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Mirror (2)This post originally appeared on Jill Konrath’s website and is republished here with permission. 

Sometimes it’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror. You might not like what you see. But usually we don’t do that when it comes to our skills and abilities.

Instead, as psychology research points out, we all have a cognitive bias to overestimate our own qualities and abilities relative to other people.

In fact, in Minnesota where I live, we have the “Lake Wobegon effect” which was named after Garrison Keillor’s fictional town where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking and all the children are above average.”

So what does this have to do with sales?

Basically most of us think we’re better than we are. We’re not brutally honest with ourselves – and, because of that, we don’t do things that could actually help us improve.

Let’s just look at one little example. In my book, Agile Selling, I cite a study by SBI that found that 60 percent of forecast deals fail to close. That’s awful. Forecast deals are ones that you’re sure are going to close by the end of the month.

What happened to them? Why didn’t they close?

Most sellers blame pricing, products or clueless decision makers. But what if you were brutally honest with yourself?

Truth be told, I’ve lost business because my follow-up sucked.

Other times, I’ve failed to build a strong enough business case. I’ve also missed a vital piece of information that cost me the sale.

And, more than once, when I was trying to be impressive about my methodology, I’ve over-complicated the decision process – and scared my hot prospect away.

I hate when I screw up. And, I still do.

But, by being brutally honest with myself, I discover areas I need to get smarter in. And I grow in my skills.

It’s painful, yes. But this sales approach is the fastest route to success.

Give it a shot!

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About Jill Konrath

Jill Konrath’s career is defined by her relentless search for fresh sales strategies that actually work in today’s business environment. Jill is a frequent speaker at sales conferences and kick-off meetings. Sharing her fresh sales strategies, she helps salespeople to speed up new customer acquisition and win bigger contracts.

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