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February 15, 2017

Why Don’t Sales People Believe In Santa Claus Anymore?

Once upon a time there was a little child who wrote letters every year to a jolly old man living in the North Pole requesting special gifts for Christmas. Based on the child’s behavior throughout the year (or usually the preceding weeks) they would be rewarded with the magical arrival of the special gifts on Christmas Eve.

Accordingly, cultural exceptions aside, for most of our young life we believed that our good behavior would be rewarded with a wonderful surprise gift that would magically appear at Christmas time each year.

However – spoiler warning – that belief was eventually dispelled (sadly!) once we discovered it was simply our parents providing the special gift each year. Knowing that our parents regularly provide gifts throughout the year, the anticipation was somewhat diluted and the need to behave “extra good” seemed less necessary.

So as a child our belief in Santa Claus certainly had a huge impact on our behavior. As far-fetched and as illogical as that belief sounds, the amount of joy (or positive expectation) that was derived from that belief and the wonderful gifts (or annual results) that were perpetuated could only reinforce the power of that belief and drove positive/good behavior.

Every parent/adult is bewildered and enthused by the steadfast and confident belief a child has in Santa Claus. Ask any child under 6 about Santa Claus and they will confidently tell you tales about his existence. As parents/adults, we momentarily suspend our own rational belief and conjure stories and expectations to reinforce the child’s belief in Santa in the pursuit of creating great joy for the child and driving positive behaviors.

So in this purest and most fictional of examples, haven’t we proven that our behaviors really are driven by our beliefs – and that we have the power to drive positive/productive behaviors by changing/reinforcing our beliefs.

Numerous studies provide further evidence that our beliefs influence our confidence, behaviors and performance. Our beliefs form our expectations, which drive our behaviors/actions, which ultimately produce results. The quality of these results can either reinforce or change our beliefs.

Consequently our beliefs are simply our mindset, which has been impacted by the results of our actions over many years. And we underestimate our ability to manage our beliefs and ultimately drive positive/productive actions.

Why can a child believe so adamantly in a fictitious jolly fellow? Because they associate their belief with magical results (a special gift). And even though this belief changes when they discover that the jolly fellow is in fact their parent, they have already developed behavior patterns that will ensure they can still derive magical results (special gifts) year over year.

So why don’t sales people develop such strong, productive beliefs? Why don’t sales people conjure up positive expectations that enable them to confidently perform sales activities that provide positive results?

Left to their own devices, with minimal training or coaching, the behaviors and actions that sales people confidently engage in (or don’t engage in) are simply a direct reflection of their past results.

Whilst I would never imply a sales person is like a child, I would suggest that there is plenty sales leaders can do to influence the beliefs of their sales people. Quality skills training that stimulate positive expectations and greater sales confidence will always drive stronger sales behaviors and produce great results.

Our belief in Santa may be long gone (or not?!?) but our belief in obtaining great results from positive behaviors will never dissipate. So let’s continually strive to improve our behaviors (skills) and receive the joy of special sales results – year over year.

Article written by Joe Micallef – Sales Strategist & Coach – Grow UP Sales. For sales leadership coaching and guidance contact Joe at or visit the webpage