Subconscious fear hobbles salespeople more than anything else — but it’s easy to change from being timid and reactive to being bold and proactive, Alex Goldfayn, CEO of The Revenue Consultancy, whose clients include Amazon and Sprint, tells ThinkAdvisor in an interview.
The market strategist’s newest book is “Selling Boldly: Applying the New Science of Positive Psychology to Dramatically Increase Your Confidence, Happiness, and Sales” (Wiley-April 2018), a Wall Street Journal bestseller its first week published (week ended April 8).
Using the principles of positive psychology, which home in on honing one’s strengths as the path to success, Goldfayn argues that advisors can overcome destructive fear and hence grow financial services sales.
But, he urges, don’t focus on products and services — focus on value and the client relationship.
The top thinker in the field of positive psychology is said to be University of Pennsylvania professor Martin E.P. Seligman, director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center and author of “Learned Optimism” (1991). As a clinical psychology student in undergrad and grad school, Goldfayn, now 41, studied his pioneering work.
In the interview, the sales motivator discusses how to make the productive shift from “default brain activity” to “focused brain activity,” one of the many growth techniques he recommends. Sales of Goldfayn’s clients who follow his approaches grow by 10%-20% annually, he says.
ThinkAdvisor recently interviewed the popular keynoter, on the phone from his Lake Forest, Illinois, office. He puts his own twist on the power of positive thinking by, for one, touting the power of client testimonials: “Marinate in the positivity of your happy customers so that you know how good you are, and then behave accordingly.”
Here are highlights of our interview:
THINKADVISOR: What is “positive psychology?”
ALEX GOLDFAYN: The study of what makes us successful, as opposed to the rest of psychology, which is the study of what makes us screwed up, depressed and anxious. That’s the study of what’s wrong. Positive psychology is the study of what has to be right so that we can be successful. This is a powerful shift.
What does psychology professor Martin Seligman, the so-called father of positive psychology, espouse?
He said that we can literally decide to be optimistic. For example, if you pick up the phone to call a client and think you’re going to have a terrible call, you’ll be correct. But if you think you’re going to have a wonderful, helpful conversation, there’s a really good chance you’ll also be right.
What else is key to the concepts of positive psychology?
Seligman said that perseverance and resilience are twice as important to success as talent — that not giving up is two-thirds of the equation.
Your book is titled “Selling Boldly.” What does boldness mean if you’re a financial advisor?
Asking for business every time you talk to a prospect, asking for referrals — and doing that proudly and confidently, not timidly and meekly. Bold means picking up the phone instead of sending an email.
You say that fear impedes sales growth. What fears might a financial advisor have?
One big one could be that a client they’ve had for 20 years is going to leave them. We don’t know that such fears are dominating our thinking and behavior. That happens automatically with lightning speed. The fears aren’t experienced because they’re subconscious. We aren’t in control of them — they’re in control of us.
What’s the mindset shift you say one needs to overcome fear, and why must that occur before you can change behavior?
It’s very difficult to make permanent behavioral change without first changing your thinking. Behaving the right way means communicating with your customers and prospects more. To do that, we need to be confident instead of fearful and optimistic instead of pessimistic. But we must work on thinking first and then on the action.
Please explain the concept of focused-brain activity versus default-brain activity.
The default brain is the stuff we do that comes automatically, like that fear we just talked about. It’s living reactively from one workday to the next. For example, with default-brain selling, or reactive selling, people simply phone us, and we address the issue.