Taking the (negative) emotion out of selling


Through working closely with salespeople in the restoration industry, I’ve noticed a trait, or lack thereof, that determines whether or not salespeople will excel in the position: Do they stand and perform under pressure, or do they bail out when challenged?

Bailing out can show itself through more obvious signs, such as a salesperson failing to meet everyday responsibilities or consistently hit key performance indicators. But it often occurs mentally, supported by negative thoughts, such as:

  • “No one cares about what I have to say.”
  • “I’m clearly interrupting their day.”
  • “How am I going to get over that objection?”
  • “I’m not offering them anything of value.”
  • “I hope they don’t ask me about…”

Salespeople tend to have these self-defeating thoughts because they lack emotional discipline. When salespeople become emotionally involved in the sale, they lose options, listen poorly and hand over control of the situation to their prospect. It’s the salesperson’s job to get the prospect emotionally involved in the sale, and that’s impossible to do when the salesperson is the one getting emotional.

Anytime a salesperson lacks conviction or confidence, demonstrates self-doubt or visibly becomes unsure or discontented during a sale, they open the door for the prospect to sense weakness in both the salesperson and their offering. And when this happens, it’s extremely difficult for the salesperson to regain credibility and control.

Now, emotion can certainly be a positive thing in sales and it absolutely should not be eliminated from one’s selling approach. Enthusiasm is a necessary component of successful selling, and no one wants to come across as being stiff or robotic. But, salespeople must learn how to silence the internal patterns of negative thinking that put them at a disadvantage before the conversation even begins.

The very best salespeople understand that failure in a sales role does not equal failure as a person. Selling is not a job for everyone and people flameout in the position all the time because it’s exceptionally difficult.

But those that succeed in this role know that their shortcomings as a professional aren’t a reflection of their self-worth. They can separate the job from the person and separate failures in a role from the perception of their own self-image.

Issues with emotional discipline are not simple to correct, but there are several approaches that can help steer things in the right direction. Salespeople must learn to visualize success prior to the sales encounter and routinely use positive affirmations to boost their confidence. If salespeople feel defeated inside before they even initiate a conversation, they’ll only be successful with the weakest of prospects who do not challenge them (and those prospects represent a very small percentage of potential business).

Another way to conquer emotional issues is through proper preparation. Salespeople often hear the same objections or stoppers, so they need to prepare by practicing these situations enough that their responses become natural. Practice under pressure leads to less pressure in live selling situations.

Experience shows that salespeople who learn to control their emotions are consistently more effective, especially when they have a model and process to follow. If they can get over the emotional baggage and learn to repeat what has already been proven to work for them, amazing results can be attained.

Tim Miller is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Business Development Associates Inc. Miller is a highly regarded sales and marketing expert in the industry, and brings 30 years of experience and a unique perspective to help businesses solve their problems and grow to the next level. He is also a published author in several trade magazines and speaks at multiple industry events and conferences throughout the year, where he leverages his business experience in both the restoration industry and his other entrepreneurial ventures, including his own construction company in New Mexico.

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