This Month’s Selling Principle:
Controlling Our Emotions Through Self Talk
This is just one element of what is commonly referred to as state management skills or managing our emotional state. We manage our emotional state primarily in three ways:
* With our self talk,
* With our focus,
* With our physiology.
In this article, we will examine self talk. The next statement is a culmination of literally hundreds of hours of research on the subject of human emotional states. Here it is: Facts are facts, our emotions are simply our opinions of the facts. If we can control our opinions, we can control our emotions. Let me ask you something, “Do you ever talk to yourself?” If you just answered “Yes,” rest assured that it’s natural and perfectly normal to do so. Let me ask you this, “Do you ever talk to yourself out loud?” If you just answered “Yes! Yes! I do! I do! I do talk to myself out loud!!”, well…maybe that’s not so normal. But the point is that we all talk to ourselves. If you’re not sure, you know that little voice in your head that just asked, “Oh wow man, do I talk to myself?” Yeah well, that’s it!
It’s not what happens around us that determines what we feel. It is what we say to ourselves that does. Now, of course, I am talking about emotional feelings and not physical ones. If upon meeting each other for the first time, you decide to slug me in the mouth, you’d probably hurt me, no matter how much I chanted, “That didn’t hurt, that didn’t hurt, that didn’t hurt.” However, if you decided instead to call me a jerk, one of two things would happen.
I could say to myself, now she has only known me for a couple seconds. How did she figure it out so quick? In which case I would probably feel hurt. Or I could say to myself:
She has probably heard one of my programs and knows I have a strong enough self-image to take this kind of kidding, in which case I would probably feel pretty good.
The point is, it is not what someone says to us, but what we say to ourselves that create our emotions. Let me give you another graphic example of this.
Four years ago, three friends went on a skiing expedition together, Bart, Mark and Mitchell. These three guys went to school together, they graduated together, and even worked at the same construction company together. Fortunately for Mitchell, he is a lousy skier because he was well behind Bart and Mark when they both skied off a 70-foot drop onto uncovered boulders. Both guys were pretty busted up. Both had broken their backs; they both broke both their legs and other bones. Actually they thought Bart was going to die. He was the worst off of the two and had been in a coma for several days. Everyone was relieved, to say the least, when he woke up and immediately complained about being hungry, which, by the way, is very typical for Bart. Even though they were both sentenced to life in a wheelchair, their reactions were 180 degrees opposed. Mark thought his life was over. He thought he couldn’t effectively swing a hammer anymore. He thought he could not be nearly as physically active as he once was, he thought all the things he loved to do were now gone, he thought there can’t possibly be a God. Life is over. Bart, on the other hand, had always wanted to make a living with his paintings (he was an art major in school), but never could seem to pull himself away from the money the construction business provided. Now, he thought what happened to him was a clear gift from God; finally a clear path to do what he had always wanted to do. He was saddened by his physical limitations but not for long because he saw them as new challenges. His life wasn’t over. His new life was just beginning.
Same paths, same sets of circumstances, different self talk, different prospects for life. One more example, and I will bring this idea home.
In the retail car business, the average dealership has a closing rate of around 20%. The average commission is around $250.00, so for every ten people a salesperson talks to, they average around $500.00 worth of commissions. How about this? Every time a customer just has enough time to get a brochure and nothing else, they say to themselves that they just earned $50.00. Every time a customer who hates sales people and just wants to be left alone — thank you very much — that’s $50.00! Every service customer they greet who just bought their car elsewhere and is just killing time — thank you very much, $50.00. Is it not true that according to those numbers, we’d get paid $50.00 for every “Welcome to ABC Motors” we give, regardless of the outcome? Every time we tell ourselves this we get closer and closer to really believing it. If we truly felt this way, do you think we might be inclined to talk to a few more people? If we talked to a few more people, do you think we just might make a few more sales? So take a second, and figure out what each customer you serve means to you based on your own closing rate and average commission. It is certainly worth a try, isn’t it?
Behavioralists have determined that eight out of ten of our thoughts are negative. That’s 80%! As a matter of fact, did you know that there are roughly two and a half times more words in the English language representing negative emotions than there are for positive ones? Next time you’re bored with nothing to do, read the dictionary and count for yourself! You’ll see.
Now, my experience has been a little bit different than the above. In many of the workshops I’ve conducted around the country, I’ve asked the participants to list out all the emotions or feelings they experience in any given seven day period. Any emotion, any variation of that emotion, any at all. I give them anywhere from three to five minutes to do this. Whether I do this with high school students or a group of sales professionals, the results are just about the same. Virtually every one of them comes up with 10 to 15 different emotions and about 70% of those are negative.
When life presents us with a series of situations, we are forced to quickly evaluate each situation and act accordingly. Since the way we represent each situation to ourselves is through our self talk, the ranges of our emotional experiences are limited to our readily accessible emotional vocabulary. If our readily accessible emotional vocabulary is limited to 10 to 15 words, and 70% of those are negative, is there any wonder why so many of us find ourselves feeling down, depressed or equally as undesirable (as far as I’m concerned) “just okay.” Now, I’m aware that most of us know the definitions of considerably more than 10 to 15 words representing emotions or feelings but if we can’t quickly retrieve them, we won’t experience them. If we habitually use the same 10 or 15, then our life experiences, our emotional repertoire, will be confined to those same limits.
So, as we expand our emotional vocabulary, we need to be sure to establish more positive words than negative. I suggest the ratio of four to one. I also suggest that we expand the readily accessible emotional vocabulary to at least 50 words. We need to not only memorize these new words but to also condition ourselves to use them regularly. This will take time, but with patience, persistence, and practice, this simple exercise can dramatically improve the quality of our lives.
I’ve often been asked, “Why even have any negative words in there at all?” My stock answer to that is success without failure or happiness without sadness would be as unbearable as life without the prospect of death. We need one to truly appreciate the other.
Self talk can be as obvious as; “Man, I”ll never be able to do this.” It can be as subtle as; “Oh gosh, I can’t remember his name, I can’t remember…” as opposed to; “It’s right on the tip of my tongue…it”s coming to me…coming to me…”
We need to condition ourselves to speak to ourselves the way we would a child we love. We would never speak to a child in a way that would discourage or disempower them. We should treat ourselves with the same respect and reverence.
The Eastern philosophies have a saying that goes something like; “Stand forever diligent at your mind’s gate.” Pretty good advice if you ask me.
So, until next time, be well, and do good work!
Michael D. Hargrove
“Cherish your emotions and never undervalue them.”
Objection of the Month: “I don’t have a lot of time.”
These are just a few of the most common strategies shared at the workshops we’ve conducted all across North America and attended by thousands of the top sales people in our field. Please keep in mind that nothing works all the time, and no one thing will work for everybody. Each of these strategies, of course, need to be tailored to the individual user, to the specific customer, and the particular situation. Also, this is by no means the definitive work on overcoming this particular objection and it’s not intended to be.
a. “Fine, then to make the best use of your time, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” (Then we go ahead and ask our needs determination questions.)
b. “Okay then, what were you hoping to accomplish today?”
c. “How much time do we have?” (then reply,) “Oh that’s plenty of time to get you all the info you’ll need to make an intelligent decision. Did you want a coupe or sedan?”
d. “Wow, only twenty minutes? That’s not a lot of time. Let me give you as much information as I can, as quickly as I can. How will you be using your new car?…” (Then we just go into our needs determination process. After about twenty minutes goes by, we look at our watch and say,) “Well, looks like it’s gonna take a little more time but you said you were in a hurry. Are we okay or do you have anyone you need to call to be a few minutes late?”
e. “I think you’ll be impressed with how efficient I am with your time.”
f. “You say you only have ten minutes? Then what makes this so critical? (Our customer may not understand the question and we may need to clarify by asking further,) “You have to be somewhere in ten minutes but you stopped here first. So, what’s going on? Did your car break down, or are you at the end of your lease, or did you just get car jacked?! What’s up?”
g. “How much time do we have?” (then reply,) “I’ll tell you what, you tell me when our time is up, fair enough? And to make the best use of your time, let me ask you a few quick questions.” (Then we just go ahead and ask our needs determination questions.)
h. “Two minutes? May I have just two minutes more of your time?” (This will almost always get us five to ten minutes more.)
i.(This one is for situations where our customer tells us they need to get back to work.) “If you don’t mind me asking, how much do you make an hour?” (Wait for their response, then ask,) “What if I could do this, what if I could get my manager to pay you ten times your hourly wage to simply call in and get us an extra hour to put this shopping chore behind you?” (Then all we have to do is show a discount of ten times whatever they told us their hourly wage was.)
Next month’s objection will be: “The price or payment is too high” We need YOUR input! Please forward your ideas on this one, or your suggestions on which objection to cover next, to [email protected].
“People of mediocre ability sometimes achieve outstanding success because they don’t know when to quit. Most men succeed because they are determined to.”
The One I Feed
An old Grandfather, whose grandson came to him with anger at a schoolmate who had done him an injustice, said, “Let me tell you a story. I too, at times, have felt a great hate for those that have taken so much, with no sorrow for what they do. But hate wears you down, and does not hurt your enemy. It is like taking poison and wishing your enemy would die. I have struggled with these feelings many times.”
He continued, “It is as if there are two wolves inside me; one is good and does no harm. He lives in harmony with all around him and does not take offense when no offense was intended. He will only fight when it is right to do so, and in the right way.”
“But the other wolf, ah! He is full of anger. The littlest thing will set him into a fit of temper. He fights everyone, all the time, for no reason. He cannot think because his anger and hate are so great. It is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit.”
The boy looked intently into his Grandfather’s eye and asked, “Which one wins, Grandfather?”
The Grandfather solemnly said, “The one I feed.”
“For an ethic is not an ethic, and a value not a value, without some sacrifice to it. Something given up, something not taken, something not gained. We do it in exchange for a greater good, for something worth more than just money and power and position. The great paradox of this philosophy is that in the end it brings one greater gain than any other philosophy.”
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“Third class with Mike. It is always a pleasure to re-sharpen the tools! Thanks Mike!”
Ernie Ott, Internet Sales Manager – Michael Auto Fresno
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