Salespeople Need More Ego, Not Less

Yes, you read that right. Before you disagree, hear me out here. Salespeople need to be selling with more ego, not less, so that they can build better relationships with prospects and customers.

First off, what does “ego” really mean and how does it affect you?

Ego is not about having a big personality or being pushy; ego is a person’s sense of self-esteem. You act far more kindly when you feel that you have value, and you’re also more attuned to what others want. It makes you listen and engage in a way that’s respectful and productive, and if you disagree, you do it politely.

But when people lack self-esteem and have low egos, they behave poorly. This becomes a big factor of the customer experience during a sales cycle, not to mention your working relationships with your coworkers and manager. But if you’re confident, then you become easier to work with, give straight answers, and are much more efficient.

Here are three common examples of how salespeople with low egos act, and how the situation changes when they have a healthy, high ego:

1. Low-ego salespeople interpret your questions as criticisms.

Because salespeople with low egos are on edge, they can often feel cornered when they’re not. In an effort to anticipate any objections they’re likely to face, they pounce quickly, even when it’s not really an objection. This is the result of their training going haywire, and only a salesperson with high ego knows how to relax and hear a prospect out without jumping to conclusions.

Scenario 1: Low Ego

Prospect: How much does your solution cost?

Salesperson: Look, I know that our competitors probably told you that we’re more expensive, but I want you to know that they’re misleading you. We’re totally affordable.

Prospect: Okay…so how much is it?

Scenario 2: Healthy Ego

Prospect: How much does your solution cost?

Salesperson: That’s a great question. Is price a large factor in your evaluation?

Prospect: No, I was just looking to get a ballpark.

Salesperson: Great, it’s $X amount.

2. Low-ego salespeople never give you a straight answer.

Salespeople are always looking to guide their prospects down a purchase path, but those with low egos often try to find shortcuts to get them there. The worst offense is when you receive a valid concern that needs an answer, either a yes or a no, and you don’t give them a direct one. It’s frustrating for your prospects and ruins your credibility. High-ego salespeople realize that there needs to be a mutual fit for them to get a sale.

Scenario 1: Low Ego

Prospect: But isn’t it true that your system doesn’t do X?

Salesperson: Our solution is totally comprehensive, so that’s not something that you’ll ever have to worry about with us.

Prospect: ….

Scenario 2: Healthy Ego

Prospect: But isn’t it true that your system doesn’t do X?

Salesperson: Good catch, that’s true. Is that critical to your evaluation?

Prospect: Not to me, but to my boss, yes.

Salesperson: Well, I’ll be honest with you. It’s not a native feature, but we do have technology partners who do that and are well integrated with our platform.

Prospect: Okay, I’m sure that’s fine.

3. Low-ego salespeople over-use industry lingo to the point of being incomprehensible.

They pack their answers with so many buzzwords that it obscures the true meaning. This is sometimes referred to as corporate-speak or “corpuspeak.” These types of salespeople are so worried that they won’t hit the right series of buzzwords that they end up trying them all. But confident salespeople know that bombarding clients with buzzwords makes them harder to understand, so they choose to speak in terms that are easy to digest.

Scenario 1: Low Ego

Prospect: Does this solution solve my problem?

Salesperson: Absolutely, because it’s the most seamless social widget packed with innovative collaboration aspects married with intuitive social trends analytics. No fire-drills necessary.

Scenario 2: Healthy Ego

Prospect: Does this solution solve my problem?

Salesperson: It does. You mentioned that your main objective is to drive more revenue, and our solution drives more quality leads to the salespeople, which results in 24-30% more revenue.

Is this starting to make sense now? The main idea here is that when salespeople aren’t confident, they go through a lot of extra motions that waste time. They’re also prone to seeing any concerns that are raised as a win-lose scenario, not a win-win, so they’ll engage in dishonest behavior and stray from answering a question directly. When they have a healthy ego, that fear of rejection melts away, and they’re able to be authentic and provide a far superior customer experience. So, if you’re looking to improve the buyer’s experience and close more deals, what do you need? More ego.

Let’s get to the heart of this: how does a salesperson develop more ego? What’s the secret recipe?

It’s a combination of all of these things:

  • They have confidence. Salespeople are confident when they have the tools, resources, and knowledge they need and when management believes in them and they believe in their mission. Doubts in any of these areas can quickly cripple their confidence.
  • They work in a strong sales culture. Salespeople need to be in a collaborative, supportive environment that picks them back up when they’re down.
  • They’re rested and ready. Frazzled salespeople have low egos because they’re physically worn out. Don’t let this happen to you or your team.
  • They’re immunized against sales “rejection flu”. Getting over the fear of rejection is a big component of building up a salesperson’s ego. They need to learn how to overcome it.
  • They have a well-defined process to follow. Salespeople with low egos are typically nervous and lack a sense of how to close a deal. If you’re in the software industry, take a look at the 7 Steps for SaaS Sales Success infographic or come up with your own version to share with the team.
  • They focus on earning trust. Low ego salespeople are trying to slam-and-cram deals because they don’t believe in the intrinsic value of their product or their own self-worth. Focus on first earning prospect’s trust and everything that follows will be much easier.
  • They empathize with the customer. Have your salespeople shadow calls and think of themselves as customers so that they can see what good and bad sales calls sound like. If they put themselves in the customer’s shoes, they’ll have more confidence about the type of rep that they want to be.

Salespeople thrive in a solid sales environment that supports them, encourages them to do the right thing, and trusts them to be the face of the company. When these factors come together, it boosts their ego and improves the sales process and customer experience dramatically.

What other traits do you think salespeople need? Comment below!