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Sales – Getting headspun, and smiling through gritted teeth

Deny it or not, you’re in sales

BiohazardIn a tough economy, the tough get going and the weak get run over like a Mac truck, but not by those that are succeeding, but by the others. You know the others… the others are the others suffering from the same virus we know as the tough economy.

We used to called it ‘headspun’ in sales, which is the act of a winner standing next to a bunch of failures and very quickly becoming a failure, why?  Because the tough economy is a virus that spreads through bullpens around the world in a flash- you never even see it coming, that moment that someone’s anxiety lands on the tracks in front of you like a Mac truck, and guess what?  You’re headspun. The symptoms are deadly without treatment.  Seriously, it can kill marriages, and I’m pretty sure the virus lead people out of windows during the great depression.  Hopelessness and despair are killers, ask anyone in mental health.

You cannot sell through gritted teeth

Symptoms may vary, but be on the lookout for the feeling of selling through gritted teeth– you know, the act of smiling at a potential client or one you’re counting on to close while thinking about the mortgage, your spouse, the bills, the kids, and those pesky month-to-month utilities that get skipped to pay Paul that are suddenly in danger of being disconnected. Suddenly you’re questioning the meaning of life, contemplating running as fast as you can to the nearest McDonaldLand application – “mas hamburguesa por favor.” All while, you’re looking into the eyes of someone who is seeking affirmation and decisive answers in critical momentswho are you kidding, this deal ain’t closing either, and you’re the last person who should be giving advice you yourself may no longer believe.

But what happened? You were winnning, right?

You were until you stayed around negativity for too long. You see, these are the people who carry the virus, these are the people that are angry, and just being near you with their words tainted by anger puts you at risk of catching the virus. You can see them coming a mile away, they frown through the front door, they answer the phone with a frown, and they’re standing around the water cooler pimping all of the latest reasons why you’re about to fail. The economy blows, my closings aren’t closing, my clients are falling off, I can’t get a listing call, all my phone duty time seems to deliver more bad credit calls and short sale horror stories, and you see the desperation in their eyes- these people are contagious, they’re headspun.

You cannot sell or smile through gritted teeth.

The cure is very simple.

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You need to get back to winning. You’re in the career you’re in because you like to win (each and every battle is a scar and a win, it’s what you do), this is the trait of a great salesman. Winners control their situations, winners make spot decisions that kill two fires with one smile, winners make immediate plans to short term goals that lead to longer term success – yes, the cure is one win at a time.

Making sure you and others don’t catch it on the other hand…

Brokers should send non-producing and headspun agents home.  These people should be nowhere near your winners or yourself for that matter – they’ll figure it out.

Everyone else?

That’s easy; do what you do, stay clear of the office, and stay away from failures. Surround yourself with success, because successful people inspire winners, and winners are rarely watching or caring about the news because they’re busy writing their own headlines.

If you’re one of the headspun that’s been sent home, or has sent yourself home – it’s time for a break, turn off the phone, find someone you love or enjoy, and find the spark in yourself, even if it takes a weekend or a month. It’s from that single spark that winners are reborn every single day, sparks become fire, and hunger to feed the fire feeds the desire to win.

I’ve been there, all of the best have been there, and if you find yourself needing advice or inspiration, call the best and tell them that you’re headspun.  If they’re true salesmen, they’ll know the term, and that kick in the ass you get might just be the best advice you’ll ever hear, just like I once heard, “boy, Benn, you’re headspun.  You damn sure ain’t going to sell anything smiling through those gritted teeth.” – Thanks, Lynn.

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Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network. Before AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation has received the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular offline events. He does not venture into the spotlight often, rather he believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits and develops, so he gives all credit to those he's empowered.



  1. Ken Brand

    April 1, 2010 at 8:27 am

    Yes, thanks for the reminder, we gotta keep our eyes peeled for Emotional and Attitudinal Rip Tides. Thanks.

    • Benn Rosales

      April 1, 2010 at 10:49 am

      I was 18 when I got that mini-lecture with a smile…

  2. Matthew Hardy

    April 1, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Egggggselllent! 🙂

  3. Missy

    April 2, 2010 at 9:38 am

    We are who we hang with. IRL and on Social Media sites.

    Everyone MUST recharge their batteries by unplugging. Just forward your cell phone to a team member of co-worker. Exchange the time.

    Yep we have all been there. One gal in my office (which I am rarely there) stops by to tell me everyday how much she hates the business, the banks, the buyers.

    My advice, move on.

    • Benn Rosales

      April 5, 2010 at 9:58 am

      I know that gal, you say one word of encouragement, and you hear, no or but, or they just tune you out – time to run….

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