Years ago, I had a mentor who was interviewing a man who had done extremely well in my industry, and had a massive impact and a huge presence in this industry. Just to give some tangible representation to that, by the time he was 21 years of age, he was earning 9 million dollars a year. Which is not exactly a common accomplishment. My mentor flew out to San Diego where the guy was living to pick his brain, and he asked “how did you do it?”
It is the answer to that question I will never forget and it is something we are going to talk about right now. He said: “Look, there is no question, if you want to achieve this level of success there are many things you need to do effectively, no doubt about it. But if there is one thing I have to pinpoint that is responsible for my success more than anything else, it is this, it is one word and something you might want to write down. And that word is modeling. Just think about that word for a moment.
What is modeling?
Now, what do I mean by modeling? No, I am not talking about doing runway or taking photos. When I say modeling, what I mean is finding someone who’s getting the results that you want in some area of your life and duplicating certain, specific aspects of what that person is doing so you can achieve the same level of results in your own life but in a much shorter period of time.
Another way to describe it is that success leaves clues, and you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The bottom line is that there are two ways to learn or master anything in life: one is through trial and error, also known as the school of hard knocks, and the other is modeling. This concept may sound simple or it may make sense, I don’t think I am talking about anything most of us have not heard before, right? If you want to do well at something, learn from someone else who has done it before and look to emulate that.
But what is the challenge? The challenge is most people don’t know how to do this effectively. Notice that I titled this with EFFECTIVE modeling, not just modeling. It is a huge mistake a lot of people make, they very often just focus on imitation or simply the strategies, and they miss a much larger essence or component to effectively emulate someone who’s operating at the highest level. This process of effective modeling can be a game changer. I know that it was in my life and I know that it distinguished the careers of many, many top-producing sales pros.
I want to briefly share a very simple but extremely powerful formula that you can apply to effectively model anyone in any area of life at any time, including and especially regarding top producing sales professionals.
Modeling Sales Strategies
I want to start on this by looking at the third-most important component first, and that is focusing on someone’s strategies. This is really only 20% of the entire formula. This is what I was talking about before when I said that this is what most people tend to focus and spend most of their time on. This is the example of the person who says, “just teach me a bunch of closes”, or “just give me some verbiage to say” without looking at the bigger picture. How often have we seen two people side by side, with the same scripts and the same resources, saying the same things but not creating the same results? While understanding the strategies is important, there is much more to the process than that.
I don’t think I need to speak much about this. It is important to learn the verbiage and how people present the product or service, but the strategy really only takes you so far. Because this is what’s focused on most, it’s the easiest to understand.
That brings me to the second more important component of effective modeling.
“State Management”: Mastering Your State of Mind
The next component really goes hand in hand with number 1, and I’d estimate it to be about 40% of the formula. This component is “state management”, which refers to your ability to control your state of mind and emotions and focus on a consistent basis. The goal is to be in that state of mind where you know you can’t be stopped, to be in what I call a peak state of mind.
Someone who is in this state will not let the rejection phase them, this doesn’t mean you have to be all hyped up, but in that state of mind the right words seem to roll off of your tongue effortlessly. You seem to have the right things to say, the right questions to ask, you know how to direct the conversation, you know where you are going at any given point in your process, and it is a very powerful place to be in. This is one of the things that will distinguish a top producer, when they are in the state of mind of confidence, focus and enthusiasm.
Very often people hear this and it just sounds like positive thinking. This isn’t just positive thinking or motivated speaking, that is not what this is about. This is about taking a strategic approach to managing your mind on a consistent basis.
Ask Yourself the Right Questions
If there is anything about this that I want you to take in and pay attention to it will be this right now. One of the most powerful and effective things you can do for your state of mind on a consistent basis is to pay attention to the quality of questions you are asking yourself consistently. Are you someone who tends to ask questions to yourself like “Why do I always screw things up?”, “Why do I always drop the ball?”, or “Why does this always happen to me?”, or other questions that may not empower you to be your best? I am not saying that won’t occur from time to time but I am talking about being conscious of these questions. Instead, what could you be asking yourself on a consistent basis that can put you in the peak state and set you up to succeed more consistently?
You can create the right questions on your own, but should consistently direct the focus of your mind positively. A few examples of this could be:
- What about what I’m doing right now gets me excited?
- What about what I’m doing right now am I looking forward to?
- What about this process am I looking forward to?
- What are the recent successes I have had?
- What are some victories I have recently experienced?
- Who is a great role model or example that I could look up to?
If things are not working out for me very well right now, if I am not getting the results I want, or if things are not going exactly as planned or on time, who can I look at as an example of success that can spur me on and remind me of what is possible?
How is what I am doing right now going to serve the person I am speaking with? How will this help them or their organization?
I hope you’re getting the idea that there are a slew of questions you can ask yourself like this, that can make a real difference. I know that there have been times in my career, especially earlier on when I was getting started, and there were people I thought were no more intelligent than me getting much better results. At times it can be discouraging. Every time I started to feel that way I would just bring a pad of paper and a pen, and just write down questions like this and think about what is possible or what I can create.
I am telling you as tangible as the wall in front of you, it would get me back in the game. A great way to practice with this is to ask questions like this in the morning, when you are on your way to work, as you are getting into the office. Focusing on these questions is a very profound way to shift your entire focus.
Manage Your Physiology
Another example of how you can manage your state of mind and emotion consistently is to manage your physiology. When I refer to your physiology I am talking of course of the way you use your body, the way you stand, the way you move, the way you breathe, the way you gesture. I will tell you that even when I am on a call my hands are open and I am motioning as I speak, like I would if I was there in person.
If you think your body posture, your physiology, whether you are standing or sitting, the way you move your hands and feel what you’re saying does not translate, I promise you it does. The way that you control your body can have a huge impact on the way that you are feeling, your energy level, how clearly you focus, and how clearly you are communicating.
Have you ever had a day where you are just not feeling it that day? Maybe you are not totally engaged, but then you did something. You stood up, you went for a walk, you got a drink of water, you did something to put some motion into your body and change your physiology and you found that when you came back to your desk you actually felt differently. This works!
So if you find yourself in a place where your state is slipping or you are not at your best or you feel that you are not transmitting the way that you would like, you could do something about it. Stand up, get some motion going into your body. There is an old saying that you may have heard before “Motion creates a motion”, Don’t take that for granted. We were not meant to be sedentary beings.
Manage Your Belief System
Now I would like to talk about the number one key component of effective modeling, and that is your belief system. Your belief system is 40% of the formula, the most important 40%. Your beliefs are huge, your personal beliefs about who you are, what you are good at, what you are bad at, business, life, money, sales. Your personal beliefs will ultimately determine the actions you take, the results you create and the potential that you tap in to on a consistent basis.
Your beliefs, for better or worse, are ultimately determining the quality of your life. What is really profound about this is in working with and studying the best of the best in professional sales for close to 2 decades, I have found that across industry, cultural, geographic lines, seniority levels, background, socioeconomic status, education, whatever the particulars may be, that when you look at the best of the best, the top 3% of sales pros, that there are three core beliefs that will serve us consistently.
There are three common beliefs that tend to distinguish top producing sales pros worldwide. Those 3 beliefs are:
- There are no failures, there are only outcomes
- The breakthrough can happen in an instant
- There is always a way if I am committed
These beliefs are so important that I gave them their own blog post where you can read about these much more in depth.
These 3 parts of the formula, focus on someone’s strategies, controlling your state of mind, and managing your belief system, are critical to be able to model effectively. I encourage you to take a close look at your mindset. Be diligent and be willing to cultivate a mindset, protect it, cultivate the beliefs and the habits that mirror top producing sales pros. Because I got news for you: if they can do it, you can do it, and that is a fact.