Selling to the Point

How Can Salespeople be “Slump Proof?”

One of the most catastrophic things a salesperson’s career can run up against is a performance slump. Performance slumps can be career enders. They occur when a salesperson’s self-doubt interferes with his or her selling performance, igniting a vicious cycle. When salespeople display their doubts to customers, it can cost them sales. The lost sales reinforce their self-doubt, which leads to even more lost sales.

Ironically, performance slumps and self-doubt originate out of aspirations for self-confidence. The common denominator between salespeople’s self-doubt and their self-confidence is a belief that they’re responsible for their customer’s decisions. Traditional sales training stresses how important it is for salespeople to exert their influence on selling interactions. Traditional sales training teaches many techniques for achieving this. However, trying to influence selling interactions is a dual edged sword. Salespeople will feel a boost of confidence when customers decide to buy. Their confidence came from believing the customer’s decision to buy resulted from their influence. Harboring this belief concurrently sets up its antithesis. When customers don’t buy, the salesperson believes it’s because he or she failed to sufficiently influence the customer.

It’s inevitable for salespeople to encounter a succession of customers that didn’t buy. If I flip a coin enough times, I’ll inevitably get a succession of “heads.” When salespeople feel personally responsible for their customer’s decisions, and some decisions don’t go in their favor, they’re vulnerable to start doubting their abilities. If these doubts are somehow projected during selling interactions, it could endanger the likelihood of buying. These lost sales reinforce the salesperson’s doubts, and a slump is born.

This “slump scenario” doesn’t occur when salespeople Sell To The Point. The goal for a salesperson who Sells To The Point, is to help customers make a good buying-decision. For salespeople who Sell To The Point, the amount of influence they exerted to obtain that decision would just be a side-agenda. It’s perfectly acceptable for customers to decide to buy without any salesperson influence at all. If a customer buys, then it’s the customer that did a good job rather than the salesperson. A salesperson who Sells To The Point is a “decision coach.” The salesperson is on the sidelines helping customers with their “decision performances.” Self-doubt and slumps don’t occur because the salesperson’s focus is on their customer’s performance. The salespersons’ priority is the customer’s self-confidence, not their own.

Insecure salespeople, in constant need of self-confidence boosts, could experience difficulty adopting a Selling To The Point approach. Selling To The Point teaches salespeople to put their need for self-confidence aside in order to help customers’ buying performances. The salespeople who are willing to do this will have better customer relationships, higher commissions, and enjoy selling more.