Should A Sales Person Always Trust Their Hunches?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

question instead headJohn Adair tells a story about Conrad Hilton, the Hotel magnate, who was once trying to buy a Chicago Hotel.

The deadline was looming for the sealed bids to be placed and Hilton submitted a bid for $165,000.

He went to bed that night feeling vaguely uncomfortable with that bid, even though the maths seemed right. He woke the next morning with the feeling that the bid wasn’t really high enough.

His subconscious kept coming back to a figure of $180,000. Hilton said ‘The figure felt right, and satisfied me. It seemed fair and correct.

On that subconscious hunch, I changed my bid. When the envelopes were opened, the closest bid to mine was $179,000’.

Can you think of similar situations where your ‘subconscious hunch’ turned out to be correct?

It’s interesting that our subconscious plays such a role in our everyday lives. It seems that we are driven by hunches on many occasions. In sales, it may hit us when we wonder if the decision to say something in a meeting is correct or not. We go with our instinct and often find it’s the best decision.

Questions we can ask ourselves include:

  • Do I trust my hunches enough to lead me in the correct direction?
  • Do you often choose to ‘sleep on it’ before making decisions that may affect the outcome of a sale or something really important?
  • Have you woken up in the morning to find your subconscious has come up with an answer that you had been mulling over for some time?
  • Do you often see your mind like a computer, with garbage-in-garbage-out being the way you are programmed?
  • Do you often wish you had a pocket recorder to hand to capture those fleeting half-formed ideas?
  • Do you sometimes see or hear others’ opinions and identify they are making decisions based on hunches and they turn out to be correct?

The strange thing about our subconscious is that it works without our conscious knowledge, in the background, searching out answers for us without our asking it and without us trying.

It will seek answers to any question you ask it. If you ask ‘why can’t I close more sales?’ it will answer you honestly and truthfully, without you having to plan or think it through logically.

The problem is we sometimes don’t like the answers we get. If your subconscious answers the above question with ‘Because you don’t follow through enough and you allow other things to detract you!’ you often feel pretty blasé about that and try to put it to one side.

The unfortunate thing about this is that the subconscious will drive your motivation, your decision-making and your future planning, and if it makes you feel down about yourself, you won’t try as hard because you realise you won’t succeed anyway.

So, you need to work on this deep side of your mind so that it supports rather than detracts you. Knowing the power of your subconscious may well help you achieve the right results from your hunches, rather than think your goals can’t be achieved or keep you from even trying.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Dollarphotoclub

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 28 September, 2015

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