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Don’t Choke When it Matters

Revenue Blog  > Don’t Choke When it Matters
2 min readApril 7, 2021

Filling your brain with too much sales advice can make you choke when it matters most.

It’s true.

If you’re spending too much time on LinkedIn searching online for the latest bit of sales advice, I have my own advice for you. Stop it.

The reason to stop is because there comes a point where consuming too much “How to” and too much “paint-by-numbers” sales advice actually hurts your ability to sell.

If you’re on a sales call trying to recall some tactical “how to” post you read on LinkedIn, and find yourself consciously thinking “Should I do this now?” or “Should I do that now?” then you’re in trouble.

When that happens research shows that you’re actually increasing the odds of screwing the call up.

The problem is what psychological researchers call explicit monitoring theory.

It’s the idea that when experienced sellers think too hard about the details of what they should be doing in a particular situation, they tend to mess it up.

We’ve all seen this happen. How often have you seen a player in the NBA attempting a free throw with the game on the line? The game is tied at 110-110 with one second left on the game clock. One free throw will win it. And he throws up a brick off the back of the rim.

It’s the same in sales. Sellers often become so focused on their own actions in the heat of the moment that they lose sight of their ultimate goal: to help the buyer. And, they end up becoming more self-conscious, more anxious and less effective.

In other words, filling your brain with too much prescriptive, step-by-step sales advice can prevent you from being you; and authentically connecting and engaging with your buyer.

To break free of what psychologists call the self-focus vortex, you need to keep your attention on your goal; not on your process.

Don’t get distracted by what you think you need to do to conform to your sales process. Or how you think you need to act on a sales call.

Instead, keep your focus on what you need to accomplish for your buyer during each interaction.

What do they want to get out of the sales call? How are you going to help them achieve that?

Get out of your own way. Focus on the buyer and what they need from you.

Follow Andy on LinkedIn.