How the Subconscious Mind Affects Salespeople

Posted by Chris Mott on Thu, May 10, 2012 @ 07:05 AM

subconsciousDuke University research on subliminal advertising shows that we are strongly impacted by what our subconscious mind experiences and it can activate based on what the imagery represents to us.  The study uses the Apple logo and its brand image of creativity to trigger creative behavior in the study group without them knowing it. 

When our subconscious minds believe something is true, whether these thoughts have a positive impact on us or not, the conscious mind will work to assure that contradictory beliefs are eliminated.  This means that what our subconscious believes has an enormous impact on our behavior.

Let's look at sales-specific beliefs that negatively impact sales execution.  When a salesperson subconsciously believes the statements below are true, coaching alone will not be enough to overcome the problem.  Until the subconscious mind agrees with the coaching, the subconscious mind will resist it and our attempts to embrace it.

  • It's OK if they think it over.
  • I have a long sales cycle.
  • I don't like making cold calls.
  • I have to call on procurement before end-users or decision-makers.
  • If they're happy with their present vendor, then I can't help them.
  • Prospects that think it over will eventually buy from me
  • It's not OK to confront a prospect.
  • Any lack of results are due to the economy or marketplace.

In the context of a sales call, when prospects say things that are aligned with our subconscious beliefs, we begin an internal struggle over which belief to act upon.  For example, even though "my experience is that most people who think it over don’t buy from me, it sounds like this person may be the exception.”  This thinking is the result of the conscious and subconscious disagreeing and the subconscious attempting to convince the conscious that it is correct.

The first step is to get your salespeople to understand that what their mind tells them may cause nonsupportive actions.  The salesperson's natural reaction will be to explain why, in this situation, their thinking is correct and they should ignore lessons from prior, similar sales scenarios.  Sales leaders whose thinking is similar to their salespeople may not even recognize the problem, which makes it very difficult for them to help their salespeople overcome these challenges.

Sales leaders often express frustration that their salespeople have a difficult time executing the strategies they develop for them.  They may take it personally or wonder if their salespeople are smart enough to incorporate new ideas.  While these are understandable responses, they miss the mark.  The problem is not whether they know what they should do, but whether they are ready to do battle with their subconscious thinking.

Do you know how your salespeople's subconscious thinking affects their ability to execute your coaching?  A sales force evaluation will quickly get to the heart of these issues.


Topics: sales management, Sales Coaching, Kurlan & Associates, chris mott, self-limiting sales beliefs

The Universe Provides Opportunities for Great Sales Coaching

Posted by Chris Mott on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 @ 10:01 AM

The everyday experience of a Sales Leader gives you all the coaching scenarios you need. The challenge is to recognize them.

universe picIt’s said that we use 10% of our brain. So what is the other 90% doing? We know it’s there when the idea or strategy we need comes into our consciousness. I call this the passive mind, the one we use for intuition and creativity. It constantly presents ideas, thoughts, observation and insights to us. Unfortunately most of us are not very good at paying attention to it, so great ideas slip away as we work harder to come up with the “killer” strategy.

The rational mind asks questions like:

These are critical and should be part of any sales plan.

 Great coaching thought usually arises from our passive mind as a gift from the universe. For example you might find yourself wondering why a particular salesperson is stuck. Ideas floating through your head could include; I wonder what they are afraid of or they just seem off lately. Now be honest, how frequently do you move these thoughts out of your consciousness into a question? My personal answer is “not enough.” The frustrating part is that these seemingly random ideas are usually exactly what we need to ask or say.

What experiences have you had today which can be used in coaching? Did you notice your coffee barista went out of their way to engage someone this morning or that when the light turns yellow people speed up? The trick is to be aware and curious about what happens around you and then bring this to your coaching. Here are some examples from the observations above.

  • When salespeople go too fast they often disengage on a human level.
  • Strong eye contact strengthens SOB Quality.
  • If you pay attention there is always another question.
  • Outside factors can create urgency.
  • The window of opportunity closes quickly

So have some fun and give the universe more credit. Everything you need is right in front of you. You just have to see it.

Topics: Sales Coaching, the universe, coaching ideas

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