The Power Of Mental Training In Sales Negotiations

In the world-championship leagues of competitive sports, no serious top athlete would even dream of preparing for an important event without the use of specialized mental training techniques. Peak performers in sports appreciate the competitive edge they get from putting their mind to work first.

But what top athletes regard as a key ingredient of successful competition, many business executives and entrepreneurs seem to view as a taboo topic. It always amazes me to see how business executives still shy away from the use of mental training techniques even when faced with complex, intercultural sales negotiations, preferring to default to their traditional way of doing things instead.

What the most successful sports stars have learned to appreciate as a key ingredient of their ability to produce peak performance in the critical moment of truth, many business professionals still seem to view as a bunch of voodoo.

When I started to investigate exactly why there was so much resistance against using these techniques, a common theme started to emerge:

Many of the people I talked with had actually tried mental strategizing, rehearsal and visualization techniques, but didn’t get the desired results, so they decided that mental training was just a waste of time.

When I asked them to explain to me exactly what visualization techniques they had used, it quickly became obvious why they had failed to experience the desired results.

They had been applying what we call flight of fancy visualization processes, instead of no doubt strategies.

In order to shift from fanciful visualization towards a state in which we fully expect to receive the successful results we want to achieve in a sales or business negotiation, we must first transform the desired outcome into a simple choice we make with clear, unwavering intention.

There are many things in life that we simply choose, and once we have made our decision, we know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that the desired result is on its way to us. It is like turning on your coffee machine in the morning, filling it up with fresh water and coffee beans, positioning your cup or mug in the right place, pressing the right button, and hey presto – out comes your perfect espresso, latte macchiato, cappuccino, or whatever type of coffee you prefer.

As long as you go through the right steps, in the right sequence, and make sure that all of the specific requirements are met, you should be pretty sure to get the desired result. That is what we call a no doubt thought strategy.

But how do I actually go about developing such a strategy for my upcoming negotiation, you may ask?

In our coaching practice, we usually guide our clients through the following 5-step process:

1.    To start with, we elicit our client’s individual thought strategy and document it as a script, step-by-step, for situations in which they engage in an activity with NO doubt in their mind about their ability to create a totally successful outcome.

2.    Then we focus on the upcoming sales meeting or business negotiation they want to prepare for, using the SCORE timeline method, and developing a very precise definition of the desired outcome. In doing so we don’t just create SMART objectives, in addition we make sure that we have articulated and understood the underlying personal motives, as well as the business drivers, and their respective hierarchy. And finally we strategize with our client on ways to create a WOW factor that would take the resulting outcome to a significantly higher level than any win-win deal they would normally hope to achieve!

3.    We then walk through their typical way of preparing for such a negotiation and elicit all of the relevant elements of their mental thought strategy, or their default script for such situations (usually this includes many flight of fancy elements).

4.    The comparison of their thought processes for the upcoming negotiation with their no doubt strategies enables us to conduct a quick gap analysis to discern any major differences and understand better why past attempts at using mental training failed.

5.    And finally we change the thought strategy and script for the upcoming negotiation, so that it is perfectly in line with the individual client’s no doubt strategy, including all of the sensory bells, whistles and emotions to render it credible to his or her subconscious mind. We strongly suggest that the client should go through the resulting visualization script at least two or three times with us at the end of the coaching session, followed by repeating the mental training exercise for 5 – 10 minutes per day for at least 3 – 5 days.

Some success gurus say that practice makes perfect. However, when it comes to mental training, we have found that if you don’t practice visualization perfectly, you may end up with very disappointing results.

Learn more about how you can use advanced mental training techniques to improve the results of your sales and business negotiations at