How many times have you commented about someone else’s bad attitude? Or, how many times have you been told that your attitude will not play in this business? You may have even said you could do more if someone else’s attitude was more positive.
An attitude takes the blame for our shortcomings. Just blame it on their attitude as a reason why you are not achieving the results you desire. Using the attitude as permission to be mediocre and not achieve the desired results has all too often become the in-vogue statement of not meeting the objectives.
What are attitudes?
The dictionary states very simply a “personal view of something, an opinion or general feeling about something.” It does not state that it is good or bad, just an opinion about something. So, when and how does it become positive or negative? Going to the dictionary again, there is another definition: “Orientation of aircraft’s axes.” In aviation terms, it is the angle of an aircraft in relation to the direction of the airflow or to the horizontal plane. Very simply put, it is the direction in which you (or the plane) are leaning.
When is an attitude positive or negative? Only when a goal or outcome is affected by the attitude. For example, I could have an attitude about public speaking – as it is the number one fear for people. My attitude may be of total fear and anxiety about speaking in front of people. This attitude of speaking in front people is not positive or negative until I have the challenge to speak in front of people, then it becomes a negative attitude. By contrast, if I have a job counting polar bears at the North Pole, then my attitude of speaking in front of people is not even relevant. Now let’s say my attitude is that I love to speak in front of people; then working in the North Pole would not be a good outlet for my love-for-speaking attitude. It may be fair to say that I can’t keep quiet and, as a result, I scare the polar bears off or they come looking for me as dinner! It is just the way that we lean that determines if our attitude is positive or negative. If we lean toward a goal it is said that we have a positive attitude. If we lean away from a goal it is referred to as a negative attitude.
In sales our attitude or our opinion is critical to the desired outcome. I can have an attitude of dislike about cold-calling for new customers. This is only relevant if my job is to make calls daily for new prospects as a source of revenue. Then this attitude of disliking cold-calls leans me away from being successful at making phone calls. This is where sales people find creative avoidance to making calls. They will find anything else to do (like organizing emails) to avoid making calls. When you find successful sales people who do not depend on “leads,” their attitude is of great satisfaction and enjoyment when making calls. You could say they have a positive attitude about calling. In fact, the people who are really good at calling and finding deals on the phone don’t call it “cold-calling,” they call it “dialing for dollars.” In other words, their attitude is leaning them toward success and, as a result, they have a positive attitude. They see calling as a key to success.
I was working with a certain client in South Dakota. His sales staff was not very effective using the phone. He asked me to talk with the sales team to see if we could change their attitude as it pertained to making outgoing calls. After some intense questions on my part, their responses (excuses) reflected that most of the team had a strong resistance to making outgoing calls. Maybe you have heard some of their excuses: “It’s hard getting rejected all day long” or “When I call, people get mad and demand that I not call them any more.” Or my personal favorite: “These leads didn’t buy when they were here the first time, why would they buy when I called?” The list of reasons went on and on as to why they believed working the phones was a bad idea.
As a test, I asked them to think about what they were doing from a different point of view. I told them that I would give each team member one million dollars cash with no stings attached and I would even pay the taxes if they could get ten great leads or opportunities from the phone in 48 hours. One more thing, they could not share the money or tell anyone that they would get one million dollars if they achieved the goal of ten solid leads in 48 hours. A silence that fell on the room as each one of them had to think of what they would do via of the phone to get 10 solid leads. Within in a few minutes each one on them said they could make it happen and if they didn’t, they sure as heck would die trying. They said they would do whatever it took to get those customers excited about coming to their business and buying a widget. One man even said he would have to hear “no” a hundred times before he moved on and even then he would try one more time to close them. A “no” was not even an option. Now, what changed? All that changed was the opinion of the value as to making outgoing phone calls. Their attitude changed instantly, nothing else changed.
The whole point of the million-dollar offer was to get them to realize that a positive or negative attitude is a choice. We can choose to change our attitude if the goal or outcome far outweighs the consequence of not changing. As a leader, you do not need to use money to motivate people; but, you do need to know what each person’s goal is for working for you. Then, you ask: Does this person’s attitude or opinion move them closer to their goal or further away? Help people see the benefit to having a different perception about achieving their goals. Do not tell people they have a bad attitude. If you do, they will prove you right. Take a few minutes and show them the way around the obstacles. Model the way by making some calls yourself. The most important belief you need is to be successful. It is normal for people to have a positive attitude and you will find yourself becoming a great coach. Great coaches believe they can win because they have the best team. Even if they don’t have the best team, their attitude is “I have the best team in the country” and, as a result, they coach their people to win, even on the phone.
Get to know author and top Las Vegas motivational speaker, Jim Jackson