Having an ego is all about wanting to be perceived as the best.
It’s not wanting to outsell every other salesperson and their dog. It’s not wanting to hustle every hour of every day to get that big commission check or land the corner office.
Ego is the inability to listen, act or take direction because of pride.
Wanting to crush your goals and be great at what you do doesn’t have to come at the expense of everyone else. The ego-centric way of getting there is to put yourself on a pedestal and ignore everyone else and their opinions.
But the truth is this:
An unchecked ego can leave a career dead in its tracks.
Let’s break it down.
Why ego can kill your sales
The ego is all about you.
Having your ego stroked makes you and you alone feel smart and important. It’s the ultimate form of personal gratification.
If your ego is front and center in every sales conversation, it means you’re constantly trying to sell in a you-centric environment. Every question is asked, every pain point is addressed and every pitch is delivered with one end goal: getting the sale so you can pat yourself on the back and advance your own career.
Your ego makes you think about you and only you.
Your ego has some major protect-my-image-at-all-costs tendencies.
Your ego will try to make you see every other person as competition.
Here’s the major problem with that: Do you know who else has an ego?
The prospect you’re selling to.
Everything I just said about your ego applies to their ego too. And what happens when you make them feel like they’re only half as smart as you are?
They’ll do everything they can to get rid of you.
How to get out of your own way
An unchecked ego can kill your sales results fast.
The good news is, you can learn how to check your ego at the door in sales.
Here are a few of the common ego-based mistakes I’ve seen through the years and some of my favorite ways to keep them under control:
1. Don’t take every “no” personally
When a prospect says no to what you’re offering, they’re usually saying no to the offer—not to you.
So what should you do with that “no”? Take it as a personal shot at your sales abilities? Assume that the prospect thinks you’re a terrible person?
Own it and learn from it.
What led them to say no?
How can you improve your pitch to get the “yes”?
The bottom line is this:
Don’t take every “no” personally and don’t get discouraged when you don’t close every single prospect. Every “no” you get is another opportunity to learn.
2. Don’t get defensive when selling
Let me lay out a scenario for you:
You’re on the phone with a prospect, and you just gave a great pitch. It’s the same pitch you’ve delivered hundreds of times before (and gotten results with), and you’re just waiting for them to say yes.
…and then they give you a big fat ‘not right now’ or they hang up on you.
When you dig up the why behind their ‘not right now‘, you learn that your well-rehearsed pitch didn’t resonate as well as you expected—they found you annoying and way too persistent.
That’s a big shot to the ego.
What’s your natural reaction?
Easy—it’s time to defend yourself. You need to protect your own credibility and competence, right?
Not so fast.
Taking the self-centered approach and protecting your own ego at all costs will come with exactly that—quite the cost. Go toe to toe with your prospect and that sale is as good as gone.
Check your ego at the door from the start.
Just because your pitch didn’t resonate or the prospect isn’t ready to buy doesn’t always mean you did something wrong and they’re taking a personal shot at you by saying no.
After the fact, try to figure out what went wrong along the way. What led to the no? What can you switch up the next time? The key is to learn from the no’s and don’t immediately assume it’s just the prospect not “getting it” during your pitch.
3. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else
Your ego wants you to see each and every person you interact with as someone who could potentially be better than you.
Better than you at sales.
Better than you in the industry you’re selling in.
Better than you at pickup basketball.
Better than you at baking or cooking.
And if someone is better than you at something, your first instinct is to dislike them. You want them to get worse at sales, pickup basketball, baking—whatever it is they do well.
Because if they stumble, all of a sudden there’s one less person better than you. And if you can climb the ladder of talent, surely the prospects you’re selling to will take notice.
The truth is, if you only see others as competition or stepping stones in the quest to stroke your own ego, you’ll wind up leaving a sour taste in the mouths of most people you interact with.
You don’t need to compare yourself to the people around you 24/7. And you don’t need to become someone else just because their numbers are looking better than yours at the moment. In sales, authenticity is key.
Instead, focus on how you can learn from your “competition” and even help them grow as well. If a fellow salesperson has been crushing it lately, talk to her about what’s been working so well for her.
But don’t approach the conversation as a way to “unlock her secrets” so you can steal them and leave her in the dust (the ego-centric approach)—come in ready to learn so you can both crush it in the future.
Haters gonna hate
If you let every single negative review and response bring you down, your sales career might not be as long and successful as you’re hoping for.
And if you’re constantly looking over your shoulder at how the next person is doing, you’ll miss opportunities ahead of you.
Don’t let your ego lead the way.
Instead of seeing failure as just that—failure—reprogram your mind to see your losses and no’s as progress. Every time you get knocked down is an opportunity to get better equipped for the next round.