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…

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