Thursday, 13 February 2014

Sales Self Talk - Positive Mental Attitude - Positive Personal Pep talks

According to a legend in the 14th Century, two mischievous imps were causing mayhem in Northern England, the two imps headed to Lincoln Cathedral ( whose Patron Saint is St. Hugh !), where they smashed tables and chairs and tripped up the Bishop.

When an angel sprang out of a hymn book and told them to stop, one of the imps resisted and started throwing rocks at the angel, but the other imp hid under the broken tables and chairs.

The angel turned the first imp to stone, giving the second imp a chance to escape. It is said that even on still days it is always windy around the Cathedral, which is the second imp circling the building looking for his friend...

You may not believe in little demons like the Lincoln Imp, but maybe you are aware of their 21st century cousins the Doubt Demons the Indecision Imps of your self talk.

Have you noticed how champion tennis stars talk to themselves in matches ? Who are they talking to ? Maybe it is their distracting doubt demons or those irritating Indecision imps.

Sports psychologists encourage self talk.

For all Andy Murray’s shyness and discomfort  at TV interviews he is very vocal with himself during a match.  ( see quick sketches)

He goads himself to concentrate. 

He wills himself to win.  

He urges himself to succeed . 

He calms himself if he feels too anxious. He ,like many champions, talks to himself.

The specific mischief of indecision imps in Selling is to cause the mayhem of self doubt in ourselves.

Perhaps there are similarities between  professional tennis  stars and professional selling.


  Both jobs :-

  •                can be a lonely - a lot of time on the tour or on the road
  •                 require hard work 
  •                 entail the capacity to handle challenging individuals and dismissive attitudes ! 

 The stresses of the selling job can effect your mental health if you don't keep your thoughts, actions, and behaviours in check.  (Take it from one who lives with depression and anxiety ! )

Fortunately the stigma of mental health at work is beginning to lessen and there is help out there .
(See links at bottom of post if you need more information.)

All these stresses can combine to build a state of mind sapping resourcefulness. This is the perfect environment for those Indecision Imps to cast their spells of self doubt.

They can be dis-empowering especially with their inner conversations inside your head like “if only I didn’t have to… I wish I could… I don’t know how to… I can’t believe that this… Why doesn’t it… But I … “

One of the best ways to succeed in the combat these imps that play in your head is to build  powerful self-belief, drive , passion, focus and self worth.

One method is to set this negative self talk in stone is with the tool of positive self talk.

Changing your negative thoughts into positive habits requires 4 steps.

  1.       Scrutinise your current self talk

Firstly you need to become aware of these  thoughts.
Take notice of the things you say to yourself during your day
You might even find it helpful to record these – do a bit of  selling cognitive behaviour therapy (SCBT)

2.            Appraising your negative thoughts ( Your  Doubt Demons and Indecision Imps)

  • What proof is there to support this negative thought of yours?
  • What proof is there in opposition to it?
  • Is the thought expressed in the manner I would talk to a friend in my position?
  • What are the constructive ways of viewing this situation?
  • Am I really keeping things in perspective?
  • Even if there is some justification to this thought, how useful is it expending your energy thinking on it ?     

3.            Exchanging your negative talk for more positive alternatives

Generate a better version of you . Envision yourself as a winner. Like a Sports star who vision holding the trophy imagine yourself sealing the deal and making that great presentation.

At the beginning of a day, sit back and spend five minutes creating that thought association  that connects you to your path of success.

Remember the first sale is to yourself.

If you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect your prospects, decision influencers, buyers, colleagues to do likewise?

4.             Egg-on * your new self . ( Summon up your inner Viking )

*The 'egg' of 'egg on' is a variant of 'edge'  and nothing to do with birds' eggs, so to 'egg yourself on'  means to edge, or urge, yourself forward. derived from the Old Norse 'eddja'.

Changing thought habits can take time and practise .

Steps one two and three will take time to become second nature.

To support your new self , why not consult a few Biographies of Successful Business Role Models and seek out the attitudes they adopted .

As you read / surf their story ask yourself :-

What can I learn from their experiences?

How might I transfer the learning to my selling ?

What resistances did they encounter and how did they overcome them?

How would thinking like them help you ?

How much quicker could I succeed in my goals using their approach?

Back in the day this was called Positive Mental Attitude

If you want to read a classic on this concept, it was first developed and introduced in 1937 by Napoleon Hill in the book Think and Grow Rich.  It develops the importance of positive thinking as a principle to success

One technique for positive reinforcement is the use of "self-talk"  as above.

Certainly books by Dale Carnegie and Alfred Tack are also excellent on this area.

How about adopting a daily mantra  
“I feel happy. I feel healthy. I feel terrific. I feel a success at Selling”
 that way you can  petrify ( fossilise) those  irritating indecision imps and darned doubt demons and can put them in their  place.

By the way -The Lincoln Imp can be found  'trapped' in stone in the Angel Choir , in the wonderful Cathedral in Lincoln.

Related Links

Mindfulness  ( Scroll down from this link to find section on Mindfulness)

Selling Silence and Mr Selfridge

Mental health issues are on the increase. A recent article in the Daily Telegraph pointed out a report by Shruti Singh for OECD  “Job strain” has a significant negative impact on workers’ mental health with issues with supervisors, changes in the working environment and “too much work” being key problems.
It recommended that British employers should carryout workplace screening for depression and anxiety.
Mark Pearson, the deputy of the director of the OECD, said that ignoring the impact of mental health on the British workforce would be “a major economic error as well as social error” for the country.

People unable to work because of mental health issues cost the UK economy £70 billion each year with 40 % of all people claiming for disability benefits due to psychological issues

Information on Mental health and Contacts

Recovery Colleges
 e.g. CNWL Recovery College

Mental Health Foundation


Time to change

NHS Choices


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