SPIRITUAL PRACTICES 2Everybody has heard negative mental chatter about sales:

* “It’s too hard, and I want to lie down.”
* “They don’t want to buy, and I don’t know how to make them.”
* “I don’t want to be sleazy or manipulative.”
* “My cousin doesn’t have to do this, and I shouldn’t have to do it either!”
* “There’s a secret to selling, and I don’t know it.”
* “I was made for better things! Get me out of here!”

This isn’t even the tip of the iceberg, but you get the picture.

The first step to conquering negative mental chatter about selling is to understand it. Mental chatter works like this:

1. It is the mind’s job to generate thoughts, so mental chatter is here to stay. No matter what we do, or how much we want to get rid of it, mental chatter will never go away. The mind simply will not stop generating thoughts. Some thoughts are positive, some are neutral, and some are negative. The good news is…

2. We have choices. We don’t have to run blindly after every fear or objection that our minds toss up. We can stand back, observe these negative thoughts, and instead give our attention and energy to thoughts that serve us.

3. Mental chatter is mostly about avoiding pain. When I write down all the negative mental chatter that passes through my mind over a fifteen-minute period (and I am always amazed at how much this is), I see that most of it is fear-based. It is about defending and protecting myself from imagined physical, mental, or psychological pain.

4. Mental chatter hates change. It doesn’t want us to do anything differently from how we have done it before. After all, we’ve survived whatever has happened up to now. Any change is a risk. Mental chatter sees new ways of thinking and behaving simply as opportunities for pain, and as threats to survival. It doesn’t want us to rock the boat, and will always argue for the status quo. Mental chatter is always loudest in the face of change.

5. Mental chatter hates getting specific. Getting specific is also a risk. If we never put anything on the line by saying, for instance, “I will have two new clients by the end of the week,” then we never fail. Failure is pain, and mental chatter will do anything to avoid pain.

6. The old strategies don’t work. If we try to pretend mental chatter isn’t there, it goes underground and festers—only to reappear at the most inopportune moments. If we try to beat it into submission, we just feed it energy. It gets bigger and stronger. If we try to banish it forever, we fail and get frustrated. Even the greatest spiritual and selling masters have mental chatter. They just know how to keep it in perspective, so that it doesn’t get in their way.

7. The key to mastering mental chatter is to develop a new relationship with it. Since it isn’t going anywhere, and neither are we, we need to find some neutral ground. We need a place where we can co-exist with mental chatter and stay out of each other’s way.

These strategies are the foundation for a new relationship with mental chatter. They give you a way to contain mental chatter, so that it doesn’t cause trouble:

  1. Identify the chatter. Write it down. Name it. Get it outside of yourself so that you can observe it. Don’t let it run around loose inside your mind, where it can get its hands on the controls. When mental chatter is an object of observation, it is not you. It is no longer running the show. You can look at it, poke at it, and examine it. It can’t push you around.
  2. Check to see if what it says is true. Sometimes mental chatter has important warnings. “Stop! Don’t walk into that street without checking both ways!” “Stop! That deal sounds too good to be true. Better have somebody check it.” These warnings have an entirely different tone and energy from, “Listen, you’re just asking for trouble if you make a sales promise or pick up the phone.” When you get the mental chatter down on paper, it’s easier to tell when you need to listen and when you don’t.
  3. Recognize it for what it is—mental chatter, not reality. Most of the time, mental chatter has little or nothing to do with what is actually happening. Even when it looks and sounds like it knows what it’s talking about, mental chatter specializes in interpretations and opinions, rather than in objective analysis.
  4. Let it be, without giving it much attention. Don’t try to get rid of it or beat it into submission. Let it run around and around on its hamster wheel as long as it wants, but don’t let it dictate what you do, or don’t do. Recognize it, nod to it, and then look away.
  5. Switch channels to something more interesting. Shift your attention to something positive—your sales results, the fun you will have getting them, even positive thoughts that have nothing to do with sales.

As you work your way through the six steps of the Soul of Selling, you will see these principles and strategies in action.

Mastering mental chatter can transform not only the way we sell, but also the way we live our lives.

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