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I hope it has been some time since you last had a dead battery. It’s not a lot of fun, especially if it is pouring rain and you don’t have a set of jumper cables.

Most people know a battery has a positive and a negative terminal. When jump-starting a car it is very important to know which is which. If you don’t connect the negative terminal on one battery to the negative on the other, and then do the same with the positive connections, one can do serious damage to the battery and alternator.

So what does this have to do with sales? Well if you think about it, those in sales have a negative and a positive. Instead of terminals, we call it attitude.

Unlike a car battery, everyone knows the difference between a positive attitude and a negative attitude … or do they? You would think this question is a no-brainer. A recent encounter caused me to wonder how evident this fact is.

It is no secret to many in sales that those who maintain a positive mindset towards their daily tasks, their prospects and their clients will out perform those at the other end of the spectrum.

Have you ever come across someone who didn’t realize they have a negative attitude? I encountered someone recently that if you looked up the word negative in the dictionary you would have found a picture of this person. Envision a person firmly closed to new ideas or different ways of thinking. He was sceptical about the impact of mindset on actions and behaviors. He believes established processes are more critical than creatively thinking through a solution. He was openly argumentative with his peers, challenged his manager, and discounted others results. His only defence, “I?ve always done it this way.” He was fortunate in having established a sizable block of business contacts over the years; which helped him produce above the required corporate quota.

I was left to wonder what his true potential could be if were to flip the dial from negative to positive.

Those familiar with the pioneering work of psychologist Dr. Henry Murray will know he was one of the first to postulate a direct, observable link between thinking and behavior. In the 1960s and 70s, a Harvard professor, Dr. David McClelland extensively studied achievement motivation and concluded that successful individuals have a significantly stronger drive or motivation to succeed than do average or below average individuals. Building on these works, the late Dr. Clayton Lafferty noted that successful sales people were likely to engage in constructive thinking, while unsuccessful sales people were prone to think in counter-productive ways.

Top sales people learn to be effective thinkers. That is, they consciously maintain a positive mindset; they focus on the sale and have established an inner drive to succeed. They combine their strong relationship skills with a strong belief in their clients. If you want to see what they look like, look up the word success in the dictionary!

If you want to jump-start your sales performance – connect to the positive terminal.