It is important to have a positive attitude because a negative one can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. This reminds me of the expression that goes something like, “Whether you believe you will fail or succeed, you’re right.”

This expression may sound innocuous, but it actually points to some serious consequences for business owners. If you are wondering why you are struggling to make sales, the first thing you should check is your attitude.

Perhaps you will notice that you have a negative attitude about yourself, your products or services, or your customers, current economic conditions and the state of the world. Unattended to, your negative attitude will become your reality and you will fail. To succeed, you must correct it.

Imagine that two equally knowledgeable, skilled and capable people are offering the same product or service.

One has a positive attitude while the other has a negative attitude. The one with a more positive attitude is likely to outperform the one with a negative attitude every time. So check your attitude.

Build on success

What can you do to improve your attitude? Sometimes awareness alone is not enough. Try drawing upon past successes and remembering what worked.

When I was a financial services representative years ago, I went to meetings with prospects believing that they would sign up right then and there. And usually they did.

This belief wasn’t arrogance on my part but rather confidence based on past experience. I loved my company’s product and I knew that it helped clients achieve their goals. I was knowledgeable about the product — and those of our competitors — and confident in my ability to articulate the features and benefits. Because I was able to draw upon past successes in helping parents invest in their children’s post-secondary education, I had no reason to doubt that I could repeat those results on each sales call I made. Success breeds success.

Demonstrate value

You might be wondering what to do if you have never had success in this area. Maybe you have never sold a certain type of product or service before. Maybe you are new to sales altogether. Here you need to tap into some other past successes.

Surely you have had some accomplishments or achievements in other areas. Draw upon those for motivation and inspiration. What did you do well to achieve that goal?

What inner quality did you call on to succeed? Was it courage? Resourcefulness? Speedy responsiveness? Was it attentiveness, curiosity, knowledge?

There is little difference between a $100 sale and a $1,000 sale. And little difference between a $1,000 sale and a $10,000 sale. And so on. If you can sell something for $100, you can sell something for $10,000 (or more) as long as you can demonstrate the value. The selling process is the same. You are just adding zeros.

Back to basics

Getting better at your craft will help you improve your confidence and develop a more positive attitude. Go back to basics. Learn more about your product and service. Working with a coach could help you incorporate these tools into your everyday behaviour so they become habits.

One way of having a positive attitude is to make sure that you are interacting with positive people in a good environment. Misery loves company and miserable people love to bring you down to their level.

Stay away from complainers and whiners. They are only making excuses for their failure and hoping that you will give them permission to fail. By playing their game, you are actually giving yourself permission to fail.

Don’t get sucked in. Instead, spend your time learning from winners.

How conducive is your working environment to success? Look around your office and make sure you have the tools of the trade that you need.

Do you have a comfortable chair? Do you have a fast and reliable Internet connection? What about a computer with all of the software applications you need? If you find yourself starting sentences with, “If I only had”, then it is time for you to get off your butt and go and get it.

When I’m delivering sales coaching and training to sales professionals and managers I inform them that the first thing to analyse if they aren’t reaching their targets is their attitude.

The foundation to being successful in sales is having a positive attitude towards learning new skills and the discipline to implement them.