By Dave Kahle
I had just switched jobs, going from a salary, bonus and company car to a 100 percent commission position. It was a big risk, but I had calculated the amount of existing business in my new territory, and calculated that, if I could double it, I’d be actually making a better living.
I had grown bored in my previous job, and was looking for a new challenge. However, during my training for the new job, the sales manager who had hired me left, and a new one was appointed. When I returned home from training, he informed me that he had reduced the size of my territory by 75 percent.
I was shocked. How could I make a living when I was reduced to a fraction of the existing business on which I was counting? I immediately began looking for another job, determining that I didn’t want to work for a company which treated its employees so ruthlessly.
After a few months and a number of interviews, I realized that I was not going to get a different job. All the prospective employers saw the problem as me, not the company.
My draw ran out, I owed the company thousands of dollars in back draw payments; I was making hardly anything, and I had no prospects. I was angry and resentful – harboring malicious thoughts about my employer – and I could see no hope.
Then, one day, it dawned on me. The problem was me! Yes, my employer had been ruthless and unethical. But, the product was still exciting, my training was excellent, and my opportunities were unlimited. The problem was my emotions and my attitude. As long as I continued to be angry, resentful and hopeless, I would only prolong my miserable conditions. I was choosing those negative thoughts and emotions.
I decided that I could choose otherwise. I decided to change how I thought and felt.
So I got a pack of index cards, searched for every positive expression I could find, and wrote them down on the index cards. Many came out of the Bible: “If God is with you, who can be against you?” for example.
After filling up 20 – 30 cards, I took them with me every day. On the way into my territory, driving down I-96 in the Northern Suburbs of Detroit, I’d hold them between my two hands on the steering wheel, and read them over and over to myself. I’d read one, flip it over, and read the next. I’d read them on the way in and on the way out. I’d read them in waiting rooms and coffee shops, over lunch and between appointments.
And gradually I came to change my attitude. I began to rid myself of the anger, resentment and hopelessness, and substitute hopefulness and optimism.
Within six months, I had paid back the thousands of dollars that I owed the company, and was making more, with more satisfaction, and having more fun than I ever had in a job before or since.
The turning point was when I decided to take charge of my own thoughts and emotions – when I decided that I could control how I thought and how I felt.
Since then, I’ve discovered that the habit of managing your thoughts and emotions is one of those higher-level practices of the best salespeople everywhere. The really good ones; the ones who succeed year after year, who are at the top of their profession for the better part of their careers, have discovered how to manage their emotions.
Less effective salespeople allow the ebb and flow of the day’s events to dictate their thoughts and their emotions, and become bogged down in negativity.
That’s one of the reasons why the best are the best.
Dave Kahle is one of the world’s leading sales authorities. He’s written ten books, presented in 47 states and nine countries, and has helped enrich tens of thousands of sales people and transform hundreds of sales organizations. Sign up for his free weekly Ezine. His most recent book, How to Sell Anything to Anyone Anytime, has been named one of the “five best business books,” by three international entities.
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