Spirituality, religious beliefs, and a sales career can oppose each other and cause internal conflict. One of the people I recently coached had a clash of beliefs when he moved from a customer service job to a role in direct sales. His beliefs about using selling techniques to influence others were holding him back. He built excellent rapport with every prospect he met. His manner was confident, polite, and genuinely friendly. The sales presentations he gave would grab the buyer’s attention and his sincerity and honesty moved people into a buying state.

As I watched him selling I would see a text book sale moved along by his likeable personality. When it got to where I expected him to close the sale there was a sudden stop. Instead of asking for the customer’s agreement to buy the product he would hand them a brochure, his business card, and the product prices, and then agree to contact them in a few days time.

During the coaching sessions I had with him several things came out: He enjoyed his job, meeting people, going to their homes, and presenting the items he was selling. He didn’t see anything wrong with that. It was when he tried to ask for the order and close the sale that his spiritual beliefs took control and caused internal conflict. He couldn’t close the sale, he could only leave the decision to the customer and call them back. While we talked he agreed that there was nothing wrong with the product, it was an honest sale with no negatives or misleading information. On the rare occasion when a call back to a prospect he had visited gained him a sale he felt positive and glad they bought from him.

I asked him to sit back, and run through a sales appointment we had just come out of in his mind and tell me what he saw. As he relived the sales appointment he told me what he experienced. The pictures he saw internally were up and to the left in his mind’s eye. He saw the internal replay through his own eyes. The pictures were brightly coloured and well defined.

When he got to the point where he should ask for the sale things changed. He now saw the sales appointment as an onlooker, disassociated from himself in the pictures. The colors he saw darkened. Edges became blurred, and the whole vision became smaller. This is where he saw himself as a salesman. There was probably something in his past that had built up these negative beliefs about sales people that conflicted with his spiritual upbringing. But I wasn’t interested in spending hours of deep searching into his past, I wanted a quick fix that would benefit both of us.

I asked him to go back into his internal replay of the recent sales appointment. This time we controlled the colors he saw, and how he viewed the pictures. In the replay we changed his title away from salesman and back to a customer service representative. In the new internal video we got him to ask, very politely, for the order and had the customer agreeing to the sale. Then we let this new video run on and he told me what he saw as the product was delivered, and the family got the benefits of the sale. Using language techniques I phrased questions in a way that got him to talk about how he had helped the customer rather than sold to them.

Several more times we played the new internal video until he was comfortable with this new image. Each time making the replay stronger, brighter, and seen through his eyes. Then we discussed his new identity, the new self image he had. By asking good questions I got him to tell me how this new image was aligned with his spiritual beliefs and religious practices. Instead of conflict we now had these two important areas of his life supporting each other.

He still doesn’t call himself a salesman, but that’s okay. His sales results are great, he still makes use of that genuine sincerity in his personality, and he is making a lot more money, some of which he contributes to his church. This simple exercise in changing the internal pictures he saw, and the associated feelings that accompanied them, have given him a new self image of his role at work.

It wasn’t the role of salesman that conflicted with his spirituality, but the way he saw that role. He didn’t need any deep emotional therapy to look at where his beliefs about sales and selling came from, just a new way of looking at his actions in a new light.

Author's Bio: 

Hi, I’m Stephen Craine, a working sales manager and trainer for a major company. I believe in ethical and honest sales practices, no smoke and mirrors, and no bullying or manipulation techniques. I hope this comes through in the sales training I present where I use a sales process that works with the customer from the very first sales introduction through to the close of the sale.

If you would like to see more on sales training, free training and information, the sales process I use with my successful teams, and new ideas and viewpoints on selling techniques that focus on a win / win outcome rather than fancy sales closes and linguistic trickery, feel free to visit my Sales-Training-Sales-Tips website.