"Clearing our psychological roadblocks to selling" - Interview by John Smibert
Our mind dictates how we do things. And it often puts up blocks that retard our selling ability.
In this interview Bernadette McClelland provides some great advice for salespeople. She discusses these psychological sales inhibitors, what are they, how they develop and how we can overcome them.
Bernadette also has some good advice for sales managers relative to identifying inhibitors in the members of their sales team and how they can take action to help overcome them. The result can be a significant increase in sales productivity.
You can view or read the full interview below.
Bernadette McClelland is a sales leadership expert. She helps bridge corporate goals with revenue potential. She's a leading author and she's a keynote speaker..She recently published her book 'The Art of Commercial Conversations - When It's Your Turn To Make A Difference'
See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here
John: Bernadette, we've previously talked a lot about what the top salespeople do, but one of the issues with a lot of salespeople is that they're inhibited. A lot of things hold them back, and it's in the mind I think. I've seen you write about this, tell me more about your thinking in that area.
Bernadette: Look, we all come to the table with our own set of beliefs and values, and rules as well; we all have rules around what must and mustn't happen. And ultimately what holds any of us back is fear of some sort, and it's that feeling of not being enough, to be quite honest. But if we were to drill down for the sake of this question here, one of the biggest inhibitors that I find with salespeople is around their beliefs around money.
John: Okay. Yes
Bernadette: Yes. There's probably a couple of ways to look at that. One is that we've all - well, not all of us; that's a huge generalisation - but many of us have grown up in families where we've heard things like "Money comes in the front door, and love goes out the back door." Or, you know "Money's the root of all evil." and you can't ask somebody what they get paid because it's none of your business.
That translates into adult life and then it translates into the sales environment, where salespeople really don't feel comfortable about asking money type questions. Whether it's budget, whether it's collaborating with the buyer to set a new budget, whether it's...
John: Or asking them to pay the price I got on my product.
Bernadette: Absolutely, absolutely. And those people will either tend to not ask the question and lose the business, or else there'll discount - and, of course, we're not protecting margin there at all. Secondly, what is a lot of money? So, what is a lot of money to you won't be the same as to me.
John: We were talking about perspective before and to understand the context of the customer and their perspective, and we've got to be very careful that we don't overlay our own perspective on that. I guess that's what you're saying.
Bernadette: Correct. And also, if $1,000 is a lot to a salesperson but they're selling a $20,000 product... Well, there's going to be a little bit of internal conflict happening there as far as having those money based discussions. So, we do have to be mindful that value is whatever the customer thinks value is, and so by not asking you're actually not giving the buyer the opportunity to say yes or no.
John: Okay. So, that's the money issue - are there other inhibitors?
Bernadette: Well, it is that fear, it is that feeling of not being enough. It comes back to this need for approval, you know.
John: Yes, the fear of rejection.
Bernadette: The fear of rejection but need for approval.
John: Okay, they're the sort of things that inhibit us, and I understand that a lot. Over the years I've had similar issues with my own frame of mind.
Bernadette: Yes, we've all had those - yes.
John: What would you recommend salespeople who have those fears or contextual thinking in their own brain? How should they address that? How should they overcome that?
Bernadette: I think a lot of people don't even realise that they have it, so I think the first thing is awareness.
Bernadette: I think the first thing is to - for leaders perhaps, for sales managers or sales leaders - to kind of move away from the management side of things and really start moving toward the coaching and mentoring side but away from sales results, and also kind of tapping into "What really is making my salesperson tick or not tick?" It's a whole shift that needs to happen, at your leadership level if you like.
John: Okay. But there will be a lot of salespeople watching this as well. What's the key message to them? How should they address it?
Bernadette: Well, first and foremost: get a coach! Seriously, I think everybody today should have a coach or a mentor, because the person who creates the problem cannot be the problem who fixes the problem.
John: And that coach and mentor won't always be your sales manager.
Bernadette: Not at all.
Bernadette: Because you need distance, I believe you need distance so that you can actually show up as who you really are, warts and all, and be totally vulnerable and totally honest and open.
John: So, the bottom line is: we all have inhibitors, we really need to get to know what they are and address them, and more often than not we can't do that on our own; we need help to do it.
Bernadette: Definitely, definitely. So, get a coach. If you can't get a coach, start to do some personal development.
John: Thank you very much, Bernadette! Great advice, look forward to the next time we talk!
Bernadette: Beautiful! Thanks, John!
More interviews with Bernadette McClelland:
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