Today’s market is extremely competitive. Excellence at the individual scale is therefore required at every level of commercial activity, from the sales representatives who interact with clients to the company president who negotiates major business deals. To win over clients and consumers, it is essential to have a highly knowledgeable and forward-thinking sales team. In today’s multichannel environment and global playing field, sales managers must keep tabs on three key elements: productivity (i.e. sales capacity), motivation in difficult times, and brilliance in interactions. These three elements can be maximized by mastering certain psychological factors applied to business dynamics, which together make up an approach known as psychobusiness.
Psychobusiness is the application of psychology to business. It is not the half-hearted, unstructured adoption of a few psychological elements without any sort of in-depth analysis or rigor. Many professions have attempted to apply psychology in their respective domains. However, the science of psychology is incredibly complex, so it must take precedence over processes. People are the true bastions of any organization. This means you have to work backwards: the core factor is the way people think and behave, rather than their role within the company.
Solutions from psychology
Given the huge number of trends and variables that psychology can influence, tapping into this discipline to solve problems and apply solutions is a very smart business approach.
We humans tend to be rational decision-makers, but this isn’t always the best approach. In order to function in the complex world that surrounds us, we often employ suboptimal or even counterproductive shortcuts. A professional’s performance largely depends on the ability to understand and modulate this mental game, which is rational as well as emotional. This process is even more important in the realm of sales. Sales representatives must interact with higher-status individuals on practically a daily basis. One key solution from the world of psychology is the cultivation of self-knowledge as a way to better understand other people’s behavior. These mental mechanisms provide a powerful resource for all sorts of professionals—marketing, sales, finance, production, and human resources—since everybody uses common sense as a simple shortcut.
Similarly, the mental sphere can help us solve many problems related to communication—another key aspect of interpersonal relations.
One key solution from the world of psychology is the cultivation of self-knowledge as a way to better understand other people’s behavior.
Simply put, the more time you invest, the more you sell. The productivity of sales representatives is therefore fundamental. High performance in this activity depends to a large extent on time management, which is no easy task. Sales representatives can be derailed, for example, by procrastination—the tendency to leave things until the last minute.
Tedious tasks tend to be neglected, even though they are just important as other activities, or even more so. For example, information is power. Any activity related to information is valuable, but this issue is sometimes overlooked because it requires a proactive approach. Sales representatives do not always prepare well enough for customer contacts. Sometimes they attend follow-up meetings unprepared or fail to plan their next steps. And they may not consider what they could do differently to improve their performance. “Of course these things are important. I really should work on them—but not today.”
Counteracting this trend requires tackling routines with positivity and intelligence. Your internal values have to be aligned with the effort that the task demands. At the end of the day, our values are our internal engine, and we have to apply them to the task at hand. In other words, we have to see that performing the task keeps us true to our values. “If I consider myself a responsible person, why am I putting off this task that I dread?” “Why don’t I use this this computer tool to plan my upcoming meeting? After all, I love using this tool, so this is a way to make progress on an important task while doing something I enjoy.” Setting goals, splitting up large tasks into smaller ones, and visualizing your future satisfaction and sense of achievement are tactics that help you feel immediate rewards and provide a motivating incentive. At the end of the day, productivity is rooted in strategic thinking—“I’m going to reflect on how I can obtain better results”—that is oriented towards solving problems or optimizing opportunities.
The second element is motivation, but for a taste of real life, let’s flip the perspective. For a salesperson, discouragement is frankly the most common mood. Beyond the scope of professional activity, psychology is holistic. It influences the personal spheres of life in ways that have knock-on effects at the professional level. A balanced lifestyle leads to higher motivation in employees.
Both physically and mentally, well-being is directly related to the quality of a person’s day-to-day work for their company. It is beneficial to analyze stressful and anxiety-inducing situations through the lens of cognitive restructuring, which enables us to reconsider our interpretation of reality in a more effective way. Similarly, models can be developed to examine an individual’s capacities and resources to overcome threats and turn them into challenges. Psychobusiness is highly versatile for people, in that it can be applied to various facets. We can use different tools to align our interests on the basis of our motivations.
Observation, analysis, and the smart management of your own rational and emotional behavior—as well as that of the person in front of you—are the key to taking meetings to the next level.
The third element of psychology that can be applied to sales activity has to do with the fluidity of interactions with customers. It is through brilliance—the activation of the best version of ourselves—that motivation and productivity lead to good results. Conversely, a lack of brilliance leads to errors, biases, and cognitive dissonance—in other words, mental shortcuts.
Observation, analysis, and the smart management of your own rational and emotional behavior—as well as that of the person in front of you—are the key to taking meetings to the next level. To align with your customers’ values, beliefs, interests, and fears, it is essential to have a flexible attitude and the ability to adapt to any situation or interaction. In fact, some authors consider this to be the main sign of admirable intelligence. Brilliance also lends your arguments an emotional component, which is highly valuable, moving, and tends to be well received by the person interested in the product or service. This sort of win-win connection can be facilitated by the skills of psychobusiness.
The sales process provides a clear example of how psychobusiness can transform an organization, but marketing, leadership, executive performance, and digital and cultural transformation processes are also fertile ground for this psychological approach. The science of human thought and behavior could quite clearly be applied in these areas to achieve qualitatively superior results. After all, companies are made for and by people.
© IE Insights.