How much do you value being liked? For a lot of people, the need to be liked is huge! Unfortunately for people in sales, this can lead to fears that can sabotage yourself and negatively impact your results. It can cause your voice to tremble, or even worse, stop you from picking up the phone altogether.

In this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales, Darryl speaks with Bernadette McClelland, inimitable speaker, and award-winning author. Darryl and Bernadette discuss the psychology of how to best approach your role in sales and offer up thoughtful insights into the underlying challenges that come with constantly seeking approval. They also talk about ensuring that planning doesn’t become an excuse for procrastination, as well as avoiding the pitfall of comparing yourself to others.  Learn how to overcome your need to be liked, on this episode of INSIDE Inside Sales!




Not in the mood to listen or watch? No problem, you can read the transcription below.


Host: Darryl PraillVanillaSoft

Guest: Bernadette McClelland,

Episode Introduction: Getting Over the Need to Be Liked

Darryl Praill: How is everybody doing out there? My goodness, you look good, folks. I’m digging what you’re wearing. It’s sharp, is that new? Now you’re up there, everyone going, “Darryl, what the hell you are talking about, you can’t see me.” Of course I can’t see you, but it’s always nice to hear you look nice, don’t you think?

Darryl Praill: It’s always nice to be told pleasant things. The psychology of how we work with one another, how we engage, you know, it’s intentional. Like, I’ll give you an example. I do go home, and I make a point of telling my wife she looks nice.

Darryl Praill: Now, she and I have talked about this, at length. I’ve told her over and over again, because she’ll point out to me if I don’t say something nice to her, you know, “Do you like my outfit? “Do you see my hair, what do you think of my earrings?” Whatever it might be.

Darryl Praill: And I’ll say to her, as I have over the years, “Honey, I tell you all the time that you look great. “I think you’re beautiful, I love you. “You know, you don’t need to be validated every day,” but it’s something that she likes, and it’s an easy thing for me to do, so I do it. It’s the psychology of a relationship, right? It’s the nuances that we utilize, that we invoke, that we have to be sensitive to.

Darryl Praill: Now, I wasn’t always good at this. I’ll share, I’m going to go way back in the time machine, okay folks, so do not judge me. As a wee lad, as a young man, as a wee child, I was a loner, I was that kid that no one talked to, nobody liked, they mocked, they made fun of, I had pretty much zero friends.

Darryl Praill: I was wishing that I was in the cool kids’ club. I was desperate for validation and acceptance and camaraderie. I wanted to be the one who did the picking on, not the one who was picked on. And it was not a lot of fun. Now in my case, it was a variety of reasons. I was fortunate, I can say in hindsight to be academically gifted, and my fellow schoolmates perhaps didn’t like that.

Darryl Praill: I was a small kid, I’m a small kid now, but I was a small kid then. And that was one more reason to pick on me. When I was young, I had a stutter. You know I had, I had, I had a stutter. I had speech therapy for eight years. You know why I had a stutter? I had a stutter because I spoke, well I was trying, I’d get my mouth to keep up with my head, the thoughts in my head and my mouth couldn’t keep up, and so in the pursuit of trying to catch up to my thoughts, it tripped on itself, so I stuttered.

Darryl Praill: All that was bad. Now, that made for a really sad grade school experience. It got much better in high school, let me tell you. In high school I learned humor. And when I started really figuring out humor, we’re talking it’s about 15 years old. I went from being a smart kid to being the wise-ass kid.

Darryl Praill: And once I became the wise-ass kid and I made people laugh, I was no longer the loner. I was in fact, liked, I was respected. Get this, true story. I was a professional chess player. As a professional chess player, you do not get all the attractive women wanting to date you. Let’s just go with that.

Darryl Praill: And they made fun of me, when I was maybe 14, about being a professional chess player, because they would announce it every week in the school, you know, “There was a tournament last night, “and undefeated was Darryl.” But then, by the time I was 15, then again when I was 16, it went from being mocked on, to being, “Hey Darryl is representing the school, “he’s bringing home the awards. “our school colors, our school mascot, our school name “is doing well because of Darryl.”

Darryl Praill: So, what did I learn out of this? I learned when you support the brand, the school, when you make people laugh, humor, when you use the psychology of these tools, you can make a connection with people. At the same time that I was a loner, what it gave me a chance to do was study all the cool kids and figure out why they were cool.

Darryl Praill: What were they doing, they were my guinea pigs. I studied them because I wanted to be them. So, as I became a young adult, I now had humor, I had respect and I had people figured out pretty well, I mean, better than the average bear. And of course, we all know, as life goes on, I had a lot still to learn, but I was well positioned, and I was able to utilize that psychology to my benefit.

Darryl Praill: I was able to overcome the challenges that I had as an individual. I was able to overcome being a loner, overcome being picked on, I was able to make friends. I was able to get accolades, I was able to achieve success that had eluded me for so many years, and it was all because of the psychology. Sales is no different. Sales is about the psychology of how you approach the role.

Welcome Bernadette McClelland

Darryl Praill: I want to talk about psychology today. So, who do you bring on when you want to talk about psychology? You bring on the woman who knows everything there is to know about this whole area. She’s got a brilliant accent, because she’s down in Melbourne, Australia. We’re talking, you know, like right now it’s today, but for her it’s tomorrow, that’s the time difference! Let me bring on Bernadette McClelland. Bernadette, welcome to the show, my friend.

Bernadette McClelland: Oh, thank you so much, my goodness. Well, I think we could spend the whole day talking about what you’ve just spoken about. Brilliant story!

Darryl Praill: The best thing is, is that I learned over time. You know my story was not unlike many other peoples’ stories, right? But, so, that’s good, you know, I wasn’t the loner that I thought I was et cetera. Everybody else was going through the same hardship. And that’s true, if you’re in sales and you don’t have that psychology down pat, you think it’s just you, and I got news for you. A lot of your colleagues and sales peers are going through the exact same challenges. Is that a fair statement, Bernadette?

Bernadette McClelland: Totally, and when you break it down, I mean the word psychology simply means behavior. That’s all it means. And Simon Sinek wrote that wonderful book around why, his model being why, and I believe that, I agree with that, but I think he’s missing the inner circle, what I call the change-maker circle and that is the who.

Bernadette McClelland: Like salespeople, they 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? You know, and it comes back to who they see themselves as. And so I think that, you know, when I work with sales inside sales fields and that or I’ll ask the question, “Hey guys, throw at me some of the typical adjectives “or the typical words that people out there “would describe salespeople as.”

Bernadette McClelland: Con artist, sleazy, all of those negative words come to the front, and so I’ll say to them, “If that’s what you think other people think “about your role, that must be how you think of that. “And if that’s how you think about it, “and you’re going to do everything in your power “to make sure the buyer doesn’t think that way about you, “and so you are going to wind back everything “that you’re supposed to do as a salesperson.”

Bernadette McClelland: The questions to ask, the push back, all of that. And so you can be given all the sales training in the world, but if this whole meaning of your role doesn’t have the right intention, we go back to your word before intentional, doesn’t have the right intention behind it, then you’re going to sabotage yourself at every turn.

Darryl Praill: So, I’m curious. How many people listening to this episode right now are feeling a little uncomfortable, because what Bernadette is saying is really hitting home for you? And then I’m wondering, and I want to go both sides of this Bernadette. I wonder how many people are not understanding this at all, can’t relate to this at all, because there’s a psychology aspect there too, I would think.

We All Want to Be Liked

Bernadette McClelland: So, let’s just kind of pair it right down and where that all leads to is it’s, everybody has an innate need as human beings we are a social species, we need connection with other people. You know you were talking about it in your story to kick off the show. It is all about connecting with other people and we know that that is the antidote to a lot of issues, is connection. It’s the good thing to happen.

Bernadette McClelland: So, we have this innate human need in us to want to be liked. We have this need to feel enough. Not just in business, at home, with our friends, in sport, at school, with the cool kids at school. And even the cool kids have this need to be enough, which is why they behave the way they behave, in a lot of instances, bullying behavior.

[bctt tweet=”So, we have this innate human need in us to want to be liked. We have this need to feel enough. 🎧 Listen as @b_mcclelland explains how #salespeople can get over the feel to be liked and avoid impacting your results. #B2BSales #SDRs” username=”VanillaSoft”]

Bernadette McClelland: So, that’s meeting that need to be liked. And so, if we look at each salesperson out there listening to this, what is their need to be liked? What is that impact that that need to be liked, or that need to have approval from people, how is that impacting their results? How is that negatively impacting their cut through. And for those that do get it and that have got a handle on it, how is that positively impacting their relationships?

Darryl Praill: Wow, okay. So, where do we start with this? There are so many places we can go. So, okay. And folks, if you ever have any doubt that these are unscripted, these are unscripted, because we’re sitting, going, “Where do we, there’s so many places to go.” Okay, so let’s go with this–

Bernadette McClelland: So, if I can just cut in there, sorry to cut in there. This is what’s not addressed, and it’s when this is addressed, which is that inner circle, that who, it’s when this awareness is brought to the front. And it’s not just with salespeople, it’s not just with people on the phones, it’s with leaders as well, and you’re saying there, “Well this will be making a few people uncomfortable.”

Bernadette McClelland: The level of awareness, if you want your business to grow, you need to address the underlying challenges that your people are having, and it’s not sales training, even though I’m a sales trainer as well, it’s not sales training.

Bernadette McClelland: And when you’ve got leadership that don’t know what they know what they don’t want to know, you then go into a whole different, another conversation, where, “You know, I do not want to be exposed “to what I don’t know.” And so, therefore, in a lot of instances, development or growth from the people’s perspective, is put on the back burner.

Darryl Praill: Ho-ho, man. So, management, some people don’t want to go to where they don’t know so they’re just not going to learn anything new because that’s scary to them, so development doesn’t happen of the people or the company. That’s bad, I get it.

Darryl Praill: You’re seeing how the need to be liked, that fear of rejection, the desire to have approval, the ability to avoid what’s uncomfortable affects your decisions and that also affects how you, as salespeople, approach your job. Now, we’re going to go to commercial shortly, but I want to set the stage here.

Darryl Praill: You may be listening, saying, “I don’t have that problem. “I’m fine not being liked.” That’s cool, if you’re there, that’s great. You got to be cognizant, though, that some of your colleagues aren’t there, and you work together. And if you’re hearing this and you’re going, “Oh my god, secretly, somebody’s finally saying “what I’ve been feeling, I don’t want to admit it, “I feel like, you know, there’s a bro culture going on, “and I can’t admit that to my bros, but that’s how I’m feeling.

Darryl Praill: “I do want to be liked, I don’t like rejection. “It’s killing me.” Well, don’t worry, we’re going to talk about that. When we come back, after this commercial. All right, we’re back guys. I want you to know, I wiped my eyes while we were gone. I was weeping, I was crying. I hashed up old memories there as my school had, my school journey and I just really want you to like me.

Darryl Praill: Now, with that said, that fear, that psychology, that might be like me, where it’s based in your childhood, it doesn’t matter where it came from or what happened. You’re here now, you want to be liked, you want approval from others, and you need to understand how that’s affecting you because it manifests itself in behaviors.

How Does the Need to Be Liked Affect Salespeople’s’ Behavior?

Darryl Praill: Let’s start with that. You know, let’s talk about, how does this behavior affect my ability to plan? Can I plan my day, can I be optimal? Or does this behavior, in fact, maybe cause me to do the opposite, which is procrastinate? Talk to me a bit about that.

Bernadette McClelland: Planning is great. Salespeople are great at planning. They’re great at strategizing, they’re great at filling their diary, they’re great at you know, planning. The catch is that planning is safe especially if you have to pick up the phone and you’ve got your numbers; you’ve got your calls you’ve got to make.

Bernadette McClelland: Planning, too much planning, can be a procrastination strategy. And so, if we look at what’s really stopping the activity from happening, it can be a couple of things. It can be fear, but it could also be a lack of clarity. And now our mutual colleague and friend, Andrea Waltz, talks about “Go for No”, and I’ve used this strategy with my clients.

[bctt tweet=”Planning, too much planning, can be a procrastination strategy. And so, if we look at what’s really stopping the activity from happening, it can be a couple of things. Listen as @b_mcclelland offers #SalesTips to up your sales game. #B2BSales” username=”VanillaSoft”]

Bernadette McClelland: And I’m working with a 19-year-old SDR in London at the moment, and first job, and so he knows no different. So, I’ve given him a task. So, he’s currently having 15 conversations a day, and I said, “Look, let’s stretch it,” and he said “No, 25,” and then we’ve kind of come in and we said 20.

Bernadette McClelland: I told him that I wanted him to get 20 Nos in a row. And the minute he got a yes, it didn’t count. He had to start again. He’s blitzing it, he’s hitting the sales chain, he is just in this, he’s gamified it. And he is just in this whole doing phase. So, he’s kind of spun it ’round in his head and turned it into a bit of a game.

Bernadette McClelland: However, we will see how long that mindset lasts because it’s human nature, also, to go from variety, or this whole challenge, but eventually our brain will pull us back into the comfort, you know, that whole safe space, that predictability, that place of certainty where we can control our own environment.

Bernadette McClelland: If you’ve got calls to make and you’ve got numbers to make, that can sometimes feel like I have no control over it. I don’t want to do it. And will impact your results. So, there’s this whole fight going on in your head between this state of wanting to stay safe and predictable and control things, and having to step out and put your head about the power crit.

Bernadette McClelland: And that’s a biological thing too. I mean you’re talking about hormones and chemicals and you’ve got cortisol on this side and you’ve got dopamine on that side so that’s a biological thing, but when it comes back to the everyday stuff, planning, pretty cool, but procrastination is a huge thing. People don’t like being rejected.

Darryl Praill: You know, I don’t like being rejected. Please don’t reject me. I get it enough at home. You mentioned Andrea Waltz and “Go for No”. We literally, our very last, most recent episode was with Andrea Waltz, so folks if you’re listening and you missed that episode, first, shame on you, I can’t believe you missed an episode of me.

Darryl Praill: What were you thinking? Two, go back and listen to the episode. If you are a loyal listener and you actually heard that episode, go listen to it again. And by the way, did you go buy her book, “Go for No“? I told you guys to buy her book. Amazon’s your friend, five stars, rave reviews, that’s all about embracing rejection, so that’s awesome.

Darryl Praill: And why do we procrastinate? Because we fear rejection, that’s often what it is right? Why do we fear rejection? Well, the psychology. This is really going in circles here, now you see why we have Andrea Waltz and then Bernadette McClelland on. Okay, what about… So, fears are manifested lots of ways.

Darryl Praill: The psychology results in fears, if you will. We talked about procrastination, so fear of getting started, for lack of a better word. What about fear of actually using certain channels? So, what I mean by that. Some people love the phone, some people love socials, some people love email, but very few people love all three.

Darryl Praill: That’s just the way it is. If I were to stereotype, and that’s a complete and utter stereotype, the young reps would avoid the phone, and the more established, seasoned, mature reps, would avoid social media. So, what’s the psychology behind us avoiding channels? I’m wondering, is it what you just alluded to a few minutes ago, that I want to avoid it because I don’t know it, and I’m uncomfortable?

Bernadette McClelland: No and yes, it is that as well and you know, I think that also in your intro story, we talk about validation and we also talk about comparisons and the whole judgment thing and perfectionism comes in, and it’s like, “Oh man, if I put something out on social, “oh, what if it’s wrong?

Bernadette McClelland: “What if my views are not as good as someone else’s?” The thing is, there’s no right or wrong to anything. It is only someone’s perspective of something. So, you know, if this podcast that were putting out today, there are going to be people, I’m really sorry to tell you this, Darryl, there are going to be people that are going to say, “Nah”.

Bernadette McClelland: And there’s going to be people that love it. What does that mean? There’s no right, there’s no wrong, and I think that when you realize that when you start to compare yourself with other people, comparison is defeat of joy.

Bernadette McClelland: Now we are having a joyful conversation here today, with zero thoughts around worrying about what other people are thinking, because we’re intentional and we know that the right people are going to listen or read our stuff. And so, like I see with social, with the different channels, especially now with LinkedIn, with podcast, with all the content that’s out there at the moment, and videos, everything, it’s just changing so much as to how we can create cut through out there.

Bernadette McClelland: It’s just do it, it’s press publish, it’s just lose that whole perfectionism. Think, because once again, that’s coming back to the fact that you are wanting to control something. So, if you can lose that kind of need to control stuff as well, you know. My scheduler went rogue on me today, and it’s just posted whole bunch of stuff.

Bernadette McClelland: Now, there would have been a time where I just would have been in a corner rocking, thinking, oh my god, there’s so much stuff that’s just been posted today. It just happened, so I would say, if you enjoy writing, videoing, blogging, whatever it is from a content perspective, and you are in the boomer state, not a millennial or a Z or whatever it is, and you want to do it, do it. And it comes back to the younger generation as well. Like I mean, what is this? It’s a bit of plastic, it’s some chips, it’s a bit of glass. What’s so frightening about it?

Darryl Praill: If those listening, what Bernadette’s doing, is she’s holding up her phone and she’s right. What’s so frightening about it, right? So now, what’s interesting here is two things. One of the number one things I hear from people when I ask them, “Why don’t you engage more on social media?” is “I don’t want the drama. “What if I say something and they respond back “and they yell at me or they judge me “or they chastise me publicly?”

Darryl Praill: Public humiliation, if you will, and even worse, I think, what they’re not saying, but they’re thinking, is, “And what if they’re right? “What if I say this is how you do something “and they say no, that’s wrong, “this is how you do something, you moron.” So, people are afraid of being embarrassed, they’re afraid of being proven wrong. And it is a mindset, it is a mindset.

Darryl Praill: Now, my response to that is, and you alluded to it a little bit, Bernadette, you talk about being intentional. If you can be intentional, all that goes away. So, let me give you an example. I opened up here by saying I was a loner as a kid. I might as well have said, I was a big loser. I opened up with that story.

Darryl Praill: Now I don’t share that story often, but it was contextual, and I did it because I was intentionally trying to show you, I get it. I genuinely get it. And if you’re going to judge me for that you’re going to cast me aside or think less of me, then I choose, I intentionally choose to say I don’t care.

Darryl Praill: I don’t want you in my life. Because who I want are the people who will connect with me. So, that’s the really big thing about being intentional. I’ll tell you one more thing. When you do that, when you are intentionally saying, “I’m going to let myself be a little vulnerable, “be a little transparent, and I might risk getting hurt”, it actually makes life so much easier.

Darryl Praill: All those bags you’re carrying around, that fear, is gone. So, in that example, where I said I don’t want to do social media because someone might yell at me, they might tell me a better way, they might embarrass me, it’s only an embarrassment if you make it an embarrassment.

Darryl Praill: If they were to say, “Actually you’re wrong “and this is the way to do it instead.” You can turn around and say, “Oh my gosh, “that’s brilliant, I never thought of that. “I’m going to try it right now; I’m going to A/B test it. “Hey everybody, let’s do it, and we’ll circle back “and we’ll compare notes.” and all of a sudden, you’ve taken what could have been a negative and you turned it into a positive. So, the best bit of advice you gave us right there, Bernadette, was just about, be intentional.

Bernadette McClelland: Be intentional and…

Darryl Praill: Yeah.

Bernadette McClelland: Let’s just say that you put something out, and it’s happened to me, I’m a human being, and it’s kind of like, “Oh, jeez”, you know, or whatever work you want to use in that space. And it’s like, all I did was I went back, and I said thank you, that’s it, thank you.

Bernadette McClelland: It’s feedback and it’s coming from someone’s perspective of what you’ve written and you don’t need to justify anything, because that’s your voice, and everybody has their own voice and this is what platforms like social have given us the opportunity to use our voice, and yes, just like when we’re learning to walk, we’re going to kind of stand up and need to hang on to things.

Bernadette McClelland: We’re going to fall down, but we’re going to keep getting back up and getting stronger and stronger and stronger to we’re running marathons, well some people are. And it’s like, the same with your voice. You start off really kind of wobbly and you keep doing it and you will get stronger and stronger, and stronger and you will be intentional with whatever it is you put out. You have faith that what you’re putting out is exactly what people need to hear at that particular point in time. So, just say thank you and just keep going.

[bctt tweet=”We’re going to fall down, but we’re going to keep getting back up and getting stronger and stronger and stronger to we’re running marathons. @b_mcclelland shares insight to help you achieve #SalesSuccess. #SalesTips” username=”VanillaSoft”]

Darryl Praill: I will circle, I’ll close this off with kind of the conversation Andrea said in the last episode because it applies here, we were talking about psychology and how it affects you, rejection being one. The one thing she mentioned was the go for no and if you missed that episode, in a nutshell, it’s this. Instead of making a phone call or an email or a social touch going for a “Yes, let’s talk more”. She’s saying go for no.

Darryl Praill: You’re actually intentionally looking for five, 10, 15, 20 Nos today, you’re not going for yes. You’re going for a no, and every no you get, you go, “Yes, I got another no, yes! “Next call, I want to get my number.” And she changed the psychology of how you approach that. And all of a sudden life got a lot easier.

Darryl Praill: All right, what I want to do here is do a couple things. I want to say, listen, Bernadette has got an amazing attitude. I’ve seen her speak many times. She’s got energy up the wazoo. She’s really smart, she’s really personable.

Darryl Praill: She’s got a killer story she shared at a recent Rev it Up, women in sales conference that I’m not going to tell you, but it’s about how they got some hardship in their mid-life, they weren’t as financially secure as they thought they were going to be and how they bounced back from that. Ask her about it, I’m just teasing you, ask her about it.

Darryl Praill: This woman leads from the heart, she is brilliant. You can check out her website. It’s The number three, red R-E-D, folders dot com, but best of all, know you can go there, you can follow her, but what you should do instead is go to the outbound conference., where Bernadette is one of the 18 kick-ass speakers who’s going to be speaking there.

Darryl Praill: She’s coming all the way in from Australia to speak there, to speak to you. You need to go to this conference, and you need to see her. Bernadette, are you pumped about this conference?

Bernadette McClelland: Oh my goodness, like you would not believe. Trying to stay really pumped seriously, lovely, it’s good, it’s cool. It’s the place to be.

Darryl Praill: I love hearing this from everybody. One reason, why should somebody take time out of their daily schedule, invest a few dollars, and go to this conference, one reason.

Bernadette McClelland: Because you are going to take away tactics, you’re going to take away ideas. There’s no selling from the stage. It’s around productivity, pipeline and prospect. And so, all those three things are critical for a salesperson’s growth. And it’s just got some really cool people there too.

Darryl Praill: It does have the cool people. All right, that is Bernadette McClelland. Follow her on LinkedIn, follow her on Twitter, check out her website, or better yet, just go to the outbound conference. Bernadette, thank you so much for joining us today. I’m glad you’re here, but in the meantime, folks, we’re out of time, we got to go. But we’ll be back another week. In the meantime, I’m Darryl and this is “INSIDE, Inside Sales”.