Can hypnotherapy help improve the performance of sales people?
One of the questions I am often asked is “what prompted you to become a hypnotherapist”? Well, some years ago I happened upon an article in the London Evening Standard entitled “Hypnotise your sales team for success”.
At the time I was working for a software company and was responsible for managing the sales, marketing and services functions which included being accountable for the overall revenues of our part of the company and as we could have been doing better I called the hypnotherapist, Robert Farago, to find out if he could help.
In those days my understanding of hypnotism and how it works was based on the assumption that people who were hypnotised would act like robots and so I figured out that all the hypnotist would need to do would be to wave a watch on a chain in front of the eyes of my sales team and they would be turned into instant ‘sales closers’ – a sales manager’s utopia!
During my conversation with Robert however I came to understand a bit more. He said that there are a sometimes emotional and psychological reasons why sales people do not fulfil their potential, even if they are motivated, well-trained and have a good product to sell. He also went to explain that as those problems are held in the subconscious part of the mind, hypnotherapy can offer a fast, effective and long lasting way of overcoming them.
His proposition must have stayed with me at some level because a few years later when I was considering what else I could do in my life, hypnotherapy popped into my mind and I started to explore the topic in more detail. My initial thought was that I could use my experience in sales combined with hypnotherapy to mentor sales people and help them overcome those emotional hurdles.
Since then I have become a hypnotherapist and have worked with hundreds of different clients, including sales people, and a huge variety of conditions.
It may surprise you to learn that sales people, who are often depicted as being thick skinned and conscience free, are in fact human beings like the rest of us and can suffer from limiting beliefs and debilitating challenges.
The sorts of problems sales folk can encounter are various. It could be an aversion to being perceived as a pushy salesperson, perhaps as a result of the images often associated with the profession – liar, con-man, cheat, or having the ‘gift of the gab’. It might be an anxiety about meeting senior business people in a sales context, uncertainty about the value of one’s products or services and often in the case of sole traders and small business owners quite often a concern about not knowing the ‘secrets’ of the successful salesperson.
It may also be that a person has a fear of presenting to groups of people or is uncomfortable about negotiating. There may be discomfort about asking for a decision or requesting that an existing customer provide names of potential new customers. It may be an anxiety associated with picking up the phone to make a ‘cold call’ or to have a difficult conversation.
There is also an unrelenting pressure to succeed which can build to such a level that the result is unhelpful behaviours and attitudes. And of course sometimes motivation dips when someone is confronted with seemingly insurmountable problems.
The impact of any one of these issues can be lost opportunities, task avoidance, frustration, wasted time and lower than expected levels of business.
It is quite possible to remove the unwanted fears and anxieties using interventions which also work with other problems.
I have used hypnotism to help sales people overcome some of the issues above and have seen some startling results. For example there was a salesman whose activity rates (numbers of calls and meeting) increased by 35%after just a few sessions. Then there was a sales person who overcame his fear of asking customers and partners for information about future business ( in other words the sales forecast) which was causing problems with his management.
As well an the more traditional techniques I have often used a concept called Goal Directed hypnotherapy to enable fundamental and long lasting change. I will discuss the principles and process of Goal Directed hypnotherapy in a future blog.
By the way, the swinging watch does work, as do many other methods of inducing the hypnotic state….