Ep 033: Huma Khan

Don’t be afraid to develop your proposition whilst you create it with Huma Khan

Can a salesperson truly satisfy buyers’ or customers’ needs and still meet their sales targets? Combining her love for sales and psychology, our guest today shows how you can use sales psychology as a force for good and still get yes at the end of it.

Founder of SalesPsych, Huma Khan joins me today as we discuss:

  • Sales psychology
  • Why most salespeople are consistently ineffective and what they can do about it
  • Important lessons from her biggest failure

In this episode we discuss:

01:10               Quick Introduction to Huma Khan

02:12               Something people might not know about Huma Khan

03:02               Why Huma stopped modeling

04:12               Founding SalesPsych after leaving CorporateLand

08:41               Why many salespeople are only effective a third of the time

10:50               Huma talks about taking 12 months to develop her proposition for SalesPsych

18:23               Huma talks about sales psychology and why there’s currently no field for it

22:46               Where do you see a need for sales psychology?

26:14               85% of the billions of pounds invested in training and development is wasted?

29:07               Why Huma considers keeping work and home life separate her biggest failure

38:44               Huma discusses the importance of developing your support network at work

Quick Juice Questions

42:41   Do you invest? If so, what do you invest in?

“I would love to invest in the future, ideally helping more women succeed in running their own businesses. The priority for me right now has to be on establishing my business first before I can do that financially. So, for now, I do that through my coaching and training practice.”

44:06   What most inspires you? When and where are you most inspired?

“I’m generally inspired by people who make positive difference or contributions to the world or others. I’m also inspired by positivity itself.”

45:09   Which book has inspired you and changed your thinking the most?

“Last year I read Black Box Thinking by Matthew Syed, and this year it’s been Flourish by Martin Seligman. Both of those have had a profound effect not only on me developing my business proposition, but also the way that I view business in terms of innovation, bouncing back from failure, and also the purpose of what I’m trying to achieve.”

46:11   If there’s one last bit of Executive Juice you can share for people who want to get to the top of their game, what would it be?

“Focus on your purpose and the people, and the profit will start to take care of itself.”

47:42   Bonus: Another big lesson Huma learned

“The second big learning I had was moving the goal post from seeking happiness to fulfillment. Too many people are seeking happiness as a life goal, which I think has a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing when it isn’t realized in a permanent way.”


On founding SalePsych

  • […] The goal really being how to combine my love for sales and psychology to create something that would help salespeople thrive and better navigate some of those challenges and pitfalls I faced during my sales career.
  • A lot of people think sales psychology is about using psychology to manipulate buyers or customers into saying yes. But, actually, that’s not the case. I want to use sales psychology as a force for good and still get yes at the end of it.

On Huma’s aspirations when founding SalesPsych

  • It’s been quite an iterative process. I’ve been developing and learning the proposition as I go.
  • There are so many things that are not in our control in business and in life that we spend an inordinate amount of time focusing our energies on. From my personal point of view, I double down my energy and effort on what’s within my realms of control — my own attitude to the work I’m doing, is my planning sufficient.

 On sales psychology

  • It’s ultimately about different facets of people and relationships and organizations and, then, purchasing behavior.

On staff training and development in sales and marketing

  • As a business or organization, when you’re investing so much money into any kind of training or coaching, it’s almost like throwing money away if you’re not actually doing the things that are going to make it embedded behavior. It’s all about behavior change, ultimately.
  • There are so many [training courses] claiming to do all sorts for your organization and your business in a matter of days or minutes or whatever it might be. I’m always like, “Yes, but what’s the evidence for that? What’s the science supporting that?”

On biggest failure and building support network at work

  • It [biggest failure] would be not making better support networks inside work. I’ve always prided myself on keeping work and home life separate because I thought that was what being professional was all about. In hindsight, that was very naive of me. I wish I’d learned that lesson earlier because it would have saved me so much time and anxiety at various stages of my career.
  • There is a big difference between building social connections versus building trusted relationships.
  • You can’t build any kind of meaningful relationship without a certain level of trust.
  • It’s only when you go through real challenges yourself that you can truly empathize with others in order to help them.

On seeking fulfillment instead of happiness

  • The second big learning I had was moving the goal post from seeking happiness to fulfillment. Too many people are seeking happiness as a life goal, which I think has a detrimental impact on health and wellbeing when it isn’t realized in a permanent way.
  • Happiness is always going to be a temporary emotional state, whereas fulfillment and meaning can actually lead to more happiness but it also keeps you focused during the tough times.
  • When we focus on self-centered goals such as material wealth or wanting to be happy, we’re at greater risk of internalizing setbacks when things don’t go our way. But when your goal is attached to something with greater meaning or purpose, then you’re more likely to weather those storms in a healthier way.

Connect with Huma Khan:

Books mentioned:

Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success by Matthew Syed

Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being by Martin Seligman

Resources mentioned:

”Women in Sales UK” LinkedIn Group