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Long-term Success has
Little to do with Skills!

Author - James Ray

I was a national sales trainer for AT&T for several years and still do a large amount of speaking and training in that arena (financial planning, real estate, insurance etc.). Without question, I suggest that the majority of sales people, and sales managers alike, tap into but a fraction of their full potential.

Over the years I have been commissioned to address this issue, and I have dramatically changed my viewpoint and my approach based upon years of observing the "best of the best" and the "worst of the worst".

Consequently, I can without question assure you that sales performance and long term results have little to do with skills. Now this is often thought to be a radical statement when first made, but I can once again assure you that it is an absolute truth. Moreover, the same holds true for leadership and teamwork which are concepts I speak and consult on as well. How can this be?....when there are countless training courses, speakers, and experts teaching and providing skills around the country?

We have all heard about the number of clients that a typical sales person gets in front of on a daily basis (actually the "lack there of" is more accurate). We have all heard about how many appointments they DON'T set. We have heard success is about technology, product knowledge, listening, selling benefits (versus features), and finally closing techniques. But I assure you....these are the EFFECTS versus the CAUSE of poor performance and lack of harnessing your true potential.

Think about this. With my years of experience in the field I can provide the skills to a sales person that will guarantee them 6 figures or better....guaranteed! But if I give $100,000 skills to a $25,000 performer who continues to think $25,000 thoughts....what results are they going to produce? The answer is obviously $25,000. This truth addresses the great dilemma we have faced in the education and true empowerment of our people.

Why is it that some people will go through a new sales experience and absolutely put their career and results into high-velocity while others going through the same training do absolutely nothing? Same training, same skills, but extremely different results.

Once again....it's not about skills.

Think once again. If you compare the skill difference of a $250,000 performer to the skill level of a $25,000 performer....comparing SKILL LEVEL ALONE, is there that much difference? Is the $250,000 performer TEN TIMES more SKILLED then the $25,000 performer? Of course not.  In measuring skill alone there will be a "razors edge" difference between the two.

However, if you look at the continual thought process (how they think day to day) of the $250,000 performer compared to the thought processes of the $25,000 performer is there a difference? The way they make decisions....the way they leverage and utilize their time...is there a difference? The things they do and don't believe (about the world and themselves), their self-image....is there a difference? In these comparisons you will find a HUGE disparity between the two regarding their THOUGHT PROCESSES.

The point being, the actions we do or do not take....the skills we do and do not apply, are driven by the paradigm from which we operate. If you want to become a millionaire....you must develop a $1,000,0000 paradigm. In other words, you must start thinking, making decisions, and taking action like the performer you want to become. This is very frightening for the average individual. However, by making decisions and taking actions base upon "today's current reality" you doom yourself to set no records. At best you create a "repeat" of yesterday's results; and often in today's rapid pace, a repeat may even be in question.

Your paradigm is totally unconscious and yet, it drives ALL actions and subsequent results in your sales profession as well as your life. While there has been much talk about paradigms in the last ten years, very few people know what they are and even less know how to address and change them.

Briefly, your paradigm is the combination of your experiences, values, beliefs, self-image, attitudes and habits that are lodged in your subconscious mind. They determine every action and every result you have in your life. When I'm asked to work with sales people, whether in my personal coaching, workshops, or speaking engagements, I can typically assist them to double or triple their results by dealing with the foundational CAUSE. 

I am not suggesting that skills are not important....they are. But ONLY if they are laid upon a firm foundation of winning thought. This is much more than just motivation or "positive thinking". If you want to change or improve your results you must change and improve yourself at the CAUSAL level. Your paradigm is the cause! Long term success is not about acquiring new skills it's about shifting your paradigm. Success is about creating and sustaining a winning paradigm.

"To ignore the power of paradigms to influence your judgment is to put yourself at risk when exploring the future. To be able to shape your future you have to be ready and able to change your paradigm."

- Joel Arthur Barker
&(Author of Paradigms)