify our emotional decisions.
In sports or business, confidence breeds a winners’ attitude. Winners take control of their mental mindset and view all situations with a positive point of view. Losers tend to look for negatives and use both internal negative self-talk and external negative talk, which attracts more negative influences into their lives, and their results become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
JB: So confidence drives our self-perception and the world’s perception of who we are?
VG: Optimism is an important factor in both our self-confident point of view and how our customers view us. It begins with how we talk to ourselves. If our primary view is one of optimism, then we’ll look for the good or the lesson to be learned in every situation. We’ll use positive self-talk to think about issues and how we’ll deal with these issues in a positive way. The language we should use with our customers has a positive and solution-oriented sound. This is a primary method winners use in dealing with both their thoughts and explanatory language. When telling their story to the customer, the language is positive and encouraging, which engages others to look for more solutions and options.
Losers tend to dwell on negative thoughts and how things can’t get done. Negative self-talk leads to self-limiting thoughts and a lack of alternatives or creativity for solving problems. This continuous stream of bad information causes the person to talk about why things will fail, and will negatively impact their confidence levels.
Listening to the players of continuously losing teams shows how the players have accepted the mental patterns of “I or we are not good enough to beat this team,” or “Maybe we’ll get lucky and upset them!” This type of talk shows a lack of confidence in the players and team to be a winner and expect to win in any game. The key here is a lack of commitment to making the best things happen. Another key element is the degree that individuals take responsibility for their actions.
JB: And will that action lead to self mastery?
VG: Self-Mastery is a goal most people long to attain, yet, few actually get there. Self-mastery is knowing you can perform at very high levels within your selected profession. Another word for self-mastery is self-efficacy. It’s the knowledge you possess, so you can perform any task within your current job and do it well.
JB: How do you get to the status of self-mastery?
VG: You must be willing to work hard. And become a continual learner to get to and stay at the top of your field. Some people confuse “getting to the next level” with their years of experience; claiming they have X number of years of experience.
However, the “number of years” often has little to do with mastery. How can this happen? Because many people haven’t learned anything new since their first year in business! These are the business or sales people who go to the same people within their accounts for a visit, use the same techniques on everyone, and tell everyone (that’ll listen), the reason their sales aren’t higher is “due to the high prices our managers force us to use,” or some other excuse.
When sales managers ask questions about these sales persons’ accounts, it becomes evident they really don’t know very much about the customer, who the real influencers are, and what their current issues and problems are.
Also there’s little joint planning as to sales opportunities or product development needs. Why? Because the sales persons have not been aware that it’s their responsibility to know more about the customer than the customer knows about themselves!
JB: So what do the best do?
VG: The best sales or business people are always ahead of the curve in learning about their customers, and in most cases, their customers’ customers. The best sales people are continuous learners. The subjects for their learning are themselves, their customers, their industry, their techniques and strategy, and the business applications of their products and services, including the financial return on investments their customer receives. They have a natural curiosity to learn more.
I’ve witnessed this phenomenon over the past two decades. The top performers are always the first to sign-up for new training and development. The losers say it’s a waste of time to learn sales stuff because they already know it! This experience discloses the real reason top sales people remain at the top of their field. They tell me the more they learn, the more they discover they need to learn! They acknowledge they don’t know everything and need to learn more to stay ahead.
JB: What other important lessons are learned, on the path to self-mastery?
VG: The best people and industry “super-stars” have learned they can’t do everything alone. As they become more successful, they have less free time to get everything done. They have to learn to collaborate with others, a sharing of tasks or activities. This allows sales or business people to focus on what they do very well and let others do the things they do best. This bond is called interdependency, and it’s the highest stage of personal development you can master.
For more mastery messages from Voss, please visit inneractiveconsulting.com
Jeff Blackman is a Hall of Fame speaker, author, success coach, broadcaster and lawyer. His clients call him a “business-growth specialist.” If you hire speakers, please contact Jeff at: 847.998.0688 or firstname.lastname@example.org. And visit jeffblackman.com to learn more about his other business-growth tools and to subscribe to Jeff’s FREE e-letter, The Results Report. Jeff’s books include; Stop Whining! Start Selling!, (an Amazon Bestseller) and the revised 4th edition, of the bestselling Peak Your Profits. You can also stay connected with Jeff via LinkedIn and Twitter: @BlackmanResults