by John Chapin
One of the biggest stumbling blocks to a salesperson is a lack of confidence. Many salespeople deal with this in quiet desperation, while others, who appear to be loud egomaniacs with too much confidence, are actually just overcompensating for the lack thereof. In both cases, the bottom line is that low confidence results in fear: fear of making phone calls, fear of knocking on doors, and fear of doing what it takes to be successful. Avoid letting fear be a factor in your sales force with the following five rules for increased confidence.
Rule 1: Stop making excuses, start developing your sales skills
Recently someone told me the only reason he lost a $250,000 deal because he was $2,000 higher than the competition. He then went on to tell me that his area is different from every area of the country and people really do buy solely on price.
This is an excuse I hear about once a week. Ten out of 10 times, when I research the market and find the company doing the most business, the top company is selling more expensive products to the same people who supposedly buy “only on price.” The truth is: your market is not the exception to the rule, price is simply an excuse for not doing the hard work of developing sales skills and learning to sell value.
There are the obvious excuses people use such as: the economy, “our prices are too high” and “there’s too much competition”; there are also the less obvious ones that the powerful subconscious brain creates to protect our fragile egos and save us from stepping out of our comfort zone. For example, I once had a financial planner tell me that the reason he doesn’t ask for referrals is because he “knows a guy” whose client got irritated and closed his account because he was asked for a referral. Has that ever happened? Maybe. But assuming you’re asking nicely and not constantly beating them over the head, the odds are miniscule. This leads to another issue I see a lot: Living as if the exception is the rule. Living your life afraid of the exception will ensure you have no life and no business.
Rule 2: Get completely sold on your product, your company, and you
I have seen the most timid people become the most confident, persuasive salespeople when they believed in their product and what they were doing. I once watched a young stock broker who only opened three accounts in four months open three in an hour when news came out on the stock he was pitching and it started to go up in price. He wouldn’t take no for an answer, because he knew people were going to benefit. If you have a deep knowing, an absolute belief and conviction that you unequivocally have the best product, and one that can help people, you will move Heaven and Earth to get the word out.
Rule 3: The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be
You need to know your product and be ready for anything that comes up on the sales call. You need to have solid answers for every question, objection, issue, and customer situation you might run into. The answers need to be committed to memory and roll off your tongue to the point where if someone were to wake you at 3 a.m., you’d be able to answer immediately.
Rule 4: Get comfortable being uncomfortable, and face and conquer your fears
These two will do more to build your confidence and self-esteem than almost anything else. In the most important times in your life you will be uncomfortable and also a bit fearful. How many times in those situations did you do or say something you wish you hadn’t, or didn’t do or say something you wish you had? Look for uncomfortable situations, put yourself in them, and embrace them. What you’ll realize is that very few things in life are in fact life and death. When you come to this realization, you’ll simply take a deep breath, relax, and do and say what you need to.
Rule 5: Work on motivation and self-discipline
The fastest way to motivation is to realize why you’re doing what you’re doing. What is the ultimate goal and payoff? To find your why, decide what you really want out of life. What do you want your life to ultimately look like? What do you want for your family and your kids? What do you want to be able to do? With a powerful enough why, you will face any fear and endure through anything.
Self-discipline is getting in the habit of doing what you need to do every day whether you feel like it or not. If you can simply get in a daily routine and make everything you have to do a habit, the locked in habits will usually be enough to keep you going and on track.
Chapin has 24 years of sales, customer service, and management experience and is an award-winning sales speaker, trainer, and coach. He is also a sales rep in three industries and the primary author of the gold-medal-winning “Sales Encyclopedia.” To reach Chapin, find a free white paper on what it takes to be successful in sales, and subscribe to his monthly newsletter, visit completeselling.com