The stereotypical salesperson
Most people selling products or services are concerned about closing, commission or cash-flow. These are essentially selfish needs. This behaviour creates a negative experience for the people they’re selling to, causing them to feel stressed, distrustful and suspicious of salespeople. Let’s be honest, do you like salespeople?
When you’re selling your startup product or service to other businesses, thoughts of competition, lack, or limitation negatively affects your results. Your thoughts make the difference between how you are with prospects, because how you think impacts how you feel and and what you say. As a result, you end up verbally steamrolling your clients. And before you realise it, you’ve turned into one of those annoying pushy salespeople!
Psychology of buyers
Buyers don’t care about you or your product. They only care about themselves. According to Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, the human ego has the sole task of protection, blindly striving to gratify human instincts by moving towards pleasure and running away from pain. Motivational psychologist Abraham Maslow, creator of the hierarchy of psychological needs, says, when basic needs of food, shelter, safety, love and belonging are met, our motivation is dominated by the need to feel respected and valued. In other words, we want to be successful, .
So when buyers catch a whiff of a selfish salesperson, their brain is telling them “run for your life”. They’re thinking, “what’s in it for me”, yet you’re talking about you and your needs. It’s no wonder their eyes glaze over and their minds wander. They’re in their head thinking about emails to respond to, or deadlines to meet. They don’t care about what you want.
There is a way to game this system and overcome our natural tendency toward self-interest. By being aware of our thoughts, we can do something different, and mindfulness can help us.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a state of being achieved by focusing on the present moment.
For most of us, most of the time, thoughts run around our heads like a drunk monkey. When we’re not present, our attention is trapped in a current of useless thinking. Think of your walk to the tube or standing in the shower; you may be thinking about something that happened 3 years ago, worrying about an event tomorrow, angry about a certain email and so on.
Most sellers are no different. Often they are following the drunk monkey, fixating on cash-flow or worrying about survival. Buyers feel this negative self-serving energy. In such a state, it is incredibly difficult to hear the prospects needs and gain the trust necessary to win new business.
Keep calm and sell mindfully
Neuroscience studies show mindfulness training helps boost positive emotions and regulate emotions, two traits necessary for successful selling. Training also increases your attention span, sharpening your ability to focus and ask intelligent questions during client meetings.
When you focus on the present moment, eliminating concerns over closing or cash-flow, and shift your full attention to the client, you’re in a position to uncover your client’s real needs and pain points therefore helping you clearly demonstrate value to more clients.
One tip to get you started
On occasions when you’re waiting for a tube, a meeting to start, or a friend who is running late, instead of reaching for your phone, listen to the sounds around you — footsteps, birds, the fridge humming. How many different sounds can you hear?
Listening to your surroundings takes your attention out of your head and into the present moment. Like getting in physical shape, it requires daily practise to create a gap in your habitual thought patterns. When you stop that drunk monkey fretting over selfish wants and desires, you can be present for your clients. When your clients feel you’re not there to sell, but there to serve them, they will like you and trust you, and will eventually buy from you, because people only do business with people they know, like and trust.