3 Sales Mindsets that can really hurt you

The other day at a networking event I overheard someone say, “She’s so good at sales that she could sell ice to Eskimos.” It made me think of other such statements like, “He’s got the gift of gab and can talk anyone into buying from him.” And, “That one is a born salesman,” as if the person had inherited some fortunate ability through their genes.

Inherent in these statements is the underlying message that selling a buyer something they don’t need is “good salesmanship”. It’s not. Let’s call it what it really is –manipulation.

Caring more about making a sale than what is best for the customer is self-centered, to the buyer’s detriment. Equally as damaging is when someone is so intimidated at the thought of asking for a sale, they help the buyer say “No”. You’re acting either as the sales shark or the door mat. Neither one works long-term.

Good salesmanship is where the buyer gets what they want or need, and the seller gets fairly compensated. Everyone wins.

Here are 3 sales mindsets that people adopt without realizing how detrimental they can be. Check your own thoughts to make sure you aren’t falling into one of these traps:

Seat of the pants sales

This approach is taken on by free-spirited nonconformists who rebel against structure. These folks haven’t yet discovered that using a proven-to-work sales structure can double or triple their results. Consider this: There is great freedom within structure. You don’t have to give up one to get the other working for you.


Educators are empathetic, caring people who just want to help others. They often do all the talking, and therefore very little listening. People of this mindset educate believing if they can make a compelling case with the data, people will naturally buy. They don’t typically know how to qualify a prospect to make sure they are a good fit. Consider this: Free consulting doesn’t pay the bills. There is a time to educate, and a balance of give and take that will help you succeed at sales.

Relationship building

What could be wrong with relationship building? As with educating, it has its place, which I propose is after you’ve made the sale, not before. You undermine your own sales success when you think you must have a close relationship before trying to sell somebody something. When people have a problem, they want a solution. They are not looking to make friends with a salesperson. Once you provide that solution, they almost inevitably like you, and a relationship can develop over time. Consider this: Selling to friends carries more risks and potential for blow ups than working with complete strangers.

In summary, good salespeople aren’t “born” that way. Anyone – including you – can learn how to be a dynamite salesperson. It takes the will to do it, learning some tools and strategies, and the courage to implement what you learn.

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