Sales Effectiveness and The Narcissistic Wound
Sales and The Narcissistic Wound or “Don’t Take it Personally”
Let me start by saying I am not a psychoanalyst, psychotherapist, just a little psycho : ) and interested in what drives human behavior.
So what is a narcissistic wound (my lay definition)?
“A narcissistic wound is a reaction to narcissistic injury (something that occurred growing up), a perceived threat to a narcissist’s (or your personal) self-esteem or self-worth”
It is my theory that most salespeople have some wound to be healed, and it actually drives them to be successful in sales. But, it also raises some of the personal issues they have to deal with in its most virulent form, especially around rejection, lack of recognition and loss.
How does this manifest itself for a salesperson?
- they get upset when somebody doesn’t call or email them back
- not only do they get upset, they obsess about not hearing back or being attended to by others
- a salesperson has little empathy for others and what they are dealing with to explain their non-responsiveness
- a salesperson can become hyper intense about who is or isn’t responding to them and becoming too aggressive in getting what they want, for them to respond
- it can drain their energy into the smaller, more tactical elements of selling vs. being able to maintain a balance of strategy and tactics
- they work very hard to get the self gratification they need
In turn, it can also:
- create a depressed or defeatist attitude so a salesperson gives up
- create very high and low mood swings based upon how well or poorly they are doing since their whole identity is based on their sales performance
Basically, a narcissistic wound can run your life if you aren’t aware of it. It can be the reason you are in sales, the reason you succeed (your competitive need to win to bring yourself a sense of safety). It can also be the reason you might suffer because so much of your feeling of self worth and safety is tied up in how well you perform.
I am not saying that what drives a salesperson is solely because of this, but it is interesting to examine.
References: Salman Akhtar, Comprehensive dictionary of Psychoanalysis, London 2009
International Dictionary of Psychoanalysis by A. de Mijolla, Macmillan, 2005