Wondering how to improve emotion management?
A mentor of mine has a great mantra. “If you are not STABLE, you are not ABLE.” Translation for sales professionals: If you are not able to manage your emotions, you will not be able to execute the right selling behaviors. The ability to manage one’s emotions are critical throughout the entire sales process.
Without emotion management, salespeople flake out, burn out and stress out.
For example, salespeople can get emotionally derailed while prospecting, often BEFORE they begin prospecting activities. Negative self-talk pulls up a chair and starts reciting things such as:
- Why bother? Your prospects have been doing business with your competition for 10 years. They aren’t interested in hearing from you.
- You’re going to waste your time. Everyone is worried about a recession. No one is spending any money.
- Be careful. You’re new to this industry. Your prospect knows more than you so you might look stupid or inept.
Negative thoughts create emotions which affect a salesperson’s ability to manage their emotions as well as how they show up on a prospecting outreach. For example, a salesperson reaches out and connects with a prospect. However, their lack of confidence---emotions---override any words being said. The prospect politely declines a further conversation. Chalk up another loss to poor emotion management.
Another area where salespeople often get derailed during the negotiation stage of the sales process. Negotiation experts understand this quite well.
In 1991, William Ury authored the book, Getting Past No. He dispenses great advice in his first chapter.
“The first step is to control your own behavior. Instead of reacting, you need to regain your mental balance and stay focused on achieving what you want.”
Fast forward to the present and you will find similar advice shared by Chris Voss, author of Never Split The Difference. The first chapter of his book also shares the importance of discussing emotion management in effective negotiation training.
“Emotions and emotional intelligence would have to be central to effective negotiations, not things to be overcome.”
Help your sales team master the mega selling skill of emotion management.
Step #1 to improve emotion management
Encourage your sales team to carve out quiet time with the specific goal of identifying negative, self-limiting beliefs. Salespeople that aren’t aware of their negative self-talk can’t change their self-talk. As a result, they are also not good at changing and managing non-productive emotional responses.
After negative self-talk has been identified, ask your sales team to challenge the negative self-talk.
- What’s making me believe that prospects are not willing to consider doing business with another company? How many times have I personally switched companies because I discovered a better value or fit?
- Where’s the proof that NO ONE is investing or spending dollars? Is NO ONE investing or are am I not identifying the right targets?
- What’s good about being new to the industry? Maybe I can bring a fresh perspective rather than an old perspective to your sales conversation.
Emotion management starts with changing your thoughts, your self-talk.
Step #2 to improve emotion management
Teach your team to retrain their brains through visualization, focus and practice. It’s called neuroplasticity. For many years, it was believed that the brain’s growth of neural pathways occurred mainly during childhood and then stopped once a person reached adulthood. Now, we know that a person has the ability to grow new connections and new neural pathways in their brains. This means that salespeople can:
- Change their emotional responses to difficult questions and negotiations.
- Deliver the right responses at the right time with the right words.
None of us have to remain stuck with old habits or outdated skills. You can change your thoughts, emotions and actions.
Encourage your sales team to visualize themselves conducting a successful prospecting call or negotiation. This repeated visualization rewires their brain. It creates new neural pathways, ones that help a salesperson remain composed and relaxed during the sales process.
In addition to visualizing success, teach and preach the power of practice, practice and more practice. The more times a salesperson repeats right selling behaviors, the faster they will cement new neural pathways that support the execution of effective selling skills, emotion management skills.
Emotion management is a mega selling skill. Remember, if a person is not stable, he or she is not able to bring their best self to a sales meeting.