Ego Thrives on Drama … and why there’s no place for it in your selling

Buyers get whatever personality they need to buy from you unless you want to sell only to people who are like you are. If you make the mistake of thinking that there is a chemistry issue, then look in the mirror to see where the problem really lies. Granted there are some unreasonable people who no one in their right mind would want to do business with, and you absolutely have the right to decide, “I don’t want to ever work with this person”. And if that’s your decision, more power to your elbow. However, in most cases a lack of chemistry is down to you not really understanding yourself that well and not knowing how to adjust your behaviour to ensure the prospect feels comfortable with you.

We teach our clients to use behavioural and communication tools like Extended-DISC (you may be more familiar with The Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator (MBTI) or some of Thomas International’s products) to begin to understand the preferences and pet peeves of different personality types, your own perceived need to adjust, the kinds of people you are likely to feel comfortable with and make comfortable easily, and those you will find harder work. We teach this because the number one job of any salesperson is to help the prospect become comfortable with you quickly and up front. Failure to achieve this level of comfort can badly inhibit your chances of success in any sales situation. In complex sales with multiple characters on the buyer side (or the seller side for that matter) can result in a good deal going south because you had the wrong people on the job or you didn’t adjust to suit the audience you are selling to.

Now let’s take a moment to discuss ego and drama. A smart chap called Stephen Karpman came up with a very simple model called the Karpman Triangle or the Drama Triangle which describes every dissatisfying, dysfunctional relationship you can or will ever have. The triangle is always show on it’s point with the Victim at the bottom, making this a very unstable and precarious position to find yourself in. Let me ask you this question. Who is attracted to Victims?

No, not “no one”. Persecutors and Rescuers are attracted to victims (and sometimes, so are other victims – so you can both wallow in self-pity).

The other 2 points are made up of a Persecutor and a Rescuer. Victims sound like “Why me? it’s so unfair! You always do this to me!” In the sales role it might sound like, “Why does this always happen to me?”, “It’s so unfair!”, “Hey, that’s my lead!”

Drama Triangle

In order to stay out of this game playing drama, it is essential you stay in the Present instead of being stuck in scripted behaviour where blaming, attacking and helping without permission or boundaries is the the norm. To stay present you must be mindful, that is, in the moment. You don’t allow yourself to be triggered into any of the 3 points of the drama triangle, instead you respond by being Vulnerable, Nurturing or Assertive.

Assertive vulnerability is the most powerful position for you to take. It means you are wiling to be hurt but you do it anyway, and you are absolutely clear about the boundaries that you are putting into place. In Sandler we teach that the three most important words in sales are “Nurture, Nurture, Nurture”, because you should be tough of behaviour, ruthless on time and kind to people. You must tell your prospects the “kind truth” but to do this you have to get permission. You can’t just slap them with bad news and not expect some reaction.

Authentic Traingle

We teach our clients a strategy called “up front contracting”. This comes from our Adult ego state (as opposed to our Critical Parent or Child), where we set out the parameters of our expectations and what we want to have happen by the end of our meeting or conversation. They learn how to set the ground rules and expectations up front so that both sides are protected from ambiguity; both sides agree what will happen at the end, right at the beginning. This prevents mutual mystification and means we never have to resort to mind reading. We agree what we don’t want to happen and that it is OK for either side to say to “no” without feeling any pressure. We raise objections ourselves before the prospect does; that way they arise at our time of choosing and so we meet virtually zero resistance in the sale if we are doing it right.

If we allow our ego, or our scripted behaviour, or our need for drama to get involved in the decision, we will invariably lose the sale, and end up upsetting the other person. If we make ourselves the issue then we get between the prospect and their decision to buy from us. How does this possibly serve the prospect’s selfish self-interest? It doesn’t and it never does. It serves ours. And who wants to buy from a salesperson who has their own interests at the forefront of their attention? No one!

Think about it, when was the last time a salesperson made sure you were OK saying “no” to them? And how often have you recoiled when the salesperson tried to put their hand in your pocket and close you? Naturally, everyone loves to buy, but we all hate to be sold, don’t we?

Obviously, staying present isn’t easy or we’d all be doing it and we would never end up in fights, or feeling slighted. Our attachment to the outcome is part of our handicap as sellers. We teach our clients to “Get out of the result and get into the process”. This means you do each step of the sale excellently before moving ahead to the next step. We don’t focus on closing the deal or getting their money. If you stay in the Authentic Triangle and genuinely pay attention (notice the verb that goes with “attention” is “pay” – making it an investment) to the prospect, how they are responding to you and their situation, and you are genuinely curious to understand them and their condition, their vision and their obstacles, then you are both on the same side kicking into an open goal.

Stay present and happy selling …..


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