Sales is one of the most popular professions in the world and, although it may seem like selling goods and services doesn’t require too much effort, only a select few achieve significant success, earning amounts that others can only dream of. Even though the reasons for this are largely visible in the competences of the best salespeople, it is often an emotional topic.

Sales regularly appears in the rankings of the most stressful professions. By definition, salespeople work for results - this creates a sense of constantly pursuing a specific goal and an awareness that the assessment of our work depends largely on how much we sell. We have to fight off the competition to get client’s attention, and this is only the first step on a long road to finalising a sale. We also have to communicate with others, to understand their emotions and needs. Salespeople often have to show empathy, and have to deal with a wide range of clients with various temperaments and expectations over the course of a day.

Motivators and de-motivators

As in any other profession, in sales there are both motivators and de-motivators, which are a direct stimulus for both internal motivations and demotivation to achieve goals. A motivator could be a situation when a salesperson finalises an important transaction or gets good feedback from a client or the boss. This kind of positive stimulus ‘drives’ them to act. We know that mirror neurons in the human brain are responsible for our ability to recognise other people's emotions and intentions when expressed nonverbally - therefore, this type of stimulation, via motivators, can positively affect our relationship with the client. There’s a good chance that when the client sees how satisfied we are, they will be ‘infected’ with the positive emotions.

On the other hand, we can describe all negative situations, failures, and bad luck as de-motivators. These include:

  • high (often unrealistic) sales goals set for the salesperson,
  • the need to compete with other sales people in the team, being constantly compared with others,
  • communing with difficult clients who openly share their frustrations and grievances,
  • the need for continuous training to be able to effectively provide substantive advice to clients,
  • exposure to stressful situations, such as conducting difficult negotiations, getting clients’ attention,
  • internal disagreement, manifesting itself in a lack of faith in the products or services sold, or moral objection to their sale,
  • work beyond the ‘standard 8 hours’ - the need to work after hours, on weekends, at the client’s request.

Thus, it can be said that much of the difficulty in the sales profession results from the emotions that accompany such work. To a large extent, this depends on how the salesperson works on a daily basis. Very often, when we ask, “How did your sales go today?” - we hear the answer: “Not good, I had a really bad day, I didn’t get anything...” This attitude is often subject to the snowball effect - the more bad experiences in one day or week, the worse our emotional state. It is therefore worth considering why this is happening and how to deal with it.

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