April 14

Gretchen Gordon on Sales Mindset


Gretchen Gordon, President of Braveheart Sales Performance leads a team of consultants who solve sales problems for clients.  She is an award-winning Sales Management blogger and has been recognized repeatedly as a Top 50 Sales Influencer.  She is a dynamic speaker at conferences and events and contributes sales articles to a variety of publications and sites focused on effective sales leadership having been published by Selling Power.  Gretchen is an avid competitive golfer and is a student of performance psychology.  She loves to explore the parallels between sport and sales performance. 

Gordon is not your typical sales consultant or speaker, in that sales did not come naturally to her.  After a failed Girl Scout cookie sales career, followed by a miserable P&G sales stint, Gordon overcame her fears and hesitancies related to sales and became an award-winning salesperson, sales manager, and leader.  She ultimately founded Braveheart to help businesses empower their sales teams to execute at the highest level.  She is fascinated by the science of selling and captures her audiences with real-life stories and data while providing them actionable takeaways.

As a self-proclaimed sales nerd, Gretchen is passionate about saving the world, one sales team at a time.

Check out my Success Mindset Course

Contact Gretchen:

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[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:00
Hey everyone! I had a great conversation on this episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast with Gretchen Gordon. She's a president of Braveheart Sales Performance. And the main thing we talked about, it was the fact that she shared that 75% of salespeople have something inside their mindset that stops them from reaching their potential. And we got a chance to take a deep dive into the human psyche. For a long time. Now, I've been thinking about that, you know, how do we unlock that potential that's trapped within salespeople? How do we get them to get a stronger mindset, so they become bolder, they could execute at a higher level. So I've developed this course called the success mindset course. And this course teaches salespeople how to take charge of their mindset. So they overcome any hesitation or anxieties or fears and they step up in a way that makes them exceptional. I'm going to put a link to the new course in the show notes. Go check it out, it will change your sales career, get ready for another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast.

Umar Hameed 1:05
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello, everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to The No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.

Gretchen Gordon 1:32
Hello, everyone. Today I have the pleasure of chatting with Gretchen Gordon. She is the founder and president of Braveheart Sales Performance. And we had the privilege of meeting on March 10. At the sales 3.0 conference. Gretchen welcome to the program.

Gretchen Gordon 1:51
Thank you, Umar happy to be here.

Umar Hameed 1:54
So what's kind of interesting on that particular day, like the the COVID virus was around the world, and it wasn't really here yet. It was coming. And people were concerned about it. But by the end of that day, the world change for every salesperson in the US that day, right?

Gretchen Gordon 2:11
Absolutely. We were I think we were a little naive. Actually. We ran the conference.

Gretchen Gordon 2:20
The only thing that disappointed me in that day was seeing you at that conference, handing out the lanyards because you want to sport salespeople and not having blue paint on your face.

Gretchen Gordon 2:31
Well, I think you were I think maybe the next conference, we'll have to amp it up a little bit.

Gretchen Gordon 2:38
Absolutely. So Gretchen, tell me up. Today we want to talk about because at the conference, we were talking about mindset how critical that is? How do you think COVID-19 is going to impact our companies, our sales people, because they're all raring to come back. But sometimes when you come back after something like that you're not in the right headspace to really do what needs to be done, right?

Gretchen Gordon 3:05
Yeah, no, you're exactly right. I mean, there's, there's, I think I would say there's two elements. One is during the crisis, where people are stressed, and, and there's a lot of uncertainty and there's anxiety, we tend to not operate as effectively, our brains actually don't work, you know, that probably better than anyone, our brains don't work as effectively, when we're kind of in that high stress, high anxiety, state of mind. And, you know, and we can't control what is going on out there. And I think that that loss of control is what you know, that freaks everybody out, but in particular sales people are accustomed to, I'm going to make this many calls, I'm going to be able to talk to this many prospect prospects, and and then I'm going to be able to close X amount of business. And when we're, you know, in this state where we can't get ahold of prospects, and we can't have those types of conversations. And frankly, we we really can't have the same kinds of conversations we were having, you know, three weeks ago, because everything's changed. That creates a lot of stress. And so a lot of times salespeople don't know really how to deal with it. And it's really their mindset that they have to fix First of all, or they have to focus on and then I think Umar, you're correct. The second piece is, I need to prepare for what do I do when we get back to Kwazii normal, and you can't just pounce on everybody and say, Okay, we're all back to normal now. Do you want to buy from me? And so it's really a matter of changing your conversations. But it really starts with your mindset. It really starts with getting comfortable with what you're thinking about and what you're reacting to. And then you can either reach out or respond to pressure prospects and customers in an appropriate way now during the crisis, and after the crisis.

Gretchen Gordon 5:05
Of course. And there's this play that I've never seen, but I quote from it, that's never stopped me. It's called finding Godot. At the end of the play, they say, let's go stage direction, no one moves. And I think our salespeople are going to come back, they're going to be thinking all the right things at a superficial level and wanting to do the right things. But I think the actual execution part, it'll be interesting how that gets impacted, as well. Because certainly, there's going to be what you described, people on the other end, our customers may not be in the right spot to, to engage in by they're gonna be trying to get their businesses back up and running. But I think there's an opportunity for the companies that get this right. That how do we get our people back in, make them feel safe and comfortable, because there's market share to be had, when we come out of the gates, it's almost like it levels the playing field for a little while. And everyone starting from ground zero again, and those who can figure it out, are gonna gain market share at this critical moment in time.

Gretchen Gordon 6:08
You're exactly right. I started Braveheart in 2009, which was, you know, kind of on the heels of pretty significant economic downturn and started it really to help clients, client companies survive and thrive during and after that recession. And you're exactly right. What we do know is that the better sales people were able to position themselves and the companies that they represented appropriately, and were actually positioned to gain market share, you have to actually be better if there's an economic downturn, which, you know, we don't know exactly what the length of this is going to be. But afterwards, you're exactly right. You need to be able to take advantage of how can I help the customer? And some of the things that that, that we think about are not just the tactical execution, you know, okay, go, like you said, Okay, let's go, right, let's just, you know, and and what we see a lot of managers doing and saying, In good times, is just okay, just go have more sales conversations, just go make more calls. And I fear that that will happen when we're able to get ahold of prospects again, and everybody will just be attacking the prospects. And so there is one element, which is right, you can only control what you can control, so your activities and your behaviors, but guess what, you can also control your mindset and your reactions to the outside world. And that's going to be critically important. When you can get ahold of prospects and customers that you don't get all I guess, I would say, Don't lose emotional control and get all excited. Oh, someone actually picked up the phone. And now I'm gonna I'm gonna, you know, just blurt out. Hey, alright, so are you ready to buy? So it takes, it takes a degree of emotional control in the difficult times. And then also, when the gates kind of open back up so that we don't, you know, we don't get in our own way, I guess I would say.

Gretchen Gordon 8:21
Absolutely. One of the things you speak about Gretchen is something called sales DNA. What do you mean by that?

Gretchen Gordon 8:27
Yes. So sales, so So if you think about the whole body of what makes up a sales person, let's say there's, there are tactical selling competencies, right. So we know what those are, those are pretty easily identifiable, hunting skills, good questioning skills, qualifying skills, able to follow a sales, a repeatable sales process. Those are what we would call selling competencies, or they're more tactical in nature, right? Um, but sales DNA really refers to the underlying elements that really impact the ability of a salesperson to utilize the learned tactics and skills. So you might know, here's an example you might know how to hunt or you might know what you're supposed to do to be effective prospecting or you might know what to do to be an effective qualifier. However, Yes, right. So however, and we teach those things all the time, and when we onboard salespeople, we tell them say this, ask this question. If they say this say that if they say this, ask that question. And the sales DNA though, is what lurks beneath the surface kind of like an iceberg, right? tactical skills are what you see above the waterline sales DNA and the willingness to do things that are necessary, lurk beneath the waterline and it's a much bigger component of that. iceberg in, in most situations, you know, think about the Titanic, right? So sales DNA are that are the elements like our beliefs, our motivations, our thoughts, the items that either support, or sabotage our ability to effectively use the tactics that we have learned.

Umar Hameed 10:24
Gretchen, sometimes, you know, when I'm in front of a large group of salespeople, I will ask them to finish the sentence salespeople are. And the reason I do that is at the heart of who we are, as human beings is where we hold our beliefs about everything of importance in our awareness, from money, to sales, to family, to country, to cars, to coffee, whatever most of those beliefs we get, by the time we're seven years of age. So those thoughts were simple thoughts. And so when I asked that question salespeople are somebody in the audience will shout out driven, someone else or go motivated, make things happen are amazing, are powerful. And after about six positive attributes, keep in mind, these are all sales people in the audience, someone will say, they're sleazy, they're untrustworthy, they'll do anything for money, and all of a sudden you get a list, that's three times longer of negative attributes around salespeople. reason this is so effective is our society's beliefs around salespeople is negative. And since we live in it, we absorb those two, and sometimes that is some of the stuff underneath in that iceberg below the water. We know what to do, but we just don't do it. Because you've got one of these beliefs guiding us from deep within.

Gretchen Gordon 11:36
Yeah, absolutely. We see that and I actually have some data. Would you mind if I shared a couple statistics?

Umar Hameed 11:41
I love it. I love data.

Umar Hameed 11:43
Yeah. So we have data on about 600,000 sales people from all walks of life. So it can be you know, mostly b2b, but it also can be b2c and only 600,000. Yeah, only 600,000, I'm sorry. And, and, but they can be complex sales to you know, transactional, everything you could think of from a type of seller. Yeah, and it doesn't really change across the board, we see these same things. So I mine this data every once in a while. And we know that 85% of this, you know, roughly 600,000 salespeople have self limiting beliefs. So self limiting beliefs that derail them in some aspect of sales, so self limiting beliefs around selling, and which causes them more difficulty. So more than three quarters of the selling population, if you want to extrapolate that info, has issues with their own head, about selling.

Gretchen Gordon 12:51
And what's the difficult part is because it's a belief that sits in the unconscious, we're not aware of it. The only thing we're aware of our behaviors. And sometimes we know what we want to do, and we know how to do it, but we just don't do it. And if that's happening for you, dear listener, that means that there's a belief inside your unconscious, that's causing it, yeah, when you overcome it, it just changes your life because all of a sudden, that thing you were struggling with, there's no more struggle, you just execute at a much higher level.

Gretchen Gordon 13:20
That's right. Do you ever, do you ever also see sales people that they don't know that this is why you know, they're they're not operating optimally? And

Umar Hameed 13:30

Gretchen Gordon 13:30
Yeah. And so they know that they're supposed to do it, they should have said that next thing, they should have asked the question, but it felt uncomfortable. So they walk away, right? And then they feel bad. They do they feel worse about themselves. That's what we see.

Umar Hameed 13:43
Of course. So let me tell you about this lady had heard me speak at a keynote and she came in to see me isn't a small company, this five people in the company, it's her her husband own it, and three employees. And she comes in and she tells me Umar, I go to networking events, I meet people, I call them up to get an appointment. People don't want to meet with me. As soon as I get off the phone, I knew what I should have said when when he said this, I should have said that. I know what to say after the fact but not in the moment. And that she's telling me this story. She's telling me how important it is for her to figure this out. And she goes with a right hand making, you know, really strong gesture, she goes, Umar, I'm gonna be great at this, I just know it. And then the other hand comes up the left hand with gestures and a weak voice and she goes, but you know, I really don't have any formal sales training. So it's this kind of difficult than our other hand comes back up and says, but I know overcome it. As soon as I saw that, I knew that there was an inner conflict inside her mind at a deep unconscious level. One part of her psyche knows that she can do this. But the other part of our psyche is like you're not smart enough to do it and it's an internal war going on. It creates a lot of stress. So this was a Friday afternoon, we resolve the conflict you Using a branch of psychology called neurolinguistics, send her on her way. And the instructions were you know, on Monday, you collected business cards this week for cold calling purposes, people you met at networking events, call them on Monday and see what's different. And she says, Okay, I got to work on Monday, I picked up the phone, and I call the first person. And I landed an appointment. It was such a rare occurrence that I danced in a little company. And that day, I got five appointments. And that week, I got 17 appointments when she called back, and this is what you described, Umar, it's as if the right words fell out of my mouth. And that's a perfect example of a limiting process within her was blocking her. As soon as we removed it. She always knew what to say. She was saying it, that's what I love about the work that you and I do is that we come at it from different lenses, but the same issue is at hand is how do we get people to change their mindset? So they become awesome, or it's not a word yet, but it should be.

Gretchen Gordon 15:56
Absolutely. I love that story. We actually so so you're right, we come at it from maybe a slightly different perspective. But we're we're doing the same thing, which is helping individuals. And we tend to help teams of individuals, overcome those self limiting beliefs, the negative thoughts that they have the negative mindset that they might carry to a sales conversation, and then we we add in the tactical elements. So for companies that don't necessarily have their process, all scripted out, let's say don't have, you know, don't know what their sales people should be doing. They just have, you know, gotten there, and they just try to hire the right sales people. We kind of put those two together. I haven't I have a similar story. Do you mind if I share it? Of course, please. So we were working with a sales team. And we always do an evaluation at the front end of a team process. So we actually know, we use the objective Management Group battery of sales tools, which are phenomenal. And...

Umar Hameed 17:06
That's Dave Curlin,right?

Gretchen Gordon 17:07
Dave Curlin, exactly. And what they and what they do for us and what they do for the clients are, it tells us exactly what we need to work with, with each individual salesperson with each individual sales manager and the team collectively, both from a tactical skill set standpoint. And then also from a mindset standpoint, or sales DNA as you met. Yes. So we were working with a team of, you know, the manager and the team. And we evaluated this team of salespeople, and the most senior person on the team was afic, had been with the company about 20 years and had been very successful. They sell to hospitals and large physician practices. And she came back as not being highly, you know, really motivated or willing to change, etc, etc. So what she'd been doing was working for her. And what we learned was that she wasn't necessarily that interested in in doing something different. Well, we worked with him for a few months, and we what we really found out is that she just lacked the confidence to change she lacked, you know, she was nervous about a team coming in from the outside and telling her what to do differently. Well, after we worked with them on a tactical aspect, and with their sales DNA, I actually got a text from this 20 year veteran who said, you know, who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks after doing this for 20 plus years, I've never been able to have the kind of conversation I need to have with the CFO of the hospitals, you know, the highest level C level people, and she said, your tactics about how to set the call up, and your help in helping me get over, you know, my self limiting beliefs about what I could and couldn't do, have absolutely changed my life. And you know, this old dog is is changed. And, and then, you know, had our best year ever, right? So I'm, I get so excited about that, because it truly is, you know, we we can teach everybody to say what to say, you know, there's zillions of sales training and consulting companies out there that would say, say this, do this. But the piece that generally makes the biggest difference is what we refer to as sales DNA or the or the mindset, and that unlocks greatness, you know, and the ability really to be able to use the tactics that people are taught.

Umar Hameed 19:49
Absolutely. And I think what's amazing is like when that person changed, it impacts the rest of the team in a pretty profound way. Because it gives them permission right on Got it, she can change. And she's always been, like, stuck in our ways that all of a sudden the rest of the team goes, I can change to.

Gretchen Gordon 20:07
Absolutely it's, it's it's incredibly impactful. And we work with, you know, company owners and leaders all the time that say, well, should we, you know, we got these new people that maybe we should work with, but we got these other veterans who are doing just fine. And yeah, they might be doing just fine. But could they be doing better? Are there roadblocks that get in their way? And that's really what we're always looking for is how do we unlock the optimal potential of, you know, everybody on the team, and it's individualized, you know, different people have different blind spots. And that's why you have to really treat individuals in a sales team individually and work with their particular elements that are holding them back.

Umar Hameed 20:53
Gretchen, the thing I like about your approach, it's not guesswork or isn't like, this is what we do. And we're going to make sure everybody does exactly what we do. And what you do is you science and go in there and analyze each salesperson and figure out exactly where they need help. And with a team as a whole, where's the unrealized revenue potential that's there, and you help companies figure that out? That, you know, hey, do you realize you have $1.2 million trapped within your organization? Let us help you get that out. And that's like, brilliant, brilliant work.

Gretchen Gordon 21:25
Yep, that's exactly right. And it kind of speaks to my soul, because I'm just a total geek. And, and so I get to, you know, I get to geek out on data and statistics, but combine it with not just the science side of selling, but also the art of selling, which I kind of believe to be the, you know, the softer side of selling than mindset, the you know, the emotional intelligence, those types of things.

Umar Hameed 21:58
Yeah, and what's kind of interesting is, you know, everyone can just, you know, shut the hell up, because the soft side is the side, okay? Right. Because ultimately, at the end of the day, it's our mindset dictates whether, you know, how many Gandhi's before Gandhi whether that wanted to, you know, save that people probably too many to count, but the person that had the mindset got it done, Gretchen, it was such a joy talking with you. And we're gonna put all your contact information in the show notes so people can get a hold of you. If there was one piece of advice, you could give sales managers as their people come back to work, hopefully in the near future. What would that be?

Gretchen Gordon 22:35
I would say pay attention and give your people missions, maybe daily missions on having them prepare how they're going to have those conversations as opposed to letting them just shoot from the hip. So take into consideration the preparation that goes into it. And that will quiet the mind and enable sales people to have a more effective conversation when they're reaching prospects and customers.

Umar Hameed 23:02
Gretchen thanks so much for being on the program. I really enjoyed it.

Gretchen Gordon 23:05
Thank you, Umar. I appreciate it. It was fun. Stay well.

Umar Hameed 23:09
You too.

Umar Hameed 23:15
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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