Rating your off-target thinking

A big source of selling resistance how your off-target thinking affects you. In our training, we’ll sometimes ask participants to rate their off target thinking along these examples:

Polarisation: “I’ll never be able to overcome objections with customers on the phone.”

Polarisation is about perceiving things as extremes. A good clue, that you are thinking in a polarised fashion, can be found in your speech. If you hear yourself using the words “always” and “never”, you might be polarising. This kind of thinking has an impact on how we see ourselves, our abilities and our prospects – and is often way off-target when describing reality.

Filtering: “Overcoming objections is the worst part of selling.”

People use filtering to focus on one element of a situation to the exclusion of other aspects. This tunnel vision drives one’s attention to one aspect of a larger whole – at the exclusion of other issues. It serves to aggrandise the challenge, when it might not be as bad as we imagine.

Mind reading: “They won’t buy from us because what we do is too new.”

Mind-reading is projecting and jumping to conclusions by making assumptions about how others might feel about what you offer, what might motivate them or why they might or might not buy from you.

Catastrophizing: “They will get upset with me if I probe them with questions.”

Catastrophizing is about imagining the worst. This is a very common manifestation of off-target thinking among the people we train – they imagine that something absolutely terrible will happen if they attempt to sell. The fact, validated by thousands of recorded calls, is that terrible things just don’t tend to happen. The worst thing that can happen is that a prospect says “no”.

Personalisation: “Jane is better than me at this because she’s so good at overcoming objections.”

When you compare yourself and your abilities to your belief about other’s abilities and use that information to assess your value and worth – that’s personalisation. It sounds like you’re complimenting someone, but you’re in fact devaluing yourself.

Blaming: “It makes me so angry that our customers just don’t understand the value in what we offer.”

Or, “If it wasn’t for the competition always undercharging us, we’d be in a much better position to sell our product.”…. or “The summer is always poor, we won’t be doing very well this month.”… or “The economy is in the doldrums, which is why we haven’t grown this year.” Blaming is making someone or something else responsible for your feelings or results. It robs our power to change our results, and absolves of responsibility for when things don’t change. It’s an excuse.

Shoulds: “These prospects should be more responsive to my requests for meetings.”

Using “shoulds” is operating from inflexible rules about how others “should” respond and what they “should” do. It creates expectations of who others will behave, and when they don’t behave as you expect, you are disappointed. Sadly, you can never control how others will or should behave, so this is a recipe for consistent disappointment over time.

Being right: “I think once I can lay out the facts, you’ll see that I’m right.”

Being on the defensive to consistently prove that your viewpoint is correct can drain your energy. Besides, it makes you boorish and encourages others to stop listening to you, even when you are right!

Fairness fallacy: “It isn’t fair that I try so hard and I’m still not successful.”

When you feel resentful because things aren’t aligning to your concept of fairness, you are buying into the fairness fallacy. There is no “fair”. The universe doesn’t align the stars to make sure you get what you deserve. Bestowing your power on external factors – “if it’s meant to be it will happen” – again, places the responsibility for your outcomes “out there”.

Consider these manifestations of off-target thinking in your daily life. One idea might be to keep a journal or a spreadsheet with this list on it, and record every time you find yourself drifting into off-target thinking. Try it for a day – you might really surprise yourself!