How Fear Keeps You From Success In Sales

What do you fear?   The answer to that question will be different for almost everyone you speak to.  The irony is that we all have fears that are so different.  Yet when we were born, we only had two fears.

Everyone is born with only two fears: the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  Every fear we have now beyond the two original fears was developed.  A more relevant question we can ask sales professionals and service providers is what fears may be limiting your success in sales?

I was talking with a sales professional not long ago and he was telling me about how he would like to be able to close better.  I asked him what did he mean and he said he is sometimes weak on closing and even forgets to ask for the business.

I told him he was not weak in closing, but rather had a fear of closing.

Fear is nothing more that our brains telling us of a future outcome that we are freighted of or have an anxiety about.  What completes fear is we believe what our brain is telling us about the future is true.

An Acronym for FEAR

F – false

E – expectations

A – appearing

R – real

Consider that fear is something imaginary that we make into a real thing.

How can fear stand in the way of our sales success?

The most detrimental fear for sales professionals and service providers is fear of rejection.  The fear of rejection is what has sales professionals not take action when action is needed.

For example, you need to approach a prospect about your product or service.  Instead you put it off until tomorrow telling yourself the “timing was not right today.”  When tomorrow comes you put it off again and make another excuse or use the same one from yesterday.  Your inactivity is caused by fear.  The fear keeps you from making the contact you need to make.

The same fear factor can keep you inactive on other matters too.  You are afraid to ask the tough questions such as: “are you ready to get started?”

There is no magic cure for fear of rejection. It takes a conscious effort to replace the fear with courage.

The opposite of fear is courage.  There can be no courage without fear.  Courage is when you take action when you are afraid.  There is no courage if you take action and you are not afraid.

You can develop courage by changing your attitudes.  You have to have the attitude that the products and services you have make a difference for people.  In fact, you have to have the attitude that if you don’t take action you are doing a disservice to your prospect.

When you truly wrap your brain around the fact that fear is you being afraid of an outcome that you are not certain is going to happen, you will be more likely to act courageously.   Just remember, you don’t know how your prospect is going to react.  Take the situation where you are afraid to call.  If you call, your prospect could say an enthusiastically “I’m so glad you called!”  They could also say a nasty “Don’t call me anymore.”

When you think about it, you win either way.  If your prospect says the later, you don’t have to waste your time thinking about them anymore.  Isn’t that great!

The bottom line is to be aware that we all have fear.  Put the fear into the proper perspective.  Take action in the face of fear.

What it Means to Win The Sales Game

Last week I talked about the mindset it takes to win the sales game.   I said that the mindset you need to have is one that places your prospect’s needs first.  It occurred to me that some might think there is a contradiction if you “win” the sales game and place your prospect’s needs first.  Let’s look at what “Winning The Sales Game” really is.

When you look at selling it appears that there are two sides: the seller and the buyer.  In reality the seller and the buyer are on the same side.  If you place your prospect’s needs first, you are on the buyer’s side helping them get the best solution to their problem.  The problem (could be literally or figuratively) is what you are trying to solve with the buyer.  You are positioning yourself as a trusted advisor for your buyer.  So, there is only one side.

There can however be winners and losers.  There are four entities that can win or lose in each sale.  The four entities are: the selling organization, the buying organization, the buyer, and the sales person.  In order to win the sales game, all four entities have to win.

First, let’s look at the selling organization.  This is the company you represent.  A win for the selling organization means a profitable sale where the organization can deliver what is promised.  This means the deal fits the parameters the organization has set out for a good customer or client.  A “lose” for the selling organization will ultimately result in a “lose” for the buying organization because they will eventually have to change something to make it a win.

A win for the buying organization is when they have the best solution for their problem for the investment they can make.  If they buying organization loses, it will ultimately be a “lose” for the selling organization.

A win for the buyer is when the buyer gets what they need personally out of the sale.  For example, if your product or service allows the buyer to reach his/her targets and they get a bonus.  That’s a win for the buyer.

Lastly, the sales person has to win.  The sales person wins when they get credit or the commission for the sale.  If they make a sale that is below the threshold to get a commission it is a “lose” for them.  Or, if the sale doesn’t count towards their quota, it could be a “lose.”

In order to “Win The Sales Game” everyone has to win.  There really is no contradiction with putting your prospect’s needs first and “Winning The Sales Game.”  While putting the prospect’s needs first the sales person has to take into account all the other needs too.  It is the sales professional’s responsibility to ensure everybody wins.

Persistence Is Key To Winning The Sales Game

I have a yellow lab and if you know anything about the breed you know that they are the most loving dogs around.  They always want to be near you and lay at your feet.  They just make excellent pets.

One thing about my lab though is that  she is persistent with a capital “P”.  If  I go to the refrigerator or get something to eat, she takes her spot right next to me just in case a morsel drops to the  floor or I break down and give her a sample.  No matter how many times I nudge her away she always comes back.  No shame, no embarrassment, no thinking “I got nudged away last time”, she’s right there.   Twinkie

If you want to win the sales game you have to develop the “yellow lab mentality”  You have to be persistent.  When people say “no” consider that this just a starting point of selling.  After all, if no one says “no” you’re just an order taker and there is no selling involved.

The question is: what does it take to be persistent?  Persistence is to continue steadfastly and the word carries the connotation of continuing in spite of resistance.  For sales people to win the sales game persistence has to be about “keep on keeping on” despite the setbacks of lost deals, rejections, and tough circumstances like the economy.

Persistence is an attitude.  If you are not being persistent it’s because you are not thinking persistent.  If you let all the setbacks, disappointments, and the “no’s” keep you from being in action,  it is your attitude that you need to work on.  Here are a few tips for developing an attitude of persistence.  Every morning, wake up and look in the mirror and say ” I am a persistent person.”   Do the same thing before you go to bed at night.  I’m not going to go into the science of affirmation here.   Let’s just say you create new patterns of thinking when you do affirmations.  Do this for thirty days and notice the difference.

So you’re probably thinking how can I do something for thirty days when I’ m not persistent?  Don’t worry  about the thirty days, just do one day.  Then tomorrow, do one day….and so on.   You could break it down to “this morning”.  Don’t worry about tonight yet.  Just do it this morning.  You get the idea.  Once you get it going you’ll find each day is a little bit easier.  You’ll also find it easier to be persistent in your sales efforts too.