David Sandler said, “sales is no place to get your needs met,” but too often salespeople get their needs met by eagerly jumping through the hoops their prospect puts down, not for the chance at getting an order, but because they want their prospect to like them.
Salespeople mistake their prospect liking them for success because they have “I/R confusion.”
What this means, in simple terms, is they mistake their self-worth or “identity” (“I-Side”) with the “roles” (“R-Side”) they play, like “salesperson.”
When someone confuses their “I-Side” and their “R-Side” they exhibit two primary behaviors.
- Fear of failure – someone who feels their self-worth is connected to how well they perform a specific role (e.g. salesperson) is not likely to actively prospect or close a prospect’s file.
Fear of failure usually manifests in excuses like, “I’ll make calls next week. My prospects are all busy with month end reports.”
- Need for approval – an individual suffering I-Side/R-Side confusion will continually seek recognition from others that they are succeeding in their role to prove that they are a good person. They are not likely to ask tough questions when a prospect blows smoke and, typically, they will let their prospect control their sales cycle.
Need for approval typically manifests in client empathy statements like, “they said they really liked my proposal because it was obvious I had put a lot of work into it, but their budget was cut yesterday so we need to sharpen our pencils.”
To eliminate I-Side/R-Side confusion start by internalizing, David Sandler’s rule “who you ‘I’ isn’t what you ‘R’.”
That is, your successes and failures in your roles do not affect your self-worth.
In sales this is tricky because we get beaten up every day by our prospects, our managers and ourselves.
Next, journal every day about your R-Side and I-Side.
R side journaling typically starts with setting goals in the morning (e.g. 30 calls, 1 networking event, 3 meetings with prospects, 1 workout) then a) noting if you hit your morning goals and b) writing down the lessons you learned during your day.
I side journaling is typically focused on your attitude both in the morning and at night (e.g. “I have equal business stature with my prospects” and “maintained equal business stature even when prospect pressured me to lower prices.”).
Finally, regularly review your successes and lessons learned on your I-Side and R-Side. Even though your sides are separate, they are connected, so reviewing your successes and applying lessons learned will improve your skill at resisting need for approval and fear of failure.
As you become stronger separating your “I” and your “R,” your sales will go up, but if not, that shouldn’t change your self-worth.
Hamish Knox is a Sandler Trainer in Calgary, Alberta.