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IMGCA Article - The Mental Game of Selling


Build an Unstoppable Competitive Mind-Set

How to Develop a Winning Attitude for More Success in Your Mental Game of Selling

Bill Cole, MS, MA

You're competitive-minded, or you wouldn't be in sales. A client of mine said, "In sales, if you don't have a competitive attitude, you don't eat." How do you develop and maintain a can-do, can't-wait-to-get-going, nothing-can-stop-me, I-hate-to-lose mind-set? By learning how other successful professionals think and how they approach building their mental game.

Achieving a winning, competitive attitude can be an incredibly effective inspiration in your quest for sales success. Here are three powerful mental strategies to help you build a strong competitive mind-set.

1. Believe That Your Competitors Make You Better. I have done the best, most creative, forward-thinking development of my businesses when I have been threatened by a smart, hard-charging competitor. They keep me thinking. They force me to be analytical and fresh to counter the moves they are making in the marketplace. Appreciate your competition. Learn from them. Use them to scare you into more heightened motivation and a stronger competitive mind-set. What do some of the nation's top executives think about their competitors?

"You either eat someone for lunch, or you can be lunch." --Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun Microsystems
  "We realize we are in a race without a finish line. As we improve, so does our competition." --David Kearns, Chairman of Xerox
  "Competition is a way of life. If you don't have a really tough competitor, you ought to invent one." --Roberto Goizueta, CEO of Coca-Cola

2. Believe That Winners Never Quit And Quitters Never Win. This is the oldest success quote in the world of competitive sports and business. It's still around because it's true. How many times in your day do you slack off, just a little bit? Would you succeed more if you competed fully for the entire day? Every time you get discouraged and lose focus, that is a form of giving up, of not competing fully. Give every day all you've got. Be a determined competitor. These famous folks know the value of hanging in there.

"Winners don't make excuses. The minute you start talking about what you're going to do if you lose, you have lost." --George Shultz, former United States Secretary of State
  "Courage and perseverance have a magical talisman, before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish into air." --John Quincy Adams, founding father
  "Press on. Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence." --Ray Kroc, founder of McDonalds

3. Learn To Love The Craziness Of Competition. One of the ATP Pro Tennis Tour players I coached played Andre Agassi on center court at Wimbledon one year. It was a crazy environment with the English cheering wildly for the popular legend Agassi. My player had to remember not to fight the crazy tumult, but instead accept the competitive craziness to play his best. Do you sell your best under difficult circumstances? Let the competitive, uncertain selling environment motivate you to focus better, think more clearly and be even more determined to win. These successful people understand the nexus of uncertainty and competitive attitude.

"I will always be someone who wants to do better than others. I love competition." --Jean-Claude Killy, ski legend
  "Salesmanship starts when the customer says no." --George O. Boule, Jr., successful businessman
  "The quest for certainty blocks the search for meaning. Uncertainty is the very condition to impel man to unfold his powers." --Erich Fromm, famous psychologist-philosopher

Competition is the very lifeblood of a sales professional's existence. Study it. Embrace it. Love it. Use it as success fuel. Use it to take you to the top of your mental game. Develop an unstoppable competitive mind-set, and you'll sell yourself to success.

To learn more about how sales coaching can help you become a better, more confident sales professional, visit Bill Cole, MS, MA, the Mental Game Coach™ at

Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA 2005, 2008 All rights reserved.

This article covers only one small part of the mental game. A complete mental training program includes motivation and goal-setting, pre-event mental preparation, post-event review and analysis, mental strengthening, self-regulation training, breath control training, mental rehearsal, concentration training, pressure-proofing, communication training, confidence-building, breaking through mental barriers, slump prevention, mental toughness training, flow training, relaxation training, psych-out proofing and media training.

For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental strengths and weaknesses. For a free, easy-to-take 66-item sales skills assessment tool you can score right on the spot, visit This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first step to help you get the big picture about your mental game of selling.

Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching Association, Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports. He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at

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