Erin Pheil is the founder of The MindFix Group, a company that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, high-achievers, and high-performers eliminate their biggest mental roadblocks that hold them back and keep them from achieving what they’re capable of.
Some sales leaders have very specific definitions of what a sales leader is. For Erin, anybody who is in charge of guiding the people in making the right decisions and who is doing sales for a company is considered a sales leader.
Many sellers read books and work with experts to improve their skills in sales. They keep learning, and then they show up on calls. They often show up to these calls prepared, but also with head trash. They’re showing bits and pieces of their old mental programming and outdated beliefs that aren’t helpful in closing deals. They go to the calls and they try to combine new knowledge and strategies that their coaches have taught them with their old beliefs.
When things go wrong, they don’t blame themselves. They blame the technique and the process, or even the people they hired. They don’t look at their head trash and suspect that they might be the ones sabotaging the process.
Blaming the process, techniques, and tactics instead of examining how they’re screwing things up sabotages the sales process.
It takes courage to accept blame because it’s human nature to blame somebody else. It takes courage to stop, pause, and hold a mirror to yourself and ask how you’re contributing to the challenges that you’re experiencing. It’s much easier to project outward and place the blame.
Head trash commonly appears as the need for approval or the need to be liked. Sellers will show up to a sales call and, instead of focusing on guiding the prospect towards the right decision, they operate from an underlying need to be liked. This goes beyond having a bond and rapport. It’s more of wanting to be approved. A person with that need often sabotages calls just to be liked.
They get nervous, they make concessions, and they apologize, which shifts the whole frame of conversation. Being liked becomes the more important outcome.
Money block and old programming from a salesperson’s childhood also have a negative impact on sales calls.
For example, a client raised to believe that she isn’t supposed to talk about money in the household where degree and certificates are the next big things had a huge block in her sales process. Since this particular client had no degree, she ended up questioning her ability and wouldn’t bring up the pricing until the last minute, or until the prospect asked for the price. This client had old head trash on the concept of pricing and money so that often the price in her head was different from the price that came out of her mouth.
Even with constant reminders here and there, she just couldn’t do it. It just wouldn’t come out of her mouth the right way.
This is what head trash is. You show up with a plan and all the right information, but your old pieces of programming, beliefs, and thoughts sabotage and compromise your ability to make a productive call.
Figure your patterns
The first thing to do is to figure your patterns. Knowing your patterns brings awareness to your calls. You must pinpoint where in the process you’re having your patterns of resistance and frustrations.
Create a list of the areas where you keep repeating some patterns that you know do not serve you. It might be telling the same jokes, doing what you’re not supposed to do, or not talking about the money even though you have to.
The buyer might think that you’re hiding something or you have some trick up your sleeves. Before you know it, you have already sabotaged your opportunity. The same is true if you keep talking to your client without giving him the time to speak. It scares the prospect off as well.
Consider a salesperson who can’t even have an intro opportunity because she can’t stop talking. Her problem clearly exists at the beginning of the process.
This is a perfect example of a pattern of people who can’t stop talking. They don’t listen because it has been ingrained in their minds that they should keep talking so that someone will buy from them. They feel the need to show off and prove their expertise in order to be respected.
After listing the patterns that you observe, ask yourself, “What would I have to believe to be true in order to keep acting this way?”
What we believe determines how we act.
If you believe that talking about money is wrong, then you’ll probably act in ways in accordance with that belief. A lot of these beliefs are in the back of our heads and most of us might not believe them to be true. But even if a tiny part of us holds true to that belief, then we’ll act according to those beliefs.
What you get from asking that question for each pattern is a list of old pieces of head trash, programming, and beliefs that you’re still carrying around that are sabotaging your sales process.
Set aside time to implement the two things mentioned here. First, identify the patterns and second, come up with a list of what you’d have to believe to be true. This will open your mind and make you see things that you didn’t realize are impacting your close rate and your success as a sales leader.
“How Leaders Sabotage the Sale Process” episode resource
Learn more from Erin and visit her website mindfixgroup.com. Check the hour-long training video that explains how your head trash is impacting your actions and behaviors and causing you to sabotage things. There are also case studies and stories of real people who have overcome their challenges.
If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register!
This episode is brought to you in part by TSE Certified Sales Training Program. It’s a tool for salespeople and sales leaders to help them improve their skills and abilities in finding the right customers, creating strategies that work, and asking the right questions to close powerful deals. You can go to The Sales Evangelist and see the first two modules for free.