The right mindset is a secret weapon that sales and marketing professionals too often overlook, according to a top Canadian executive coach.

Vicki Bradley spent 30 years as an executive in iconic retailers across North America, such as Holt Renfrew and the Bombay Furniture Company. But 13 years ago, her world fell apart after several difficult events, including the onset of a debilitating autoimmune disorder.

“My entire reality changed,” Bradley said in a recent ITWC webinar. “It took a change in mindset to move forward again. By struggling, our brain grows and we’re open to new possibilities.”

By using this kind of “growth mindset,” sales and marketing people can open the door to new opportunities.

The power of positive thinking

There are two types of mindsets, said Bradley. With a fixed mindset, people take a safe approach and stick to what they know. By contrast, a person with a growth mindset will embrace challenges with perseverance.  For example, Bradley noted that it took 10,000 failures for Thomas Edison to invent the light bulb. In the process, however, he created almost 11,000 new inventions.

“Good things happen when you open your mind to growth,” said Bradley. “Don’t fall into the trip of limiting yourself with a fixed mindset.”

In a sales scenario, she said salespeople may feel defeated when they can’t close a deal after spending a lot of time with a client. In this case, they should not become fixated on their desired outcome, but “open their minds to the possibilities of what’s best for the client. This might involve a very different approach.”

Bradley relied on this attitude when she grew revenues for the Bombay Furniture Company from $40 to $100 million in less than nine years. “We focused all of our attention on putting the client first,” she said.

“If we get caught up with what we know, it’s comfortable, but we stay there,” Bradley said. “But, if we move beyond, we see possibilities everywhere.  The growth mindset is all about possibilities.”

Tips on how to change your mindset:

Bradley acknowledged that it’s not easy to change your mindset. To do so, it’s important to “always learn, always improve and to inspire others,” she said. “This takes practice and self-awareness.”  It also takes time.  “You can’t expect immediate change,” added Fawn Annan, Chief Marketing Officer for ITWC.

To build confidence to you move forward, Bradley shared these three tips:

  1. Say yes to more of what you want and take action on it. Don’t hold back.
  2. Develop positive language. “If you have a negative thought, reframe it to be positive,” said Bradley. “There is nothing more deadly in sales than ‘I can’t’.” Asking the question, “what if?” can be a game-changer, she said. “What if you take a different approach?”  Be prepared to take feedback from clients and recalibrate behaviour, she said.
  3. Celebrate success and make it a habit.

Another question Bradley says people should ask themselves is, “Is the pain of staying the same greater than the pain of change? If you limit your thinking, you’ll never know your greatest potential.”