4 Cognitive Behavioral Tools for Sales Professionals


By Cherie Singer, Strategic Solutions Ambassador at Heinz Marketing

As a former psychotherapist, my eclectic background has often served as another lens in the business world. The modality I used back in the day with therapy clients was largely cognitive-behaviorally oriented (CBT), as well as Psychodynamic – examining the underlying cause of issues.  

Interestingly, in business a similar framework seems to fit pretty darned well. After all – we’re maneuvering complex relationships, dealing with our own and our customers’ emotional feelings (when reputation and money’s involved particularly), sometimes get stuck in bad patterns, and have a past business and personal life that plays into all of it. 

To help understand and address thoughts, emotions and behaviors that impact your sales abilities, following are a few cognitive-behavioral techniques you might consider: 

  1. Cognitive restructuring/reframing: Using the 3C’s: Catch it, Check it, Change it can help you zero in on and combat negative thoughts that could be interfering with your sales process. Whether it’s a lack of confidence in your abilities or a pessimistic outlook due to external factors, this exercise can help. The goal is to replace the unhelpful and often distorted thoughts with a more balanced outlook. For instance, “I’m going to fail because the economy is so challenging” could be swapped for, “The economy is tough yes, but I know I have the skills based on my previous successes. I also know that economic conditions will change and in previous economic downturns I remember that the smarter I worked, the better I set myself up for when things turned around.” 
  2. Mindfulness: Staying in the moment when meeting with prospects, rather than letting your mind wander or worrying about what you need to do or say next can help you in a number of ways. It allows you to actively listen to your potential client, connect with them more fully, and better understand their needs. At the same time, it brings your level of stress down and helps you be more effective throughout the process. 
  3. Activity scheduling/behavior activation/successive approximation: We can all tend to put things off that we need to do because they’re onerous, or maybe there’s anxiety around accomplishing them. This may sound ridiculously simple, but just getting the task down on the calendar can be enough to activate the behavior. Breaking some of these tasks into more bite-sized components can also help give you confidence that you’ve accomplished something and, with that, can build momentum towards completing the larger task at-hand. 
  4. Business Journaling can help you identify the root causes, replace dysfunctional thinking, brainstorm solutions, become better goal-oriented, and ultimately replace limiting and dysfunctional behaviors and beliefs with constructive ones. 

Let’s face it, there’s a lot more behind all of our thinking and behaviors – including those in the business realm. Feelings of inadequacy (imposter syndrome), feeling stuck and anxious, and countless other emotions have more power over us when we push them down.  

Which one of these have you tried? or will you try?