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Sales – a head game

Posted by Pasquale Acampora on 25-May-2015 09:00:00

Sales_-_A_Head_GameWithout the right sales process and tools you will fail. That’s clear. But I want to talk about other things that help you to make the best of your sales process and tools. These are things that are in your head that make you perform better as a Sales Professional.

These are the 5 things I want to look at:

  • An enquiring mind

  • Passion

  • Positive attitude

  • Persistence

  • A calm and balanced state of mind

An enquiring mind

You have to know about the market the customer is in and you have to know about their business, we know how important this is from the research Infoteam has done. Customers hate having to explain to Sales people what it is they do.  But you won’t know everything. So you ask questions – but only if you are curious and have an enquiring mind.

It’s important that you enquire in the right way. By all means use a question to demonstrate you have some understanding, for instance you could say “I know many businesses in your sector have to put a lot of resources into responding to tenders, how is this for you?” This shows you have some knowledge and earns you the right to ask more questions.

But the real benefit comes when you carefully listen to the answers, with an open mind and take a real interest in what the customer has to say. This triggers very productive conversations with them and is likely to build trust that really improves your chance of advancing the sale.

I have a friend who asked enough questions to give him the idea for a whole new business. He was in the office of a football manager and noticed there were many videotapes labelled with the names of footballers from around the world. The manager explained that he had to watch them to help decide which players he would try to buy, rather than going all over the world to see different players. My friend created a database with the details of every player around the world on it so managers can review them quickly and easily and this is now the leading company providing this service globally.


You have to believe in what you sell and you have to love selling. Your passion is infectious; customers will start looking for reasons to work with you if you show how much you care. Of course no amount of passion can overcome a poor solution or price, but I found just recently that my belief in what I do made a big difference. 

I had made my pitch and when I won I asked the HR Manager what were the reason why they chose us. She replied: “Surely tools, practical concepts and methodologies, but most of all your passion in explaining what you did and how we could use it in our company. There are a lot of good tools and methodologies today, but we need a person who can help us to drive the change and this can’t be made without passion about what you do, without a firm belief that what you do can be applied and can be useful to obtain better results. This is the main reason why we chose you”.

A positive attitude

If you have a positive attitude you are more likely to win. If you are in a negative state of mind you will be put off if you don’t win quickly and lose faith. The worst thing that can happen is if you do the wrong thing and get lucky and win. Then you will keep doing the wrong thing and maybe never win again!

The other thing about a positive attitude is that it helps you to learn. If you can treat a loss as an opportunity to learn then you will be better prepared for the next pitch. Sales people who don’t have a positive attitude don’t learn from losses and are afraid to receive critical feedback.


Sales is a numbers game, you win some you lose some. Yes you can work hard and work smart but you have to keep trying and you have to stick to your process and use your tools every time. You won’t win every time but if you are persistent and consistent you will win more often than if you start cutting corners.

A calm and balanced state of mind

The best sports people do not win every point or even every game. Likewise the best Sales Professionals may not win every pitch. You have to stay calm and look at every loss as an opportunity to learn. You have to take responsibility and acknowledge that you can’t change products, prices or corporate policies but you can change what you do.

Time spent with your family at the weekend instead of in the office will make you perform better during the week. Trying to achieve a good balance in your life and developing the right mind-set to winning and losing will help you perform much better in the long term.

Some questions to ask yourself

  •       Do you show curiosity and passion when you are selling?

  •       Do you go into every meeting feeling positive?

  •       Do you continuously refine the way you sell?

Score yourself against 20 Success Factors with our B2B Selling Health Check:

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