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How do you get rid of the FUD?

May 5, 2016 Joe Mechlinski

Recently the CEO of one of our newest clients told his team to have no F.U.D.

I like to think I’m hip to current business terms, but I’d never heard this one before. F.U.D.? For those of you with me in the unenlightened corner of the room, it stands for:




This is a great way to frame out what often stands in the way of success.

Almost every Microsoft Partner wants to grow or wants to try new sales and marketing initiatives. Most keep falling short. Why? Because people don’t like to change. Why? Because people don’t like to fail.

Fear of failure leads to uncertainty and doubt, which in turn leads to hesitation and inaction. Usually we know what we ought to do; we just don’t do it. And yeah, there are always reasons: time, money, resources, etc. But what’s the real reason we’re not doing the things we know would make a difference? F.U.D. plain and simple.

Stop for one moment and ask yourself: What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? For those brave Partners willing to fight the gravitational pull of the status quo, persist through resistance to change, and really step up, we can tell you how to create urgency, build momentum and revolutionize your sales. We’re not talking about dumb affirmations or time-worn techniques to change. We’re talking about what it actually takes to overcome F.U.D. and create a lasting revolution in your sales.

The Three C’s of Successful Change

What it takes to effect real and lasting change in yourself, your organization and your sales are The Three C’s:




I know the alliteration here makes this sound kind of slogan-y, but I assure you this is way more than a slogan. With Certainty in direction, Clarity about what matters most and Commitment to see your own direction, vision and goals happen, you can and will succeed in growing your organization

Here’s how it works:

#1: Be CERTAIN in Your Mindset

Getting results begins with mindset. In nearly every sales organization you will typically see that two sales people in 10 are generating 80 percent of the company’s revenue. This is known as the 80/20 rule, or the Pareto Principle.

Despite the fact that the processes, procedures, call scripts, brochures, Power- Point presentations and Web sites are the same for everyone in the department, only two in 10 are putting up the big numbers.

Why? The achievement model rests on mindset. With the right mindset, almost any set of processes aimed at developing new business will work.

A Mindset Case Study

A Microsoft Partner had one particular sales office that was doing quite poorly. Sure the economy is as bad as it’s been in recent memory, but the other offices were holding their own. Like any good leadership team, the executives reviewing the numbers chose to hold the sales team accountable. And they did it in just the right way.

The folks at corporate could have sent in a heavy to lambaste the team, or could have sent in a “rah-rah” sales trainer to rev them up. They could have labeled it a regional phenomenon or they could have blamed it on the economy. They could have re-engineered their processes -- except they were working for every other office. What they did was none of these.

The Achievement Model

Luckily for the struggling sales office, their leaders understood the achievement model: Mindset + Process = Results. The execs knew their processes worked, so the problem had to lie in the mindset element of the equation.

And so it did. Turns out, the struggling regional sales office believed they could not sell in the market environment they were faced with. And, wouldn’t you know it, because of that belief, they indeed could not sell in their market environment.

Responsibility – BeThe Cause. Changing anything begins with taking responsibility. If you want results, you start by taking responsibility. The regional sales office chose to stop acting like victims and to “BeTheCause” of their own success. “BeCause” they were willing -- individually and as a group --to look in the mirror, take responsibility and shift their mindset, they were able to literally transform their office, performance and results. Ninety days from the moment they chose to “Be the Cause” of their success, their sales were up 70 percent, and are still holding steady.

What changed? The processes and the circumstances didn’t change, only their mindset did -- and the results were phenomenal.

Where does “Certainty” come in to play? It is the requirement for a true mindset shift. “Ummm . . . yeah . . . well. . . maybe . . . ” doesn’t get the job done. If the sales team was only half-convinced that it wasn’t the economy or the market that was responsible for their low numbers, the dramatic improvement we saw would not have taken place. Before anything could happen, they needed to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that an increase in the sales numbers was absolutely within their control, and was absolutely their responsibility. It required 100% certainty. Once they got to certainty, their mindset delivered results.

Success is attainable and sustainable through focusing on mindset first and then performing the processes that produce the desired outcomes. This has been demonstrated over and over and over. Michael Jordan, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, the NASA moon project and the Declaration of Independence are all great examples.

So why hasn’t this knowledge completely transformed sales teams and sales training the world over? BeCause, as Aristotle observed, “The hardest victory is over one’s self.” The mindset of certainty and responsibility is not so easily won. Companies are made of people who don’t want to do the hard work of taking responsibility for earning a victory over themselves.

Eighty percent of any sales team is usually engaged in some battle with themselves. The enemy is self-defeating thoughts like, “He’s probably not at his desk. She’s tired of hearing from me. We don’t have anything new to offer them. We’re too expensive. The economy stinks. Our market stinks. My competition has already been in there. I don’t have the right collaterals. Our business cards are horrible.”

Notice that these statements have one thing in common – they all put the blame somewhere else. The 20- percenters don’t do this. They are certain that they can choose to “Be the Cause” of their success, and then they employ the processes that work. It’s a simple equation: Mindset + Process = Results.

#2: Get CLARITY about your Tipping Point

The key to faster results in the selling arena is to identify the one concentrated activity that creates the majority of your sales. This activity is known as your “Tipping Point” -- and it is the single most important thing you can do.

The Tipping Point concept can be understood within the context of the Paredo Principle (the 80/20 Rule). Your Tipping Point is the 20 percent of activity that can create 80 percent of your production. Finding your Tipping Point in selling is the key to faster results.

How do you figure out what your Tipping Point is? The first step is determining what doesn’t work. Assess all of the daily activities you do and be honest about which are not working for you. Stop doing them and start trying new things. Most important, never let perfect ruin good. Everyone wants perfection, but sometimes striving for perfection actually becomes the focus, and that will slow you down. If you have a “very good” draft of the proposal that needs to be sent out, send it. You don’t have to spend four more hours trying to make it perfect. If you accept this philosophy, you are on your way to finding your Tipping Point.

In Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller, The Tipping Point, there is a great story about the subway system in New York City, which was a breeding ground for violent crime. With felonies at an all time high, the city hired a new chief of transit police, William Bratton, to turn things around. The first thing that Bratton cracked down on was fare-beating. An estimated 170,000 people were riding the subway every day without paying the fare. Because there was only $1.25 at stake, the transit police hadn’t felt it was worth their time to pursue it, particularly when there were more serious crimes such as rape and murder occurring. But Bratton changed all that.

He directed the cops to start busting fare-beaters one by one, handcuff them, and leave them standing in a “chain gang” on the platform until they had a full catch. The idea was to send a signal to the public that the transit police were cracking down on crime. Bratton also insisted that a background check be run on all of those arrested. It turned out that one out of seven arrestees had an outstanding warrant for a previous crime, and one out of 20 was carrying a weapon of some sort.

After a while, the bad guys wised up and began to leave their weapons at home and pay their fares. Astonishingly, violent felony crime dropped as a result.

Bratton focused on the smallest misdemeanor infractions, yet the felony violent crime rate fell significantly. How did that work? Turns out minor and insignificant crimes were the Tipping Points for violent crime. Bratton believed that the epidemic of violent crime could be reversed or “tipped” by dealing with the smallest of crimes. And he was right.

Some examples of Tipping Points for sales professionals include: being out of the office from 10 to 4 daily, making 50 cold calls a day and journaling. These activities seem simple – maybe even frivolous -- but just as cracking down on fare-beaters tipped the violent crime rate in NYC, these activities can tip the results for selling success.

To find your own Tipping Point, grab a piece of paper and go to a quiet place. Write down EVERY activity you do in a typical week that is related to sales. Decide which are the most effective activities. Pick ONE and try it as your Tipping Point. Commit to doing it daily for three weeks. Why three weeks? Because research has proven that it takes three weeks to develop a new habit. If the activity you chose drives your sales performance, it’s a Tipping Point. If not, pick another activity and start the process over. Keep going until you find your Tipping Point. Once you’ve found it, make it a habit for life.

The key to the Tipping Point concept is to use it. Commit to doing it on a daily basis, no matter what. Make it a priority, even if it is the only thing that you can get done in a day. You’ll be impressed with the difference it makes.

#3: Make a real COMMITMENT -- and stay the course

You might have noticed how many times the words “commit” or “commitment” appeared in that last section. In a recent conversation with one of our favorite clients, it dawned on me. The tortoise was right – slow and steady often does win the race.

But for the Type A’s reading this (I’m a proud member of this tribe and so are lots of sales people), how can you tell us that by slowing down we can actually get more done and get more right? We simply don’t get that. And yet, there are hundreds of adages that reinforce this wisdom over and over.

One of my mentors recently said to me, “Joe, it’s not just about doing more with less… but the less that matters more.” We’ve all read that mastery is not about doing 4000 things 7 times… but about doing 7 things 4000 times. And then there’s the Chinese Bamboo Story.

If you plant a bamboo sprout in the ground, for four or five years (sometimes longer) nothing happens. You water and fertilize, water and fertilize —but you see no visible evidence that anything is happening. Then, along comes year five. In a six-week period the Chinese bamboo tree grows to a staggering 90 feet tall! World Book Encyclopedia records that one bamboo plant can grow three feet in a 24-hour period. It seems incredible that a plant that lies dormant for years can suddenly explode with growth, but it happens without fail with bamboo trees.

The same principle sometimes holds true for us.

If you are certain of your processes, have the right mindset, and have clarity about which activities produce real results, then stay committed and stay the course. Have the patience and trust that the roots you’re tending will indeed produce stunning growth. Everyone wants what they want NOW – the real question is can you have the patience, commitment and trust to see it through?

Continue to push yourself through F.U.D., by focusing on the 3 C’s. . . and watch what happens!

TOPICS: High Performance, Employee Engagement