I was recently talking with a friend in real estate about the role that emotions can play in any type of sales, whether it’s B2B or B2C. There’s so much in the mix: your own emotions as a seller (worry, fear, hope, excitement), and all the possible emotions in your buyer depending on the circumstances (fear, worry, frustration, hope, anger, excitement, etc).
“Even with all those emotions,” I said, “the key as a seller is to be emotionally unattached to making the sale.”
My friend nodded, then looked me in the eye, and said, “True. But how do you do that when your income depends on the outcome?”
It’s the ultimate conundrum, isn’t it? Your income depends on the outcome, and so do your feelings of success, achievement, and effectiveness. There’s a ton riding on every interaction with your buyer.
The ultimate conundrum
So how do you detach from the outcome even though your income depends on it? More specifically:
How do you stop worrying about whether you'll make the sale?
How do you stop worrying about whether you'll reach your quota?
While we’re at it, doesn’t it seem unfair that you have to be unattached, knowing that your buyer’s decisions will actually be driven by their emotions – the very things you’re supposed to detach from yourself?
Also, if you detach from the outcome, does that mean you stop caring about your buyer?
Let’s answer these questions step by step, because there’s a lot to uncover here.
Flex your EQ
Your level of emotional intelligence (your EQ) is one of the greatest factors that will determine your success in sales. There are two different layers to EQ: one is inward-facing (your awareness of your own emotions, and your ability to manage those emotions), and one is outward-facing (your awareness of other people’s emotions, and your ability to respond to their emotions). Notice that awareness is a key component in both layers.
Whether you’re worried if you’ll make the sale, or excited about possibly making the sale (because your income depends on the outcome), you don’t have to make those emotions go away. You just have to become aware of those emotions, by asking yourself, “what am I feeling right now?”
Now that you’re aware of your own emotions, you have to manage them by asking yourself, “regardless of this emotion that I have right now, how can I best serve my buyer? What are my buyer’s problems, and how can I solve them?” This shifts your focus away from your own emotions, and away from the sale. Your focus should be on uncovering and understanding your buyer’s problems.
Forget about the outcome.
You only get to the desired outcome by being fully present now for your buyer and their problems.
Part of understanding your buyer’s problems is about being aware of the emotions they’re feeling around those problems. Is it frustration? Worry? Anger? You can’t directly change their emotions, but by truly understanding the cause and emotional impact of their problem, you can demonstrate empathy. Empathy builds a powerful bridge of connection and trust. This will make your buyer receptive to the solution you offer.
While continuing to keep your focus on the buyer’s problem, seek to understand the root cause of that problem – i.e. what tool or process is missing or broken that – if addressed – would solve their problem? If your product or service will solve their problem, it will become evident in the course of the conversation. Keep focusing on the problem, the root cause of the problem, and the potential solution.
Paradoxically, the income and outcome will follow as natural consequences of not being attached to them. It’s ok for you to have emotions like hope or worry (because you’re human, after all). Be aware of those emotions, but keep your attention and focus on how you can help your buyer.
In a nutshell, that’s how you can detach from the outcome, and stop worrying. And to answer the question I asked earlier (if you detach from the outcome, does that mean you stop caring about your buyer?) – to the contrary, you will have more bandwidth to care about your buyer when you shift your focus away from your own emotions, and away from making the sale.
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