One of the constant running themes during sales coaching is about getting emotionally involved.
No big surprise, according to the Objective Management Group, getting emotionally involved is one of the most common and 5th most powerful weakness found in salespeople.
I get it, it was one of the things that I struggled with overcoming as a salesperson. I tend to think a lot. It used to drive my husband crazy. He’d say he could hear me talking to myself, it was so loud. And he was right – it was loud in my head.
The problem is that while I was busy thinking (analyzing, creating, worrying, panicking, getting excited and strategizing on the fly) I wasn’t listening. I wasn’t asking questions. I was missing important pieces of information and signals from the prospect I was trying to engage with. I didn’t have control in sales process, because I didn’t have control in my head.
More importantly, I wasn’t able to add valuable insights to the prospect that made them think differently about themselves and their problem. I wasn’t present enough to see them.
We get so wrapped up in where this (sales call, meeting, prospect, opportunity) is going, what the next step is, and how are we going to close it, that we lose where we are in the present – which is the only thing we have control over.
Ironically, those valuable insights are what would accelerate the sale and differentiate us from other options.
There are a lot of reasons why it becomes hard to control our emotions, like:
- Personal crisis. Divorce, sickness, family arguments. Life happens and it impacts our emotional state and ability to sell.
- Financial pressure. There are bills to pay. It can be hard to not focus on making the sale (no matter what) when you have a mortgage or car payment to make.
- Performance pressure. If you don’t make your quota you could get fired. If the board doesn’t see results, you could get fired. If you don’t sign on a new client, your team might quit.
- New product, market, expectations, competition. Change is scary. What you don’t understand or can’t remember will cause stress, which makes emotions run high.
For entrepreneurs who do their own selling, this is even harder because you are essentially selling yourself.
It’s a LOT of stress. Even if you didn’t have the tendency to think a lot and get emotionally involved in imagined outcomes, the stress would cause it. It happens, we are human.
What you can do to control your emotions.
Getting control over your emotions and the thoughts in your head takes patience and practice. It really is a matter of being able to deal with stress. Here’s a few habits I have developed that helped me manage stress and control my emotions.
- be accountable. To my spouse, kids, business partner, clients, – I don’t always have to be right. Learn to let it go.
- exercise more. Even if it is just a 15 min walk a day, I do it everyday.
- eating better. Feed your brain, don’t fog it with sugar. Vegetables at every meal is a good start.
- unplug. My daily walk is without my headphones.
- reading. Just for fun – it's a small escape.
- yoga. At least 3 times per week, my goal is to get to everyday.
If you find yourself getting flustered or excited during a sales call, here are some tips I learned from one of my favorite TV characters – Mr. Spock.
- Be curious about it. When Spock struggled with his human half he could recognize it. “Hmmm, fascinating.” Spock didn't let the fact that he had the emotion immobilize him. Instead his Vulcan (scientist) sought to understand it.
- Put it out there. “Did you say that with the intention to anger me? It seems to be working.” Because Spock could see it in himself, he also could see it in others.
- Use it. (We) humans make decisions emotionally, not logically. If you want to motivate or persuade someone (always for good, never for evil!) then you have to be able to see how their emotions impact their decisions
This is why sales coaching gets so personal. It’s not just about how to sell better. It’s more holistic than memorizing a process and tactics. Elite salespeople have a different mindset about sales. Sales is everything, even life itself.
Carole Mahoney is a translation consultant for sales and marketing teams in small and medium sized business' who need to align to their buyer's process. She helps them establish agreed buyer persona profiles, communication strategies, and common metrics. She is also passionate about sales coaching for entreprenuers who have to sell and are trying to close their first sales or scale for business growth.