We all have a constant inner monologue happening inside our heads. Most people pay little to no attention to this monologue. However, it is often a key factor that is sabotaging your ability to achieve success.
In the sales profession, we see negative self-talk crop up all the time – usually due to very common challenges and obstacles. Say someone hangs up on you during a cold call. Or a prospect suddenly goes dark after a promising email exchange.
When these things happen – and they happen to all salespeople – it’s very natural for negative thoughts about yourself to enter your mind. This can happen in a very subtle way. In fact, these thoughts might be either so subtle or so routine that you don’t even notice them. For example, if a prospect hangs up on you, you might have thoughts like:
- “Wow, that was unpleasant. I wonder what I did wrong.”
- “I must be really bad at making cold calls.”
- “That person must not have liked my voice.”
If you don’t stop and check your negative thoughts, they can start to build up and gain momentum. When that happens, your thoughts might reach a more serious level:
- “I’m horrible at cold calling.”
- “I’m terrible at my job.”
- “I’ll never make quota or win President’s Club.”
- “I am not good enough.”
Negative self-talk is a natural mechanism in our brains. The driving force behind it is fear. When we fear we’re not good enough, smart enough, talented enough, or liked enough, we leave ourselves vulnerable to negative self-talk. Eventually, these thoughts can become so energetically heavy that we diminish our own capacity to let our talents shine and become successful.
Luckily, negative self-talk can be reversed with positive self-talk. If you’re just starting out, understand that simply slapping a happy face on a negative feeling will not do you much good. In other words, if you’re truly feeling terrible about yourself, saying, “I’m a good and talented person” won’t cut it.
If you’re really feeling knocked down, experiment with more neutral language that describes the situation: “I did not get to finish my conversation with this prospect.” You can also use language to acknowledge that this situation is temporary: “I have not achieved the success I wanted to achieve in this moment.” This kind of statement leaves you open to realize and embrace the fact that you will have other moments – and other opportunities – to create success. When you feel the negative feeling lift, quickly move to replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk.
- “There is still time for me to make quota and win President’s Club. If I need help to achieve this goal, I am capable of finding that help.”
- “I am perfect and enough.”
- “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better.”
If you want to hear more advice about positive self-talk – specifically, how to psych yourself up before a sales call – check out my recent conversation with B2B sales leaders and experts Daniel McGinn, Karen Kennedy, and Michael Altshuler in the video below. You can also subscribe to watch weekly peak performance mindset talks on my YouTube channel.