I was introduced to Dr. Carol Dweck’s concept of Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset several years ago and it has made its way into practically every aspect of my life. This simple, but powerful, concept broadly divides behaviors and thought patterns into two buckets:

Fixed Mindset reflects an attitude that talent is either present or not, and talented people are naturally “good at” certain things, like sports or math or drawing or leadership.

Growth Mindset takes a different approach, expressing itself in faith that dedication, hard work, practice and constant challenge can lead to exceptional performance or proficiency.

You can see these two mindsets express themselves in a selling environment. A Salesperson with a fixed mindset may say something like: “I can sell anything to anyone, just bring them in the door.”  This salesperson may be charismatic, smart and articulate–they may have excellent interview skills and exude confidence. On the surface, they seem destined for success and they’ve probably been told that more than once along the way. Strangely, that same “talented” salesperson may be the first one to give up at an objection and wish to move on to the next “better” prospect. When you have a difficult product to sell, one that requires a series of incremental advances and a trusting relationship to create an eventual success, someone with a fixed mindset will not be your best performer.

Sales Counselors with a growth mindset gravitate toward challenging prospects. They understand that success happens in steps and they view missteps as learning opportunities. A growth mindset shows itself in curiosity, insightful questions and listening. It shows itself in a desire for forward motion and determination without showing impatience with the process. A growth mindset sales counselor doesn’t look for excuses or reasons why their prospect isn’t “good,” they look for opportunities to understand the problem and lead their prospect with good decisions.

The good news: Growth Mindset can be taught, managed and rewarded in a selling environment.

Consider your current incentive structure and sales management style. Are you truly encouraging a growth-minded approach or are you actually reinforcing a fixed mindset? I have seen many client communities over the years make this mistake–they hire people who feel entitled to a quick close and crumble when they realize how hard it is to sell to seniors and their families. They take a numbers approach that focuses a little too much on close rates and frenzied activity without encouraging depth of conversation and face-to-face interactions.

When I am assessing performance, my measures tend to revolve around how much curiosity we demonstrated, whether we are willing to “go the distance” with a prospect, and how we used our questions and listening to formulate a multi-step plan for eventual success. As it happens, teams that encourage growth mindset behaviors and attitudes also tend to have the highest close rates and overall performance. Curious about what this can look like for you and your team? Contact me and we can talk it over.