8 Ego-Driven Emotions That Stop You From Selling

Dec 9, 2021
Collin Stewart

Michael Hanson runs Growth Genie, a consultancy that empowers B2B sales teams to have better conversations through playbooks, sequences, coaching and training. He’s passionate about helping salespeople to be less ego-driven and more customer-centric. Michael joined the Predictable Revenue Podcast to share insights on 8 ego-driven emotions that stop salespeople from selling effectively.

Salespeople have a tough job and throughout the day, some ego-driven emotions are inevitably going to come up. In spite of what some of the traditional sales methodologies preached, when we let these emotions take hold, we risk losing the sale.

Why Psychology Is Better Than Sales books?

The true art of sales comes down to communication, which refers to your messaging and how well you transfer information, but salespeople often get into their own way in this regard. “Over my time working in sales — both being a coach and then being a practitioner — I’ve realized that the biggest issue we face is ourselves,” Michael explains. 

The second aspect of sales is, can you deal with failure? “You’re going to fail more than you succeed. So in those situations where you fail in advertising commerce because you don’t win the deal or don’t get a meeting, it’s how you pick yourself up and react to that. And that’s where the ego comes into it.”

Egos are a natural part of people, meaning no one can be completely ego-less. The important thing is to understand the ego in order to prevent it from getting in the way. “When I was reading all these psychology books, I was like ‘Wow, this is the secret to selling better — it’s not about all these different methodologies.’”

The 8 Ego-Driven Emotions

There are 8 ego-driven emotions. It’s important not to beat yourself up about any of these when you feel them. Simply recognize them, understanding that it’s totally normal and then use the antidotes to overcome them and maximize success in the sales process.

1. Desire

Desire is the first ego-driven emotion. In sales terms, it refers to focusing so much on closing the sale or booking a meeting to a point where it has a negative impact. You end up not focusing on the person you’re speaking to in your endeavor to just hit targets. Instead, ​​”you need to detach from the outcome. And by detaching from the outcome in a weird way you’re actually more likely to hit targets.”

This is not to say salespeople shouldn’t have targets. It’s just about navigating carefully to ensure that most of your attention is on the other person and their needs. That’s what actually helps you to meet targets.

Curiosity – The Antidote To Desire

Curiosity is the antidote to desire. In sales, when you’re curious about the other person you’re in a much stronger position to determine whether or not the person is a good fit and you’ll also be able to qualify them a lot better. Curiosity also helps to limit your chances of transmitting any preconceptions you may subconsciously hold. It’s an effective way to build relationships and increase the likelihood of achieving your goals.

2. Fear 

Certain parts of sales like cold calling can be scary even for seasoned salespeople. Just the thought of picking up the phone to call someone who has no idea who you are can give experienced sellers the jitters.

Hope – The Antidote To Fear

There are two sides to this. If you’re a new salesperson and you’ve never had a successful sales call before you’ll need to reach out to a colleague who could be the best performing salesperson on the team or a manager. They can provide practical advice on how to approach the process, which will give you hope.

If you’ve had success before but maybe you’re having a bad month, think about the times that you did achieve success and go as far as listening to a call recording. That’s going to give you hope to overcome the fear you’re feeling.

3 & 4.  Anger & Resentment

The third and fourth ego-driven emotions — anger and resentment — are so closely connected that they’re grouped together. There are times when a salesperson will deal with rudeness, whether it be on a call or in an email. It can cause anger, which then leads to resentment meaning you’re no longer interested in selling to that person because of their behavior towards you.

With the right approach, however, these feeling of anger and resentment can often be turned into an opportunity

Forgiveness – The Antidote To Anger & Resentment

Forgiveness is the perfect antidote to anger and resentment. If the person you’re speaking to is an excellent fit for whatever you’re selling, forgive them for their shortcomings and focus on the positives. This will help you continue the conversation and work your way towards closing the sale.

8 Ego-Driven Emotions That Stop You From Selling

5. Agitation & Anxiety

It’s easy for salespeople to become agitated and anxious, especially if things aren’t going well. It’s also exacerbated by negative things people might say like a rude comment during a sales call or bad feedback when you make a mistake or fail to reach targets.

Calmness – The Antidote To Agitation & Anxiety

Take yourself out of the situation for a few minutes to calm down. It’s important to just take a moment to breathe. ​​”You can go for a walk. You can exercise. You can call a friend. Just take yourself away from whatever situation is making you anxious.” Upon taking a moment to calm down, you’ll often find that whatever was bothering you is not as big a deal as it was before.

6. Lethargy

Lethargy is essentially laziness and there are many different examples of this in sales. You may be at the very beginning of your career, for example two months in, and may not be getting results. It can feel disheartening, which leads you to think, “I can’t be bothered with this anymore!” I could also go the other way, where you’ve hit targets well ahead of time, so you sit back and think, “I don’t need to do anything.” But there’s an opportunity to get even more commission and do even better for your company using the antidote to lethargy below.

Inspiration – The Antidote To Lethargy

Being inspired helps you overcome lethargy. The inspiration can come from many places such as the varied experiences with all the people you interact with. ​​”What inspires me in sales is actually just meeting new people. The quote I look at is, ‘everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.’ So that’s why I like sales. I’ve built amazing relationships with people over the years.” In such an example the inspiration comes from simply thinking about the amazing conversations and incredible people you’ll miss out on when the feeling of lethargy strikes.

7. Doubt

Even for the most confident and accomplished salespeople, an element of doubt can start to creep in the midst of a slump. The feeling is interrelated with anxiety and fear, which means the antidote follows a similar process.

Belief – The Antidote To Doubt

When doubt enters the fray, belief will help to keep it at bay. To believe in yourself and your abilities again, think back to the time you did well previously if you’re an experienc​​ed sales rep. “If you were smashing it in Q1 and it’s now Q3 and you’re not doing well, think ‘what was i doing well in Q1?’”

You can also speak to colleagues who are performing well or a manager to help bring back that belief. They can give you tips on how to be better, which is also an effective way to overcome the doubt.

8. Pride

Pride can be destructive in sales. Similar to the way you can feel anger towards someone who is rude during a call or in an email exchange and you feel like dropping all communications with them immediately, it’s also pride that can prevent you from forgiving and moving forward when that person is an ideal fit for your product or service.

The perfect antidote to pride is humility. 

Humility – The Antidote To Pride

Things like asking for feedback are a form of humility that will help you excel in sales. You can get feedback from anywhere in the organization whether it be a coach, manager, or colleague. “We’ve seen really good results with companies where colleagues are listening to each other’s calls because they’re on the front line.”

Humbleness will help you overcome any pride and take you a step closer to fulfilling your potential in sales.

To learn more about the 8 ego-driven emotions, how to overcome them, and the results you can expect to see as a result, reach out to Michael via LinkedIn, visit the website growthgenie.co or send him an email at mhanson@growthgenie.co.

​​Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to check out our weekly podcast episodes where we share top sales development insights and get notified whenever we upload a new video. 



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