Salespeople lose sales when they allow their emotions to control their thinking and behaviors. Some examples are negative self talk, emotional neediness, insecurity, and low self-confidence.
Negative self talk is the most prevalent and I describe it this way: the unproductive, uninitiated, subconscious cognitive conversation regularly running through our minds that forms negative self perceptions which adversely influences our attitudes and behaviors usually developed from long-term beliefs.
The outcomes of such thinking can be devastating to your sales career:
- Prevents you from initiating contact with people you don't know, which affects your lead generation efforts and your pipeline.
- Prevents you from differentiating between qualified and unqualified prospects because the focus is on making a sale regardless of the prospects needs, wants or ability to buy.
- Prevents you from walking away from unqualified buyers and you hold on to prospects who will not or cannot buy.
- Erodes your credibility with buyers by coming across as needy, desperate or overbearing.
Here are five ways you can overcome negative self talk:
1. Strive for Connectedness--Don't allow emotional neediness to derail your confidence. Instead, switch to connectedness, which Dr. Craig Malkin defines as a valuing of relationships and sensitivity to the effects of our actions on others. He distinguishes neediness from connectedness this way: "The connected are open about what they want from relationships. The same can't be said for the needy." Therefore, be open with yourself about what you really want--qualified buyers with whom to sell to. Don't attempt to beg or coerce prospects into buying because you require emotional validation, approval or a forced sale.
2. Use Interrogative Self Talk--Interrogative self talk focuses on questions instead of statements. Rather than saying to yourself: "I'll never make this sale" (negative) or "I know I will make this sale!" (positive), ask yourself a question. Example: "I've made sales in the past, so how will I gain access to the decision-maker at this account?" Instead of merely engaging your emotions (positive or negative), reframing your self talk with a question engages you cognitively to focus on problem solving.
3. Use an Assessment - Take an in-depth sales assessment that can help you understand your cognitive structure--how you make decisions related to people, tasks and systems. Understanding your thinking patterns and habits is enlightening and one of the quickest way to develop a plan to combat negative self talk and improve self confidence.
4. Plan your Sales Call--Define your sales call objectives before you make the call. "Making the sale" is not a sales plan. Quality engagement of the particular step of the sales process is a much better method. Football teams don't shoot for the end zone on every play. They study their opponent and practice their game strategy before they ever take the field. Once they do, they follow their plan and execute at a high level. This diminishes anxiety related to the "What am I going to do now?" thinking problem that can easily take over during unplanned sales calls.
5. Get Coaching--Coaching is an excellent way to have someone challenge your deeply help beliefs derived from your internal false narrative. Just because you think the thought does not mean that it's true. A good coach will question that and redirect your thinking towards utilizing your strengths, managing around your weaknesses and helping you to focus on thinking through your solutions.
If you're putting a lot of energy into seeking validity and affirmation from prospects and customers (and calling it relationship building), you may be suffering from negative self talk derived from fear. Take immediate action to overcome this by following these five methods.