Are You Suffering from Battered Salesperson Syndrome?


Battered Salesperson Syndrome (BSS) refers to the psychological stress from being the “victim” of consistent and perceived emotional abuse associated with prospecting and customer rejection. This coupled with poor performance as it relates to activity, quota or budget causes the sales rep to lose confidence in their capabilities and begins the vicious cycle of sales rep burnout usually resulting in resignation or termination.

Let’s face it, sales as a profession is not for the faint of heart. When Battered Salesperson Syndrome manifests itself, the following symptoms are usually present:

1. The salesperson is not performing relative to quota or budget

2. The salesperson begins rationalizing poor performance through socially accepted excuses:

  • “I would be successful if our prices were lower”

  • “I would be successful if someone would train me”

  • “I would be successful if I worked for a different company”

3. The salesperson finds themselves selling more on price/bill rate through deeper discounts and yet, continues to lose opportunities on “price.” And now they are in a freefall!

How do you combat BSS? It starts with a basic understanding of sales as a profession:

1. In Sales, You Are Never Psychologically Safe

  • You often face rejection and resistance to your ideas

  • Any customer/prospect can turn you down

  • A long-term contract may be cancelled

2. In Sales, You Must Develop Psychological Stamina

  • You must conquer distractions and interruptions

  • You must persist until you get a commitment

3. In Sales, You Have No Place to Hide

  • All of your successes and failures are out in the open for all to see

  • The quota board does not lie

  • Pats on the back are few and far between when you fail¹

Next, adopt The Four Cornerstones of Success®--Attitude, Personal Accountability, Perseverance and Habit as a foundation for everything you do.

Attitude: Try and find the positives in every situation. You lost the deal, but you made a new contact. Leverage that positive thought.

Personal Accountability: The odds are overwhelming that the sale was not lost on price. That’s what buyers tell sales people. Fact is: You were outsold. There I said it. Another salesperson wrapped a little more overall value around their offering in the eyes of the buyer. Learn to say this when you lose a deal: “I was outsold…and these are the adjustments I am going to make going forward.”

Perseverance: Nothing worth winning ever comes easy. You must persist by learning from your mistakes, investing in your own personal development and actually make the necessary adjustments Work on your weaknesses. Role-practice with a teammate or your manager.

Habit: The difference between the successful sales person and the successful salesperson is this: the successful salesperson is in the habit of doing things the successful salesperson doesn’t do.

And finally, you must move from your operating reality (trying to get orders and being a victim of price) to the customer/prospects operating reality by understanding and helping them solve their problems. This can be done through researching your contact, planning for your sales call, asking effective questioning, actively listening and work to uncover areas of opportunity. Put simply:

If we solve our customers problems...

we’ll solve our own.®

At Butler Street, we specialize in sales training programs that help our customers and their people grow. We teach a very contemporary, yet proven approach to consultative selling and social networking through a system of reinforcing activities. Click CONTACT and let’s discuss your areas of opportunity.

¹Carew, Jack. "You’ll Never Get No for an Answer," 1990.

#fourcornerstones #SAE