Understanding and Overcoming the Need for Approval

***We asked our summer intern, Noah Cralle, to create a blog entry based on what he had learned over his initial seven weeks at Kash Development Corp.  He has experienced sales coaching sessions, sales team meetings, and interviews – and he sees the hidden weakness “Need for Approval” in many sales people. Below are his written findings***

Understanding and Overcoming the Need for Approval

When thinking about our lives from an early age, it is no surprise why the need for approval appears in so many sales people. Many of us were taught at a young age to make as many friends as possible, get along with others, avoid confrontation, and to be polite or ask for permission. We are even taught to bite our tongue if what we have to say may offend or make the other person uncomfortable. It is no wonder why this is a common trait in the sales industry. 

It is a very common myth among sales people that the primary reason people buy is because the customer likes the sales person. While people do buy from people they like, the need to be liked causes many problems to arise. It becomes apparent that their need to be liked outweighs their need to get the sale.

But why do people have this need? People who have the need for approval are generally those who:

  • Have low self-esteem
  • Believe “No” is a bad thing
  • Have dependent personalities
  • Felt they were “misfits” growing up
  • Have limiting beliefs
  • Are excuse-makers
  • Are “people pleasers”
  • Were raised with the idea that this is the most important aspect to selling

No matter what the reason is behind the individual’s need for approval, it handicaps them from reaching his or her true potential. When there is a strong need for approval, it often causes the sales person to avoid asking any “tough” questions and keeps them from finding out the necessary information. A recent study conducted by The Objective Management Group, explains how the second most powerful and most common weakness found in sales people is their need for approval. They go on to say that sales people “will avoid saying or doing those things which, in his/her mind, would change how the prospect feels about him/her.” Many of these sales people that suffer from this DO NOT ask the right questions and won’t challenge the potential customer when appropriate. While it is a good thing to go to the extra mile for your clients, giving too much turns you from being flexible into being a sucker.


How to Start Overcoming the Need for Approval

Below are some steps I learned as an Intern at Kash Development that will help you fight the need for approval.

  1. Identify and eliminate the limiting belief that the approval of others is necessary for you to feel good about yourself
  2. Identify your fear of: rejection, neglect, abandonment, disapproval, and look for origins of these fears. Identify rational means to desensitize yourself.
  3. Develop an inventory of positive attributes you possess. You can also ask others to assist you.
  4. Develop a list of positive affirmation self-talk scripts, you can use to affirm yourself on a regular basis.
  5. Reflect on your feelings about conflict events. Use positive assertiveness to maintain your position and protect your rights.
  6. Ask yourself the question: “What do I gain if I agree and please everyone in my life and never take a stand on my beliefs/feelings?”
  7. Repeat these steps as necessary.

Understand the negative impact the need for approval has on your sales progress. It hinders your progress and drastically lowers your chances of closing a sale.

In just seven weeks, I have already learned and realized that the goal is not necessarily to be liked, but to be respected.

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