I’ve been in sales for over 20 years – even after I started my own business I still spend the lot of my time on training my sales team – so it’s been a while since I actually had the gut-wrenching feeling before picking up the phone or entering a meeting room.
But, like most humans, I’ve had those feelings, too. Now that I look back at it, I almost miss the feeling – it makes every sales pitch new and exciting, and once it’s gone, it’s just a process you’re going over and over again, calmly analyzing each and every step and improving the outcome.
The worst thing about fear is that it stops you from taking steps towards actually becoming good at something. You wanna become a killer salesman (woman)? Pick up the phone and start dialing those numbers. You become better at sales with each and every call you make; each and every meeting you attend. But fear might prevent you from picking up the damn phone in the first place.
Without further ado, let’s jump into some of the most common fears people come to me with, and my take on how to solve them:
1. Fear of Rejection
The No.1 fear people have is simply not succeeding. They’re afraid of losing.
It’s only natural that people don’t like to lose. We’re hardwired to be afraid to lose at literally anything, because in evolutionary terms, a loss at pretty much anything meant you’re going to be starving for a month, or straight-up dead. For example, if you fail to track that deer and hunt it down, you’re going to be starving, and if you fail to talk your way out of a confrontation with other homo sapiens, you’re going to be dead.
How to overcome fear of rejection
Sun Tzu, in his “Art of War”, has said that every battle is won before it’s ever fought. So if you feel like you’re probably gonna fail your next phone call, you very well might.
However, if you truly want to become better at sales, you have to pick up that phone, and make that call, even knowing you’ll probably fail. In fact, best sales people look forward to rejection. They know a 100% success rate is impossible, and they see rejections as learning material, whereas successful sales give them little information.
2. Fear of Embarrassment
The other thing that many of my followers are afraid of the embarrassment itself. They’re afraid that they won’t be able to think of an answer on the spot, or that they’ll say something awkward.
If you think this is funny – don’t. People are social beings, and we depend on our ability to communicate. How many times have you been in socially awkward situations, where you just find yourself standing there, unable to think of what to say? Or, even worse, when you say something that hurts the other person or creates an uncomfortable atmosphere?
How to overcome fear of embarrassment
First of all, don’t forget that sales pitches aren’t an exam, and 99% of people don’t give two cents about who you are and what can you offer. Let alone try and embarrass you. They’re just people, and chances are they’ll feel much more uncomfortable during the conversation than you will.
The best thing to go about overcoming fear of embarrassment is to stop thinking about your feelings and emotions (“don’t screw up, don’t screw up…”) and start thinking about how you can make the other person as comfortable as possible. This will take your thoughts off your fears and will put you in the right state of mind.
3. Fear of Succeeding
The last thing I’d like to talk about is what I call a fear of succeeding.
Basically, I’ve learned that many business owners and salespeople aren’t 100% sure that what they’re selling is actually good and worth the money they’re asking. They honestly don’t think that they bring much value to the prospect customer, which makes their sales pitch weak and riddled with errors.
How to overcome fear of succeeding
This one’s the easiest to overcome, since it has little to do with psychology or willpower.
Basically, what you need to do is to make sure that whatever you’re selling is actually good. To sell something, you first need to genuinely become an advocate of a product or a service. Buy it, use it, learn everything there is about it. Figure out why it’s better or worse than the competition. Most importantly, believe that for a certain person, this is a must-get product or service.
If you can’t say you believe your product is good, you’ll never be successful at sales, since unconsciously you’ll do everything in your power to fail the sale.