EXPERIENCED sales professionals understand the importance of a streamlined sales process. This series of predetermined customer-focused steps enables sales professionals to measurably increase the win rates, increase revenue production and build customer retention.

However, the missing link to each step detailed in such streamlined sales processes is that the customer is an individual, and so is the sales professional.

Psychotherapy reminds us that every individual has his own feelings, beliefs, values and interpretations of sensory meaning. What if a customer goes off the path of predictable resistance to a sale?

What happens is that we have PET (primary emotional theory) responses at play — and these often clash between the customer and the sales professional.

The International Resilience Institute Sydney tells us that we are all born with a PET; this is a default emotion that shapes how we think whenever we experience new events, products or activities. Typically, these emotions are one of the four common adverse emotions: anger, frustration, anxiety and sadness.

The concept of a PET response teaches us that whenever we confront adversity we develop a mindset that is emotionally familiar to us, a favoured or preferred emotion.

In other words, it suggests that someone whose PET emotional response is anger will react accordingly when he feels unsure about something, such as the purchase of a new product. This is because he is experiencing the process through an angry brain.

As a result, his decision is clouded and his responses are emotional. This poses a challenge for most sales professionals because, typically, sales processes are logical processes.

At its core, the selling process involves basic emotions: buyers feel either happy or upset when making a purchasing decision, and sales professionals feel either confident or self-conscious.

Knowing this, how do you, as a sales professional, pursue a logical process while confronting the various emotions of the customer?

The first step is to understand emotions and then how to manage them. Managing emotions is a complex process but it is all starts with you.

* Recognise the experience as an emotional response. When you become emotional about an action or words that are spoken, identify the emotion you feel.

* Learn how to express emotion in a safe way and describe it as clearly as you can.

* Try to understand it objectively. Impartially consider the emotion, its purpose, and what it makes you feel.

* Control it. If the emotion is appropriate, act on it. If not, modify your response or ignore it.

Research into the success rates of different sales professionals has found that salesmen who are positive, happy and who perceive the best in situations, combined with low levels of anger and negativity, consistently obtain the highest performance levels.

Sales agents for L’Oreal who had been selected on emotional competencies significantly outsold those not chosen in the parameters of the same emotional competencies. On an annual basis, those selected on the grounds of emotional hardiness sold $91,370 more than other salesmen. This gave L’Oreal a net revenue increase of $2,558,360.

A study sponsored by the American Management Association found that professionals who undertook training or coaching to better understand how their emotions affected their responses at work gained not only personally but financially as well.

Participants reported that they became more imaginative about how to bridge the gap between their needs and those of their company and co-workers. They felt no longer overcome with panic, anger and detachment. They also reported feeling more self-confident, as they thought through all the changes that were taking place and how better to serve their clients.