Why Transactional Analysis Can Improve Your Sales

Ttransactional FORthe analysisYOUR) was developed in the 1950s by Dr. Eric Berne. Berne developed this innovative approach to human psychology while working with a patient who was a lawyer. The two were discussing something the lawyer had done, but they regretted it. Berne asked, “Well why did you do it?” The lawyer explained that although part of him had not wanted to do what he had done, “… the child inside me forced me to do it anyway”.

Berne was intrigued. From this conversation, he developed the psychological model that we now know as transactional analysis, or YOUR To abreviate. In this model, Berne theorizes that people have three states of self: the Dad, tea Kid, and the Adult. Let’s look at each of these egos in depth and see how we can use TA to aid in sales.


What Berne labeled as the Dad ego state, acts as an audio recorder. It begins to imprint messages from authority figures in people’s minds at birth and then, when they are about six years old, it shuts down. This ego state includes two halves: the Loving father and the Critical parent. Tea Loving father, for example, it teaches things like, “You can be whatever you want to be”, “You are special” and “You will always get credit for trying.” This is the part of the personality that puts bandages on children’s knees after they fall and gives them chicken soup when they are sick. So, you have the Critical parent. That’s the part of the personality that teaches things like, “Look both ways before crossing the street”, “Don’t talk to strangers”, “Finish all the food on your plate”, and “Do not be late”.

While the Critical parent It could be looking out for a person’s best interests, is concerning, and can prevent the person from stepping out of their comfort zone. A lot of Critical parent The messages were helpful to young people, but they can work against adults, especially those who are in sales. For instance: “Do not talk to strangers”. This makes many of us very reluctant to cold call potential clients we don’t know.


Then there is the Kid ego state, which is also a recorder that turns on at birth and turns off at approximately six years of age. Herein reside all the ever-festering feelings about the archaic. Dad recordings. If you’ve dealt with teenagers, you’ve probably met the Rebellious child state, it takes what the Critical parent he says and flips it upside down. For example, if you told a teenager, “Get home at 10 PM.” The Rebel Boy could force the teenager to come home at 10:05, just because you said 10:00.

Fortunately, the Rebellious child you are not alone. Other aspects of Kid include the Natural child, the fun part of the personality that likes cars, jewelry, vacations and funny stories. Then you have the Adaptive child, who longs to please the Dad recordings, and is always seeking approval. Finally, you have the Little teacher. This is the part of the personality that drives people to educate and enlighten others. This ego state appears on a sales call when the salesperson begins listing features and benefits.

In essence, the Kid Is it that little six-year-old at all who is constantly, or at least regularly, trying to “be okay”.

You can see this desire express itself in many different ways. Maybe you Natural child tell a funny story on a sales call, or maybe your Adaptive child It comes out when you try to please the prospect by giving them a no-obligation quote for a decision. Believe it or not, you can even express your need to feel good through your Rebellious child. I once heard about a salesperson who was late for a sales call. When the potential customer asked, “How did you get here?”, the salesman, who had been fighting traffic, sweating the entire time, simply blurted out: “Drove”. How are you supposed to build a bond? That’s a good way to get a free removal! In other words, the salesperson took the frustration off his chest, but then lost the sale and earned no commission. He said what he wanted but ruined the sale by doing so. As you read more, you will see why it is important to leave your Kid ego in the car when going on a sales call.


Tea Adult The ego state should be the main navigator through a sales call. Adult ego helps salespeople bond and build rapport throughout the sales process. Tea Adult The recorder is different from the other two egos. It lights up when a person is about 11 months old and stays on for the rest of their life. It is the logical part of the personality; for example, it’s where all that useful product knowledge is stored. There are two aspects to Adult: tea Updated parent and the Updated child.

Tea Updated parent allows people to alter the warnings they heard in childhood from the beginning Critical parent, warnings like, “Do not talk to strangers”. As we have seen, this particular recording appears in adulthood as a reluctance to call. Tea Kid part of the personality, the Adaptive child specifically, it makes salespeople very uncomfortable making cold calls. Why? Because they were taught through Critical parent that they shouldn’t talk to strangers. Whenever you make a cold call, you are talking to a stranger and thus contradicting the Critical parent. This is what makes the Adaptive child very uncomfortable. Through Updated parent, you can update those belief systems and change the way you think about things. Tea Updated parent is stored in the Adult ego state. It can be used to update the archaic beliefs of parents. Similarly, the Updated child allows you to update the way you feel about things throughout life, starting at 11 months of age.


When it applies YOUR for sale, 70% of your sale must come from the Loving father. The remaining 30% must come from Adult. Zero percent should come from Critical parent wave Kid. Think of it this way: If it ever makes sense for you to tell a potential client a funny story (and maybe it is), the Adult (the logical part of your personality) needs to be in charge. Tea Adult you can navigate so that if it ever makes sense to turn the Kid in, so to speak, the Adult you can decide when and where it will happen. This is very important. The logical, knowledgeable Adult you need to make all the decisions for you and direct all other aspects of your personality so that you do not offend or annoy a potential customer.

The main thing to keep in mind throughout the sales cycle is “nurture, nurture, nurture,” especially on the phone. However, in your communications with prospects and customers, you also want to use some Adult where appropriate. You should never, never come from the Critical parent, and doubly, the Kid ego state.

As you become more successful in uncovering pain, you may have meetings where prospects not only share their pain, but also take responsibility for it and then proceed verbally. “beat themselves” for whatever caused the pain. In those cases, it is important to use your Loving father skills to capture prospects and get them back on their feet.

For example, you could say:

I think you’re pushing yourself too hard. Your role is to steer the ship and no one can be an expert in all things. You have made the right decision to call an expert to meet with me. So let’s see how we can spruce up the room by delegating work to the engine room, so to speak, to someone who does that kind of work all the time. I have to say that you are in better shape right now than many potential clients when I first met with them. You really did a good job as captain, and it’s as if things have grown to a point in the engine room where the situation is sapping too much of your valuable time as a leader. So you have made the right move in striving to see how the problem can be addressed. “

Can you see the statements of Loving father in the example? Can you see the statements of the Adult in the example? The portions that are mostly Loving father the statements are on italic; the portions that are mostly Adult statements are underlined. The portion that is approximately equal in both is both italicized and underlined.

The psychological models we’ve discussed on recent blogs, such as NLP, DISC, and TA, are staples in Sandler’s sales process and will be instrumental in helping you build connections and relationships. To ease the pain, you need to get your prospects to relive it. You can only do that if you have bonded with the person. The three models I’ve shared with you, DISC, NLP, and TA, will help you do just that, so you can begin to uncover the underlying elements of your prospect’s pain.

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