Before looking outwards at our prospects and customers we need to look at ourselves, because each of us is a unique human being with our own desires, challenges and thoughts. To understand how we can communicate, and therefore sell more effectively, we need to understand the human communication process.
Every minute, our unconscious mind absorbs over two million pieces of information through our senses. We are” bombarded” with sights, sounds, smells, tastes and touches. Yet, according to Professor George Miller from Harvard University, we can only process around seven chunks of information consciously at any given moment. That is an awful lot of information that our conscious mind chooses to ignore, or to be more accurate – delete! This means that every individual will process information based on what they are focusing on at that time.
The information that enters our unconscious mind goes through three filters to reach our conscious mind. We delete most of it, because there is no way that our conscious mind could cope with what is held in the unconscious mind. We distort the information, based on our current situation. For example, a child may interpret the ordinary sounds of a central heating system very differently if they are left alone in the house. This is why, sometimes people can completely misinterpret what we are saying to them, they are distorting the information because they are focusing on a different meaning to the one we wanted to convey.
We also generalize information. For example, once we have learned what a chair looks like, we can instantly identify other chairs – even though we haven’t seen every type of chair. We can generalize the way most doors are opened, how most cars are driven and even how to identify when a person is either male or female.
After the information has been filtered into our conscious mind, there are only four things we can do with it inside our head – we make pictures, sounds, we talk to ourselves or we have feelings. The combination of these things creates an emotion that has an effect on our physiology. For example – if we feel embarrassed, we might blush ; if we feel angry, we may tighten up our muscles. Every thought we have affects our body, and the way we move our body affects our thinking. Our mind and body are totally interconnected.
If you observe someone suffering from depression, they are often round shouldered, they look down a lot and many of them will be using a lot of negative self-talk – “Why does this always happen to me?” “I’m useless” “What’s the point?” and so forth.
Contrast this to a person who feels really confident – they stand upright, their shoulders are back and they use eye contact. Because every thought we have affects our body, this means that our emotional state also affects our behaviour, which consequently affects and influences the results we get.
Therefore, if we want to change aspects of our lives, including the way our prospects and customers react to us, first we have to change our own thinking: Attitude is 80% of the success factor in frontline professional selling.
looking inward / shutterstock