We have all been there. The stakes are high, the pressure is on, and we have to perform at our best. And instead, we choke. Maybe you were playing golf. Maybe it was an important meeting with your bank or an investor. You blew it and now you're kicking yourself because you knew you could have done better. It's happening to your salespeople too. They're in the middle of a selling situation, and BAM! The prospect says something or does something that catches them off-guard and they panic or become distracted or otherwise lose their focus. They've become emotional and their inner dialog takes over. It happens. It’s bound to happen to everyone at one time or another. But if it’s happening to your salespeople regularly, you have a BIG problem.
Research shows that salespeople who have a tendency to become emotionally involved are 20% less effective. That equates to 20% fewer customers, a 20% reduction in sales commissions and – most importantly – 20% less revenue that your company generates for each salesperson with this problem.
Salespeople with this problem miss crucial information from the prospect. Maybe they’re replaying a moment or trying to think of their next move. Maybe they’re trying to remember something they wanted to say. Whatever it is, their focus has moved from the present moment with their prospect to the voice in their head.
Eventually they notice that the prospect is talking and they’ve missed what was said. This causes the salesperson to lose the opportunity to respond to a prospect’s needs or concerns, which causes the salesperson to panic again. In the end, the salesperson has lost control of the selling process and your company has let down a potential customer.
While emotional involvement is a serious problem for salespeople who have it, it can be fixed. With the right coaching, training, and preparation, salespeople can begin to control and even overcome their tendency to become emotionally involved. It takes serious effort and a willingness to accept that the problem exists. With a willingness to address it, determination to overcome it and persistence in a program to fix it, salespeople can make the changes necessary to stay present to the process and become more successful in their sales role.
And good news for CEOs and sales directors, you can screen for this weakness in your hiring process and avoid the cost of having to live with it or correct it. The screening process we employ at Align Strategic screens sales candidates for all of the major sales weaknesses and ensures that all of the crucial selling skills and sales DNA are present in your candidates before you hire them.
Here are a list of things you can do to correct or avoid emotional involvement in your salespeople:
• Develop a good sales process and train your people to follow it
• Train your sales managers to debrief each sales call with your salespeople
• Evaluate your salespeople with a diagnostic tool that screens for this weakness
• Get your salespeople involved a program to correct emotional involvement. You can request a demo of our online program here
• Have your salespeople work with a sales coach who knows how to correct this issue
• Screen new sales candidates for this weakness and avoid hiring candidates with a tendency to become too emotionally involved
I have worked with CEOs, athletes, and sales leaders on this issue. It can be corrected - and fairly quickly - if there is willingness to address it and any other issues which may be compounding the problem.
Let me know in the comments below how your company has dealt with emotional involvement and other issues which cause salespeople to be ineffective. And please let me know how I can help by sending me an email at [email protected]
© Copyright 2014 Cheryl Powers
Image credit: iStock Royalty Free
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