Ego, Freud, and Sales

I’m just going to be honest. Episode 15 frustrated me. 

And then I loved it. It was a bit of a rollercoaster.

Al was trying to teach the other Sales Throwdown members about what ego is from a technical, psychoanalytical viewpoint. And I just don’t think they ever really got a clear picture of what he was talking about.

Now, I’m not saying I’m an expert. I took some psychology classes a while ago, (okay, a loooooong while ago), but only the ‘intro to’ ones. So don’t ask me for all the details. But I know the basics about id, ego, and superego. And I can talk basics about the big names in psychology.

I also know that when the average person talks about somebody having an ego, they’re not talking about their sense of self in the world around them. They’re talking about an abundance of confidence, cockiness, and self importance. 

So, in my opinion, too much of this episode is dedicated to semantics. 

But I still LOVE the idea of talking about ego in sales. And I enjoyed this episode for three specific reasons. 

One: If you ask me who I picture when I think of “salesman,” I think of the overly confident, smooth talking, ego-driven guy who’s going to push me into buying things I don’t need. Rationally, I know that’s not the truth. But through years of TV and movies, advertisements, and the historical and cultural stigma of sales, that’s my knee-jerk reaction. 

So I think talking about having a healthy ego in sales is very important. 

And I think that stigma needs to be destroyed. Not only does it make people distrustful of salespeople, it alienates potentially great salespeople from pursuing that line of work because they don’t “fit that mold.”

Two: This episode so perfectly illustrates how people get stuck in a thought process. Earlier in the episode, they bring up divisions in politics and things like that, and how no matter what people say or do, you’re going to stick with your side. The definition of what ego is is unchangeable here to Clint, Nan, and John. They’ve believed it meant one thing their whole life, (and they’re not even wrong, that is one definition of it), that when Al tries to teach them about the psychological meaning, they can’t wrap their heads around it. They still creep back into 

< ego = cocky >. 

Three: These four people are not perfect. They’re successful, and they’re really good at sales, but they’re not perfect. They don’t know everything. And that’s GREAT! It makes what they have to say even more important because it proves what they are always saying: they are still learning, too. And that should never stop! Also, I can promise you, it is very uncomfortable for John to admit he doesn’t know or understand something. He really likes being right, and he really likes knowing everything. So, for that reason alone, this might be my favorite episode. 

So, love it or hate it, this episode is an interesting rollercoaster of a discussion. More than anything, it reminds me that we could all stand to learn a little more about psychology.

Also, I could use a bit of an ego build up. Especially going into a sales/self promotion role. 

It will be hard for me not to have some serious imposter syndrome. My ego has been so crushed by years of servitude to the retail industry that I shudder to even think about being my own boss or proving my authority so that people will give me money to help them. 

So yeah, the topic of ego is really important. And I’m glad the Sales Throwdown team didn’t shy away from it, even if they couldn’t exactly get the definition straight…

Discussing that which shall not be discussed

So, having my first real, not purely personal blog post be about the subject that I am least excited about feels kind of weird.

But since we all need to be able to talk about it, and I am slowly but surely learning how to talk about it better, here we go.

In episode 12, the Sales Throwdown team discussed money. Specifically, how to talk about money with clients.

(If you missed it, listen here.)

I’m guessing that I’m no different than the majority of people in America. I was raised to NEVER talk about money. I’m thirty-bleep years old, my dad has been gone for over 12 years now, and I can still, with perfect clarity, hear him tell me to never, ever talk about money.

“Talk about whatever else is on your mind. (Especially since he loved picking fights, or, as he called it, “debating.”) But never talk about money. It’s rude.”

Thanks, dad.

My parents almost lost their house and their marriage because they didn’t talk about money.

John and I don’t fight much, but when we do, it’s usually because I didn’t want to talk about money.

I consider myself extremely frugal, but John likes to say that I have really short arms. Or, when he’s feeling not as cute, that I’m just plain cheap.

He’s not wrong.

The truth is, I feel really uncomfortable discussing money, even if there are no current issues or barriers around it. I just have so much trouble talking about it.

But here’s the thing.

No relationship is benefited by not talking about it. It doesn’t matter what kind of relationship it is; personal, business, etc. If money is or may someday be involved, you have to talk about it.

The gang talks about asking what a client’s budget is and how it’s not always about numbers. While everybody wants to know what things are going to cost them, they’re not as eager to share how much they have or are willing to spend. And I get it.

I grew up fairly poor. My parents grew up dirt poor. My dad would haggle over absolutely anything. Yes, there were more than a few embarrassing moments in public with him. But if a salesperson had ever asked him how much he had to spend on something, my dad would have just turned and walked away.

So you definitely have to know how to approach the question.

And it makes a difference.

John uses some of the approaches he talks about during the episode on me. Because I’m used to it, sometimes it just infuriates me. But if I’m seriously considering something that I’m scared to spend the money on, these questions make a huge difference.

How much is the problem costing you?
How much would the solution help you?
Is that amount of money worth not having this problem any more?

When I’m not in eyeroll mode, this kind of questioning helps a lot. It gives me time to think it through rather than dwell on the reality of a lighter wallet. And then I spend it easier.

Someday soon, I’ll have to start asking my own potential clients about their budget, and of all the things that terrify me about going out on my own, this is probably one of the biggest ones. I have a lifetime’s worth of useless junk in my brain around the concept of money.

I think this episode only cracks the surface of all the intricacies of discussing money and budget, but it’s a great start! And I look forward to hearing them dive even deeper into it in the future.

Let me know what you think, and if you have any questions, please reach out to one of us. You can get in touch with us from our contact page. We’re all in this together!

Until next time!