The No. 1 leading sales-killer

Sales baggage (aka head trash and negative self-talk) is the leading killer in the sales world. Sales baggage is the negative thoughts, feelings or emotions you have and the assumptions you make about them. They are your beliefs about things, and not always the truth.

The next time you lose a sale, it may be what’s going on inside instead of what’s happening on the outside.

Negative self-talk will never disappear on its own. It does not go away with a one sales training class, a book or rattling off a few positive affirmations. The slightest amount of head trash between your ears will wreak havoc on your sales results.

Whether you know it or not, your head trash sticks. It pollutes the air around you. Customers and prospects can smell it, too.

I recently worked with a group of sales professional at an Insurance agency. All agents were performing below average and producing inconsistent results.  Many came to our Monday morning sales trainings with a poor attitude toward the week ahead. Some had negative feelings and doubts around the potential outcome of meetings on their schedules. Some shared that they expected to write very little business and the week was probably going to be a waste of time. They were already predicting the dismal outcome of the week before the week began. They had a bad habit of dragging their sales baggage with them to work every day.

The most shocking was when they revealed their private negative thoughts.  With full permission, here is some of their sales baggage:

  • Families can’t afford my fees in this economy.
  • Prospects always tell me they will think about it and disappear.
  • The competition has better rates and fees.
  • My leads stink and they waste my time.
  • Nobody really wants to talk about life insurance.
  • When people hear I sell life insurance, they run away.

This particular group was wasting too much time on the negative side of things like worrying about what had already happened and what might happen. Their head trash was starting to smell.  We all have head trash from our previous experiences but that should never be an excuse to fail. True and lasting change comes from shifting your perspective around what is making you feel and think negatively.

Here is what I explained to them.  Beliefs drive actions, actions cause results and results reinforce beliefs. Here is how it plays out. They have a feeling “I can feel this week is going to be a waste of time” then that feeling creates a negative thought “Why bother, people really can’t afford insurance” which produces the business-destroying action of taking no action.

I brought in my skills as an Emotional Intelligence coach and taught the most overlooked and most important component of sales training.  I showed them how to quickly disrupt their negative thought patterns and replace them with thoughts that support the results they want to accomplish. Essentially they begin to unpack their sales baggage. Piece by piece we tackled the thought that no longer served them to make room for thoughts that did.

Sure, I could have taught them more sales skills. Conducted more role-plays and talked about overcoming objections. I could have wasted enormous amounts of time tackling surface issues and challenges. But that never results in meaningful lasting change. The kind of change that produces real results. 

When it comes to change (change worth talking about) some sales training programs focus on changing behavior. And yet behavior is a result, not a cause. Your feelings are what form your thinking around an issue, situation or responsibility. Negative feelings like fear or doubt trigger negative thoughts and when you don’t think something is going to go well, you won’t be motivated to do it in the first place.

Head trash is normal but make sure when there is too much you take it out. When you change your beliefs, take out the trash and dump your sales baggage you will change your results.

Categories: Sales & Marketing