Skill in Life: Attitude Shapes Success

In my very first Mentor column, I promised to use this forum to talk about the human spirit and the inner qualities that are essential to sales success: attitude, confidence, respect, courtesy, enthusiasm, excitement and perseverance.



Of these qualities, attitude is number one on my list — not to mention, number one alphabetically and number one in importance. Attitude, according to a quick Google search, is “a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.”

Let’s see how this definition applies to dental sales reps. I see three concepts for consideration:

  1. Thinking or feeling about someone.
  2. Reflected in a person’s behavior.
  3. A settled way of thinking.

First question: How do you think and feel about yourself? If you don’t like yourself or have ample self-confidence, if you keep telling yourself that you can’t get the good customers, or if you feel like the loser in the room at a sales meeting, you need to work on your attitude.

Attitude is primarily about you. How you think of and feel about yourself are more important than how you think and feel about customers, sales managers, and fellow reps and friends. When you view yourself in a positive light, you are able to overcome any problems customers throw at you and achieve any quota your sales manager assigns. You won’t cower to your friends’ opinions of you. Sure, your attitude about others — customers, manager, fellow reps, friends — is important and, if positive, will be helpful to you. But these are secondary. What you think of and how you feel about yourself are most important. Why? Because they put you in control of your own success.

So, what’s your attitude?

Next, let’s consider the second concept of attitude: reflected in a person’s behavior. If your attitude about yourself and significant others are sound, you will mightily succeed. Attitude, behavior and performance go hand-in-hand. So, besides prepping for a sales call, do you ever think specifically about your behavior? Are you respectful of your customers behind their backs? Do you treat the receptionist with genuine respect? Can you improve your attitude and interactions with the office staff? If you are not regularly courteous, don’t look for long-range success. Furthermore, are you diligently preparing for each sales call, studying the facts about your customer’s needs, learning the benefits of your products, and clearly connecting those benefits to his or her needs? If you’re not putting in the time to do serious homework for each and every sales call, you have a bad sales attitude. It will be reflected in your behavior, which will present as sloppy, unprepared presentations void of enthusiasm and conviction. Success starts with your attitude, which dictates your behavior.

So, again I ask, what’s your attitude?

Within the definition of attitude is the concept of a settled way of thinking. You can’t fake a positive self-attitude for too long. To succeed in sales, you need to develop a highly positive attitude about yourself and settle in with it. Every single morning I repeat to myself six simple statements that define my attitude for the day. As I do this every single morning, I have a settled way of thinking. Am I a programed robot? No, but at the start of the day, I have a positive attitude that will influence my behavior throughout the day. It works. And I encourage you to settle in to positive attitudes and behaviors.

What is your attitude? I urge you to let it define you in the most positive way. Doing so will result in surefire sales success.


From MENTOR. October 2017;8(11): 10-11.

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