While I was watching ESPN’s College Game Day, I heard Chris “The Bear” Fallica, who is a research producer and sports betting analyst for ESPN, make an observation about betting odds that was a revelation to me. He commented that when people place bets, they generally bet on the outcome they want.

Of course! It’s natural that people bet on the outcome they want. It is really hard to be completely unemotional and unbiased, especially about sports like college football.

Selling Emotions

Well, guess what? It is really hard for salespeople to be unemotional and unbiased as well. Salespeople project their own excitement onto prospects. They think the prospects are as excited about the salesperson’s products and services as they want them to be. They dump features and benefits onto the prospect as if dumping a big jug of Gatorade on a winning coach believing that the prospect will appreciate how awesome their services are. Once these amped-up salespeople hear any positive feedback, they believe it means the prospect will buy.

Making Sales Wagers

So, in a way, selling is a bit like betting. When a wager is placed on an anticipated outcome, there is money on the line. The individual placing the bet is willing to part with their hard-earned cash in the hopes they are right about the outcome. They do this because theoretically, the potential reward is worth the risk.

Similarly, when a salesperson spends their time and effort focusing on a prospect, they are invested in the outcome of that time and effort. They hope that the reward is worth placing their limited resources at risk. Therefore, they choose to believe that it will all work out for their benefit. But there is a fine line between hope and reality, and it must be kept separate. Salespeople need to become unemotional and even skeptical to take control of the selling process.

Keep Emotion Out of It

A little-known fact is that 63% of all salespeople (from a database of about 600,000) do not maintain emotional control during sales. Therefore, a significant majority of sellers aren’t staying unemotional. It is hard for them not to make assumptions about what the prospect is thinking and feeling. And it is hard for them not to BELIEVE that the opportunity is real. They wanna believe. Oh, how they want to believe.

So, the result is bloated pipelines that are unreliable and that suppress prospecting activity, ultimately causing decreased new business creation. You may be interested in the article I wrote about this topic: “Reduce the Fluffy Pipeline Syndrome.”

Additionally, being in the middle of a pandemic, high stress is a factor. Don’t even get me started on what stress does to one’s ability to maintain emotional control. Hint: Stress sabotages the ability for the brain to function effectively.

So, What Can Be Done?

In the sage words of my good friend and brilliant consultant, Casey Brown, follow the three P’s to deal with stress and anxiety in sellers.

  1. Plan: Plan your calls in advance. Plan for the unexpected. Plan how to handle the likely objections (even if convinced the opportunity will close).
  2. Pause: Take a breath when caught off guard, when asked a difficult question, or when dealing with an objection. Don’t jump in to react immediately.
  3. Probe: Ask more questions. Don’t take anything a prospect says on face value. Trust but verify everything a prospect says.

Sales success shouldn’t be based on an emotional wager for a desired outcome. Unlike with sports gambling and luck, we can use scientific data and proven methods that predict and control sales results. If you need help doing this for your business, reach out.

Data source: Objective Management Group, 2020