Pancho Mehrotra: The sensitive salesperson

How can you identify if a team member is best suited to networking, cold calling, presenting, objection handling or number crunching? Pancho Mehrotra examines the psychology of numbers, the four personality traits that influence success and what you can do if one of them is holding you back.

Picture this, a salesperson sitting at their desk, reflecting on a call session that has not gone well.

How that salesperson feels about their results, specifically their numbers and even how the numbers are labelled, will profoundly affect their motivation to make the next call with the right attitude.

Why is this a big problem?

It affects not only a salesperson’s mental well-being but also the business’s revenue and whether they stay in the industry.

The reality is a poor performer can cause a business to lose market share, fail to attract other agents and damage the brand.

Ultimately, the owner is responsible for listing and selling to keep the doors open.

If you are a salesperson, what you see depends on what you know.

Do your numbers paint a pretty picture or a recurring nightmare?

Number crunching

Let’s look at some numbers.

Imagine you are a sales agent in Australia working a conservative 45-hour week and earning about $200,000 per annum in gross commissions, with a 60/40 split with the office.

Let’s say you take an annual four-week break. 

After paying taxes at the average rate and before paying expenses, your hourly rate is about $40.

Clearly, working hard is not the answer. 

Could it be that the agent is not suited to sales?

Unfortunately, the popular answer to getting a salesperson to pick up the phone or do any form of prospecting is “make more calls”, “toughen up” and “it’s a numbers game, don’t you know?”. 

This approach does not work for everyone. If it did, agents’ average annual commissions would be much higher.

How can you identify if the salesperson is suited to sales, embrace the process from cold calling to presenting and overcome price objections and competition?

Emotional intelligence

Just as the call sheet demonstrates how many calls a salesperson makes, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) numbers also reveal if they have the right attributes to succeed.

Having profiled hundreds of salespeople with our Emotional Intelligence S.A.L.E. quiz, we saw certain behavioural patterns in salespeople who had a higher chance of succeeding in sales versus those with lower scores.

We all focus on measuring output when the real issue is understanding and selecting salespeople who will not only keep going, but will thrive chasing new business while embracing the daily challenges of rejection, discount agents, difficult bosses, changing economic conditions and demanding clients.

We measure four EQ traits: 

  1. sensitivity 
  2. achievement 
  3. logical 
  4. energy 

We observed that the salesperson who scored low in sensitivity had the ability to move on from a “no” quickly and keep prospecting with a stable attitude.

The higher the person rated on the sensitivity scale indicated lower control they had over their emotions, taking rejection to heart.

This often impacted their prospecting activity levels, leading to a decline in productivity. 

A low sensitivity score does not mean that the salesperson was less empathetic or caring.

It’s quite the opposite.

They genuinely wanted to help clients but moved on very quickly when they realised the client was not ready. 

The solution

What is the solution to prospecting avoidance?

One is to hire salespeople suited to sales and the uncertainty that comes with it, and there is a specific process for this.

The other option is to turn around a poor performer to become less sensitive to rejection and to enjoy the process of prospecting.

Get the sensitive salesperson to understand what attributes are holding them back and show them how to work on correcting those.

Self-awareness holds the answer to help the sensitive salesperson succeed. 

Time and again, we see salespeople turn around their lack of performance once they understand what is holding them back and what they can do to improve.

Seeing small changes gives them hope and a plan for action they can implement.

Once the awareness sets in, the turnaround is quick.

Knowing your numbers, personality, performance, and goals are essential.

They increase awareness and motivation alike. 

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Pancho Mehrotra

Pancho Mehrota is the CEO of Frontier Performance and a recognised leading expert in the area of communication, influence and the psychology of selling.