Look, it’s time to stop self-sabotaging your sales.

We all want to be liked, right? It’s basic human nature.

For most of us, our need to be liked was probably born years ago on the playground at recess when we stood and waited for “friends” to call us onto their team. (Whose idea was that, anyway?!)

You may be decades removed from this particular scenario — thank goodness for that! — but unfortunately, not from the need to be liked. In fact, your desire to be approved of by others can manifest itself in a lot of negative ways. Specifically, it can mess with your ability to hit targets. It’s time to stop self-sabotaging your sales.

If you want your business to grow, you need to address the underlying challenges you’re having — and I’m not talking about sales training. Speaker, founder of 3 Red Folders and award-winning author Bernadette McClelland offered thoughtful insights on the psychology of how to best approach your role in sales on this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales.

Why do you need to be liked?

Humans are a social species, so you naturally have an innate need to be liked and feel like you’re enough at work, home, or in social circles — you kind of can’t help it.

“It’s all about connecting with other people and we know that [a connection] is the antidote to a lot of issues,” says Bernadette. And that’s especially true for your role in sales since building connections gets you closer to a nice payday.

You’re not the only sales rep struggling with the underlying challenges of wanting to be liked, but you need to understand how it’s affecting your results because fear manifests itself in behaviors.

To build a relationship with a prospect, you (maybe subconsciously) focus on the psychology of it and approach it with the right tools. For instance, you don’t have to validate your prospects, but it helps, right? The psychology behind how we work with one another and engage is intentional.

When you support a prospect’s brand or make them laugh and use the psychology of those tools to your advantage, you’ll be in a better position to make a connection — but can you handle the moments when that doesn’t work and you don’t break through to being liked?

Yes, your fears can actually affect your work performance

Your need to be liked is creating a fear-based approach to your job. Here are two tips to get over that fear.

1. Plan, but don’t procrastinate

While planning is essential, Bernadette says too much planning can be a procrastination strategy. “If we look at what’s really stopping the activity from happening, it can be a couple of things,” she says, but it’s most likely your fear of rejection.

This is why Andrea Waltz’s “Go for No!” strategy gets Bernadette’s stamp of approval — you can’t be afraid of rejection if you embrace it.

2. Stop caring so much about what other people think

“Salespeople know what they’re going to do. They know how to do it, they know why they’ve got to do it, but why don’t they? It comes back to who they see themselves as,” explains Bernadette. 

If you start a call aiming to debunk the negative perception you think (!) a prospect has of you, that’s more so an indication of your own self-perception.

On top of that, because you’re so busy trying to be liked on your call, “you’re going to wind back everything you’re supposed to do as a salesperson,” — the questions to ask, the push back; all of it.

How to overcome the need to be liked

Your need to be liked, fear of rejection, desire for approval, and your ability to avoid what’s uncomfortable will inevitably affect your decisions. That — as you can see — also affects how you approach your sales job. But it doesn’t have to!

“People are afraid of being embarrassed [and] being proven wrong. And it’s a mindset — if you can be intentional, all that goes away,” says Bernadette.

The bags of fear you’re carrying around are heavy, aren’t they? Let them go little by little with these tips to stop fear-based behavior in its tracks:

  • Remember there’s no right or wrong to anything (only someone’s perspective of something!).
  • Avoid the pitfalls of comparing yourself to others — comparison is the thief of joy, so take it easy on yourself and stop competing with others.
  • Lose perfectionism and your need to control things. You have to have faith that what you’re putting out is exactly what people need to hear at that particular point in time. If you get pushback, just say thank you and keep it moving.
  • Let yourself be more vulnerable and transparent — it sounds contradictory, but your life will be much easier when you risk getting hurt. (Because you can’t control everything and you’re letting go, right? 👀)

It’s time to stop self-sabotaging your sales

The reality is that you’re going to fall down, but you’re also going to keep getting back up and getting stronger and stronger until you can hang with the best of ‘em. But you won’t go wrong by focusing on your intentions and the psychology of your approach to your sales job.

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