The first step in selling is feeling successful. You can’t lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny sitting on a horse. Salespeople who feel successful help everyone around them share those feelings. That develops trust, a key factor in selling.

Salespeople lose the feeling of success the moment they try too hard to sell their ideas, when they try to push their ideas through resistance. Even experienced salespeople sometimes forget that selling is problem solving, meeting other people’s needs as well as their own.

Sales begin with the customer’s objectives, not with the product. Selling requires thinking from the customer’s viewpoint, and always thinking in terms of solving problems for the customer. Mental toughness is 50% of selling.  Salespeople need to create and maintain the right kind of focus and feelings, regardless of the situation or the obstacles they encounter. If you sustain feelings of confidence and relaxation, you can stay focused on the customer. You’ll know what to do and when to do it.

The difference between success and failure in making a sale is often as small as listening when others don’t, making a slight adjustment in your selling style, or getting to the right prospect at the right time. When these small differences are repeated consistently, they add up to peak performance.

Some people suggest selling is a numbers game: talk to ten people, get five presentations, close two deals. That sounds like a lot of work—not selling very smart. It bears out the fact that the average close ratio is only 20%. That means, on average, salespeople close only two out of ten potential opportunities. Funny, I always thought selling was about people, not a game with winners, losers, and average, mediocre performances. Don’t fall victim to the numbers game, condemning your career to a life of mediocrity. Don’t measure your success against the masses. By comparing yourself against the averages, you only fuel a false sense of productivity. I say set your own standards. Don’t take pride in being average — it’s too easy and not very satisfying.