Fear is one of the top ways for a salesperson to sabotage himself/herself.
In the show The Office, there is an episode where Dwight takes the young temp Ryan on his first sales call. Instead of actually going on the sales call, Dwight drags him to his beet farm, where he attempts to teach Ryan some valuable life lessons about sales using his farm as a metaphor. One of the funnier moments is when Dwight is talking about fear being one of the top reasons why salespeople fail. He then yells “You must vanquish your fear!” while his odd cousin Mose runs out in thermal underwear with “FEAR” written across his chest. He instructs Ryan to “wrestle his fear to the ground”. Of course, Ryan refuses, to which Dwight pleads for him to “just get in the coffin” instead.
As hilarious as the scene is, there an amazing truth to it. As we mention all the time, sales is a mental chess game with your own mind. Your own mental attitude often dictates how the entire sales call goes. When you are prepping for a sales call, you can’t let your negative emotions take over.
Unfortunately, fear is one of the prime reasons why salespeople lose that mental chess game.
Maybe it’s fear that you won’t make a sale. Perhaps it’s fear that you will fumble an objection. It might be fear that you will get in trouble for not meeting your quota this month. Whatever the case – fear is one of the primary reasons why salespeople fail.
So, how do you become fearless?
Admit to Yourself that you have Fear
I know that at this particular moment, many of you are thinking “Yeah right, I’m not scared of anything.”. While that may be true for some of you, i’d wager that a lot of you sometimes experience fear before going on a sales call. You have to be 100% honest with yourself and admit that you have fear before you can start to overcome it.
Find a Friend & Mentor
It’s much easier to face your fears with a friend and mentor by your side. Having a successful mentor is crucial because they, at one point, faced the same challenges as you and have felt the same fear that you feel. They know how to overcome it and will help you through it without judgement.
Also, one hidden benefit is that when you have a mentor and friend, you’ll be challenged to do your personal best all the time. While they are challenging you, you will in turn be challenging them. Being part of a small team like that can do wonders for your sales numbers and will certainly diminish your anxieties.
Picture the Worst Case Scenario
I was, at first, hesitant to include this on the list. It seems like this would be considered a self-fulfilling prophecy at times. If you imagine yourself doing terribly, you’ll probably fail. Upon further reflection, there is one simple tool that can turn this in to a positive.
If you picture the worst case scenario of a sales call, you must also picture how to overcome that worst case scenario. You must think to yourself “Ok, if they say no, that’s no big deal, I’ll learn from it and be better next time!”. Picturing yourself learning from the worst case scenario is a great way to mentally think that failing is just a stepping stone to greatness and not the end of the world.
Life goes on, even after the customer says no.
Often times, the buildup before a sales call is the worst part. Think back to your school days. Unless you were a naturally gifted and charismatic speaker, you probable experienced some level of anxiety before a big speech in front of your classmates. The moments before a speech like that may bring about severe levels of anxiety. However, once you are actually up there and giving the presentation, the feelings of anxiety and fearfulness seem to evaporate.
The same principle applies to a sales call. If you are feeling very nervous about the upcoming call, simply taking action and starting it will ease the stress. Being “in the moment” does not allow for you to be scared or fearful. It takes a lot of courage to take action, but if you press on, you’ll quickly realize that you can easily overcome your fears.
Believe In Your Product/Service
If, deep down, you do not believe that your product/service is the best, you’ll probably be fearful about convincing someone that it is. If you don’t believe in the product, it will be obvious to the customer, and you’ll be timid when telling someone all the reasons why they should give you their hard-earned money for it.
The first step in becoming fearless is to believe. Belief not only in the product/service that you are selling, but more importantly, belief in your company and the philosophy that it stands for. You have to immerse yourself in the company culture and belief system if you want to truly be fearless while selling.
A good analogy is to look at those who fight in the armed services. They BELIEVE in their country and the principles that drive it forward. That’s how they are able to be warriors and defend the country with all they have.
If you find yourself full of anxiety and fear about an upcoming sales call, just take a deep breath and refer back to this list. Know that you are absolutely not alone. The best reps have been fearful of failure too.
I hate to use this cliche statement, but it’s relevant here – Keep Calm and Sell More.
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Author: Jason Karaman
Hello! I’m a marketing, sales, and customer service expert, trainer, author, and doer. I live in the South Carolina Lowcountry with my wife, Ashley. I enjoy reading (history, philosophy, and science are my favorite topics), writing, hiking, kayaking, and all things beach. For media inquiries, send an email to JasonKaraman@ExpertCaller.com