The Emotions of a Salesperson

“When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four.”

Those are the words of a children’s song, sung by Daniel Tiger. He’s the main character in a show produced by the Fred Rogers Corporation. Mr. Rogers believed that if we teach children what to do with their feelingsin other words, how to identify the emotions that they’re feeling, how to process them, and how to channel behavior more effectively, then the world would be a much better place.

Children might get frustrated, angry, sad, annoyed, or lonely when their friend doesn’t want to play a particular game, when they don’t get a treat, when it’s time for a nap, or when their sibling is taunting them. Salespeople experience all of those emotions on a weekly basis. You may have a prospect not show or cancel an appointment last minute, a deal that you thought was rock solid fall through, a difficult or embarrassing customer service issue, or what feels like a long string of rejection with no forward momentum.

The earning ability of a salesperson is in direct proportion to how well they can manage their emotions. For example, if you’re experiencing a lot of anxiety about your performance, in your sales presentations you may be more worried about what you’re going to say next than you are concerned about listening to what your prospect is saying and creatively adapting to their subtle body language cues. Or your feeling of overwhelm or defeat may trigger you to break your schedule. You might stop doing the activities that you need in order to create positive results because you don’t feel like those activities are going to get you anywhere or because you just don’t feel like doing them. Being ineffective at managing your emotions costs you big money!

Through one-on-one coaching, we work with salespeople to better manage their emotions and we work with leaders to manage their own emotions and to help their people manage theirs. Here are a few quick ideas:

1. Know what triggers you

  • Does your growling stomach tempt you to interrupt your prospecting time?
  • Do you feel like taking a break or slowing down every time you get a no?
  • When you hear of other people’s successes are you frustrated?
  • Do you get elated when you make a big sale?

Knowing what triggers you can help you prevent distractions. Even if you can’t prevent the event from triggering a negative emotion, at least you can expect it when it comes.

2. Be honest about what you are feeling

Here is a list of many of the negative emotions that can derail us derail.

  • Jealousy
  • Overwhelm
  • Anxiety
  • Fear
  • Loneliness
  • Despair
  • Anger
  • Shock
  • Pride
  • Hopelessness
  • Regret
  • Guilt
  • Failure

3. Make healthy choices about how to respond to your feelings

  • Do you feel like slowing down your efforts when you should be doubling down?
  • Are you using hostile language with someone when you should be thanking them for their feedback?
  • Do you feel like letting yourself off the hook by allowing distractions when you should be proactively minimizing those distractions?

We can be tempted to place judgment upon ourselves for feeling different emotions. It is okay to feel sad or frustrated or angry. It’s not okay to respond to those feelings with unhealthy actions.

In order to respond to an event with healthy action, we have to slow down, realize we have been triggered, admit the emotions we are feeling, and consciously choose how we want to respond. Choosing healthy behavior is paramount to your success.

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