Sales Management: The Psychology of Sales Success

04/03/2023by dang tin0

The Psychology of Sales Success

Perhaps the greatest discovery in psychology in the twentieth century was the discovery of the self-concept. It turns out that there is a direct relationship between the self-concept of the salesperson (i.e., what the salesperson thinks, feels, and believes about himself) and the person’s level of sales performance.
People sell effectively to the exact degree to which they consider themselves to be good at selling. Top salespeople not only like to sell, but they consider themselves to be excellent at the profession of selling. As the result of this self-concept, they sell vastly more than those who may doubt themselves and their ability.

Multiple Self-Concepts

People also have a self-concept for how much money they earn. People cannot earn more than 10 percent above or below their self-concept level of income without engaging in compensating behaviors. If they earn 10 percent or more than they feel themselves capable of, they engage in “throwaway actions.” They spend their money on frivolous things, give or gamble it away, and even engage in harmful personal behaviors.
If they earn 10 percent below their self-concept of level of income, they engage in “scrambling” behaviors. They work harder, they put in more hours, they talk to more people, they become more aggressive about earning, and they do everything possible to get their income back up into their self- concept range of income.

Performance Improvement

All improvements in performance on the outside begin with improvements in the self-concept—the way we think and feel about ourselves on the inside.You can have a great influence on your sales team’s performance improvement as the sales manager.
One of your main jobs as a sales manager is to do everything possible to boost the salesperson’s self-concept as a top performer. Human beings are inordinately influenced by the authority figures in their environment: their parents, their bosses, and other important people. As a result, you are the most important external influence on self-concept in the salesperson’s life.
There are three parts of the self-concept that you need to be aware of: the self-ideal, self-image, and self-esteem. Everything you do to improve your salespeople’s self-concept in one or more of these areas improves their performance, their sales, and their results.

The Self-Ideal

This is a combined picture or vision of the very best person that the salesperson could possibly be. The self-ideal is made up of the goals, aspirations, and most admired and desired virtues and qualities of the salesperson. The greater clarity that someone has regarding the very best person he or she could possibly be, the faster the person moves toward becoming that person. The self-ideal has an inordinate influence on feelings and behavior.
To raise the self-ideal of salespeople, you encourage them to select the very best people in your industry as their role models or standards. Refer to the top people in your company, department, or even people from other industries and say, “This is the kind of person you can be. If you work hard, learn and practice the right things, and persist, you too can be one of the best people in the business.”


In improving the salesperson’s self-ideal, remember that this individual is greatly influenced by your position as a role model. As a rule, if you want to have better salespeople, you must become a better sales manager.
The quality of your people, your sales team, will usually be a reflection of your personal qualities, characteristics, and abilities. When your salespeople like you, respect you, and admire you, they will strive to be more and more like you. Continually ask yourself, “What kind of a company would my company be if everyone in it was just like me?”

The Self-Image

Your self-image determines your performance minute to minute, day to day. This is often called your “inner mirror.” It is what you look into before each upcoming event or situation to see how you are supposed to behave. Your self-image then determines what you do and how you perform.
Your self-image is determined by three factors. The first is the way that you see yourself in comparison to your ideal self. The more you feel that you are performing at your best—that is, as the best salesperson you could possibly be—the more positive your self-image will be, the more competent you become, and the more your sales performance improves.


The second component of your self-image is how you think that you are viewed, seen, or talked about by other people. We are inordinately influenced by the opinions other people have of us. When you continually compliment and praise your salespeople, they see themselves as better and more competent, and that is how they perform when they are with a customer.
The third factor that determines self-image is how people think that other people are thinking about them. If a person feels admired and respected, especially by his or her manager, that person will perform well out in the field away from the office.


The good news is that whenever people start a new job, they have an opportunity to develop a new self-image for how they perform at that job. This self-image is determined from the first minute of the first hour by how they are treated by the people in their work environment, especially the boss. When you express welcome, appreciation, and confidence in your new salespeople, they will often amaze you with how good they become and how fast they become sales superstars.

The Self-Esteem

The third part of the self-concept is self-esteem. This is easily the most important part of your personality. It is the control valve on sales performance and is determined by how people feel about themselves, by their emotions.
There seems to be a direct relationship between people’s level of self-esteem, “how much they like themselves,” and

their sales performance. Everything that you do or say to cause people to like and respect themselves more increases their sense of personal value, enthusiasm, and determination when they are in the field dealing with customers.
One of your main jobs as a sales manager is to make people feel important and valuable. Everything that you do or say that makes your people feel more important or more valuable will boost their self-esteem, improve their self-image, and motivate them to perform even better.


Perhaps the most influential factor in raising self-esteem in others and causing them to feel like “winners” is success experiences—that is, actually making sales. Everything that you do to teach, train, manage, and motivate your people to actually make sales, and make more money, causes their self- esteem to go up. And the higher their self-esteem, the more likely it is they will make even more sales.


1. Become a sales psychologist to your people, continually looking for ways to improve their performance by building up their self-concepts and self-esteem.
2. From now on, see yourself as responsible for making your people feel like winners; open every conversation with praise, approval, or encouragement.

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