Is Cognitive Distortion Keeping You from Succeeding in Sales?

cognitive distortionsIt might be nice to put a fancy label around why your Q1 sales did not top the charts as you had planned, and it is true that an affliction called Cognitive Distortions may be partially to blame. But before I give you some wording for what you’ll tell your boss at your next pipeline review, know that this is just ONE aspect of your ability to succeed in professional selling.

We will talk about some other things that could be causing your super slow sales ramp up. But first, I’ll explain what I started to share.

Cognitive Distortions are distortions in our mind – things we are telling ourselves that really aren’t true but our mind seems to convince us otherwise. David Burns, an adjunct professor emeritus in psychology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He popularized his teacher's, Aaron Beck, work on Cognitive Therapy.

There is a lot of talk about whether motivation influences our thoughts, feelings and actions or just what we think in our mind does.

You lost a deal. In your mind, do you “filter” to magnify the negative aspects of your work?

Filtering is one way cognitive distortions work. Here are a few others:

Black and White Thinking – you are either perfect or failing. There is no middle ground.

Jumping to Conclusions – you skip ahead in your mind that your buyer will not move forward – and they don’t. Some people don’t even call when they are supposed to follow up for fear that they’ll get a NO.  A classic scenario is when we don’t hear back from our buyer when we expected to, so we figure the worst.  Instead, they may have been out sick, or their boss was gone or something totally innocent delayed them.

In addition to these sorts of mind games, sellers can play more of them. This doesn’t mean we do it intentionally – some of us are trying – and we mean well. According to Objective Management Group (Why Some Great Salespeople Produce and Others Don't), many of us have conversations in our head that cause us to lose opportunities. We have weaknesses such as:

The need to be liked – this can keep us being strung along where there is no sales opportunity

Recovering from rejection – when we do get a “NO” for an opportunity we’ve worked on, we can’t bounce back from it – or it takes an incredibly long amount of time.

Focused on perfectionism so we never execute. Instead we procrastinate.

Call reluctance and we just don’t have the amount of conversations with buyers we need to

So do you know what your weaknesses are if you are a rep? 

Grade your sales achievement here.

Rate Your Sales Achievement

Sales leaders: are you seeing the faces of some of your reps above?

Are you aware that you can determine what a sellers’ Sales DNA is?

Yes, there are lots of OTHER reasons for lack of sales here are a few:

  • poor (or no) sales process
  • poor management
  • poor value proposition
  • wrong conversations

Start with yourself and your team. Are you the best you can be? Do you even know how to measure?

RATE Your Sales TEAM

We can help you with that  - just ask.

Oh, and wishing you a GREAT Q2….

If you DID HAVE a FANTASTIC Q1 - where you exceeded your goals – keep doing what you’re doing.


Lori Richardson - Score More SalesLori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide and is a Top 25 Innovative Sales Blogger. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog for sales strategies, tactics, and tips.
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Topics: Sales Tips, B2B, sales process

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