Keep a Positive Level of Expectation

Success, in sales or otherwise, is a result of your state of mind. Get your mental life together and the rest of your life, including your sales calls, will fall into place.

A lack of success is usually a result of a poor state of mind. Change your thinking and you change your life.

What is your mental state when you talk to people during your sales and service calls?

Do you expect things to go well? Do you feel that what happens during a call is beyond or within your control? The impression you make is completely within your control.

Assume the Sale
Wannabe salespeople often confuse the old, assuming-the-sale routine with being pushy or aggressive. That's incorrect. Assuming the sale actually means having a positive level of expectation.

When real sales pros talk to potential clients, they expect the prospect to:

  • Listen
  • Believe what they're saying
  • Be interested in what they're saying
  • Cooperate
  • Buy.

A positive level of expectation doesn't mean that you're over-confident or arrogant.

Personify the Positive
Everyone knows you're supposed to leave your troubles at home or at the office behind when you're running calls. That's often easier said than done.

I suffered from severe, almost debilitating depression for 25 to 30 years. I'd felt like a failure and couldn't help but let it show. That's not the correct way to present yourself.

I was such a pathetic mess that there were times when I knew I'd made the sale simply because the prospect had taken pity on me. That only made me feel worse.

I used to run calls with the late Tom McCart, the legendary HVAC salesman, and saw how he presented himself. The moment we walked through the door on that very first call I realized why he was doing so much better than I was.

As he walked through the door, it was instantly obvious that he was:

  • At ease
  • Confident (without being arrogant)
  • Courteous
  • Thoughtful
  • A good listener
  • Sympathetic
  • Gentle
  • Kind
  • Sincere
  • Competent.

It was also obvious that he was the man for the job and that he would make the sale. Customers wanted to buy from him.

I realized that I was carrying all my "baggage" into sales calls, opening it up, and showing it to prospective clients, and everyone else I met. I had a poor self-image and let it show.

People don't want to do business with or associate with losers. Although I talked to some of my confidants about this, they were unable to help me.

A Life-changing Moment
My life changed on the way to a call. I was listening to a tape of an excellent sales trainer named Brian Tracy. I'll paraphrase what he said, as it applied to me:

  • "The next time you run a call, remember that customers don't know that you were never one of the popular people, that you've always been a quitter, that you've never succeeded at anything, that you've always felt unwanted, that you feel like a failure, that you're depressed, frustrated, lack confidence in your technical abilities, or that you're unsure of your ability to succeed.
  • "Customers don't know whether or not you're successful at what you do. They also don't know whether or not you're the top person in your company. Instead, they assume that you are successful and do know what you're doing.
  • "Because they don't know anything about you, customers will take you at face value. Present yourself as the top salesperson at your company, maybe even in the country, and they will have to believe you."

That's when I realized I was sabotaging my own success. Up until that point, I was unconsciously projecting all my insecurities on to others, which is just plain unattractive.

A positive level of expectation is contagious and inspires confidence, and confidence is what sales is all about.

I just read an interview with Jeff Probst, the host of television's hit show, "Survivor," where he said, "The whole key to success is projecting confidence. That's what people want to see."

Confidence will make customers feel good about putting their faith in you.

When Things Go Wrong
Anyone can maintain a positive level of expectation when things go well.

A call can get started off on the wrong foot and suddenly go wrong for any number of reasons. That's when you separate the professionals from the amateurs.

If they suddenly get rude, confused, demanding, offended, emotional, insulting, argumentive, or demeaning, don't let it show that it bothers you. Take the high road. Maintain your positive level of expectation.

Everyone wants to get along. If they get under your skin and you're willing to let it go, they'll eventually appreciate it and be all the more impressed with you and comfortable with the idea of working with you.

In Conclusion

Since I'm passing around the credit for my success, I'll also mention a little lifechanging moment I had while listening to world famous sales trainer, Zig Ziglar.

He said, and I'll paraphrase:

  • "When you run calls, some things will be beyond your control. One thing that is always within your control is the impression you make on the customer.
  • "From now on, whether or not you make the sale, make a positive impression and make it your business to leave the door open just a little bit wider for the next salesperson or service technician who comes into your prospects' lives."

I just don't see how following that practice can steer you in the wrong direction. Projecting a positive level of expectation will go a long way toward making a good impression.

It's January. That's a great time to throw out all your "excess baggage" and give yourself permission to be the success you deserve to be.

The Tom McCart Story

If you like what you read in this article and want to learn more, get From the Sky Up: the Tom McCart Story on DVD. Tom McCart was "HVAC's Million-Dollar Salesman" and a close personal friend of Charlie Greer.

From the Sky Up: the Tom McCart Story on DVD is a 72-minute interview, shot just two months before Tom McCart lost his battle with Lou Gehrig's Disease in June 2004. Charlie and Tom discuss how they met, the first calls they ran together, Tom's personal history, the secrets to his success, cold-calling for HVAC sales, advice for contractors and his predictions for the future of the industry.

Only $29.95 + (6.95 shipping & handling). Order online at or call 1-800-963-HVAC (4822). 100% of the proceeds go toward Tom McCart's medical and long-term care expenses.

Charlie Greer is an award winning HVAC salesman, a service technician, a sales trainer and the creator of "Tec Daddy's Service Technician School" on DVD. For details on Charlie's services, to read more of his articles, or to order his catalog, log onto, call 800-963-HVAC (4822) or email [email protected]

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