• 5th October 2007 - By proteman

    As my loyal readers can see, lately I have both babies and selling on my mind. Who knew the two would converge so well into blog topics?

    Last week I posted about the personal traits that top salespeople share with babies, including curiosity, openness and flexibility.

    In this post, I look at the not-so-cute side of being a sales baby. This post covers a baby-like trait that will stunt your sales growth and prevent you from reaching your potential – impulsiveness.

    Take a Quiz: Are You an Impulsive Salesperson?

    In his book Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman writes that “…perhaps there is no psychological skill more fundamental than resisting impulse.” He cites as an example the famous “marshmallow test”, in which psychologist Walter Mischel at Stanford studied impulse control in four-year-olds. If you aren’t familiar with the study, here’s a quick summary from clipmarks.com:

    “Mischel put marshmallows in front of a room full of 4-year-olds. He told them they could have one marshmallow now, but if they could wait several minutes, they could have two. Some children eagerly grabbed a marshmallow and ate it. Others waited, some having to cover their eyes in order not to see the tempting treat and one child even licked the table around the marshmallow. Mischel followed the group and found that, 14 years later, the “grabbers” suffered low self-esteem and were viewed by others as stubborn, prone to envy and easily frustrated. The “waiters” were better copers, more socially competent and self-assertive, trustworthy, dependable and more academically successful.”

    Ask yourself, are you a “grabber” as a professional salesperson? Granted, there are times to jump when opportunity knocks. You can’t be successful in sales if you can’t aggressively pounce at the right time. The key phrase here is at the right time. Impulsive (“grabbing”) sales behavior will sabotage your sales career if you have trouble controlling the impulse to pounce.

    Take this quiz and see whether your inner child’s impulsivity and lack of patience may be sabotaging your sales results.

    • Do you feel compelled to swoop in for the close the moment you hear a customer need?
    • When you hear a customer objection, do you quickly try to squash it with a comeback, argument or product benefit?
    • Do you try to “pitch” your products and services when you see an opening, because you might not get another chance?
    • Are you impatient while other people are talking? Can you hardly wait to say what you want to say – or interrupt often?
    • Do you easily drop price or make concessions to close a sale, rather than take the time to build value and sell the higher price?
    • Can you walk away from “bad business” – or do you find yourself saying “yes” to everything?
    • Have you received feedback that you talk too much?
    • Do you have difficulty allowing silence on a sales call? Do you jump in to break the uncomfortable silence?

    There is good news, even if you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions. You may not be able to control the feeling of impulsiveness. However, most behavioral psychologists agree that you can control whether or not you act on those impulses. As with making any major behavioral change, the first step is to be aware of your current behavior. Pay attention to situations in which you feel yourself wanting to interrupt a customer, toss a sales pitch without understanding a need, or shut down a customer objection with an argument. Catching yourself in the act of impulsiveness is the first step toward learning patience and good sales timing. It’s also a big step toward accelerating your sales success!

    © 2007. Phyllis Roteman, The Loyalty Group, Inc. Sherman Oaks, CA.

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