“Play It Again, Sam!” – Top Self-Limiting Records of Salespeople

Too many salespeople in the sales profession suffer from what we call "self-limiting records". A mentor of mine, Dave Kurlan of Objective Management Group explains that a self-limiting record is really a belief by a salesperson that sabotages rather than supports their efforts for a successful sales outcome. As a result, the salesperson's failure will be predestined in many selling situations.

The best way to think about self-limiting records is this:  the belief behind it is like a 'record' that begins to play in a salesperson's mind whenever they find themselves in a certain situation and the record will dictate their thinking and behavior.

Here is a short list (there are more) of some of the most common self-limiting beliefs of underachieving salespeople. See if you can relate them to the situations you or your salespeople encounter.

1)  I need my prospects to like me.

A salesperson who suffers from this belief winds up losing control of the sales process, doing a lot of free consulting or closing too few sales whenever a situation requires them to do anything, at least in their mind, that could cause the prospect to get upset with them.

2)  Prospects are honest.

Salespeople who have this self-limiting belief lack the personal selling power to deal with the 'little white lies' that prospects use to protect themselves or hide their true intentions or agenda.

3)  I must educate the prospect.

This self-limiting record is usually held by a salesperson who educates themselves before making a major purchase. They view their prospects as having the same need and wind up getting their brains picked and giving away their knowledge and expertise.

4)  It's OK if my prospect thinks it over.

Overachieving salespeople never accept a 'think it over'. They always take the 'think it over' to a 'yes' or 'no'. By doing so, they save tons of time not chasing opportunities that are never going to happen. Underachievers hang on to the 'think it over' until the last dog dies and even then won't let go. A dead giveaway of this limiting belief is a bloated sales pipeline where nothing ever seems to close.

5)  I'm uncomfortable talking with prospects about their money.

Having this belief leads to a lack of information on what the prospect is capable of and willing to invest in the salesperson's solution. The result is underquoting, overquoting, misquoting and giving quotes to prospects who may not deserve one.

The good news is that these self-limiting records can be changed by 'taping' over them with new, more supportive beliefs. Accomplishing this requires time, effort and focus. The payoff for going through the process is a better performing, more effective salesperson.


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