Are you allowing your own fear, uncertainty, and doubt to derail your sales process? You are not alone. So often, we know exactly what to do, but our feelings get in our way and take control.
I can certainly relate to this. In fact, it became an issue for me when I shifted away from selling software (things other people had to deliver) to selling sales coaching (something I primarily deliver myself). Selling myself – my consulting services and my intellectual property – was difficult at first. I let my own head trash get in the way of my success. One of my coaches walked me through a valuable exercise where I realized that I had been on forty (40!) consecutive coaching calls, and that 100% of the time, I had delivered considerable value and helped solve substantial business problems. The result of that exercise was that I finally saw that I was living in a state of F.E.A.R. (False Evidence Appearing Real).
Likely, all of us will have to deal with our internal fears at one time or another. Although we gain comfort and confidence with time and experience, we may never completely eliminate fear. It may sneak on us when we least expect it.Personally, if I don’t get enough sleep; or I’m not managing my internal emotional state, I get smacked with self-doubt. However, I now have a framework to “right the ship” quickly. My goal is to help you conquer your own fears, regain control, or even to act during feelings of fear. Let’s look at three tips that will help you deal with these feelings and set yourself up for more success in selling, whether you’re selling cybersecurity, managed services, or co-managed IT.
Fear Conquering Tip #1: Your Feelings Don’t Need to Dictate Your Actions
The first thing you must remember is that your feelings do not have to dictate your actions. In fact, you can feel one way and act in a completely different manner. For instance, I might not feel like prospecting today. However, I like the results of prospecting, and I need leads, so I can choose to act anyway. Or maybe I don’t feel like asking that prospect for the sale today. I might feel a little under the weather or off my game. It could be that today I am feeling really afraid of hearing a “no.” I don’t have to let that feeling stop me. I can follow my sales process and ask for the sale anyway, even if my feelings don’t want me to.
This is something we often ask our children to do. Even if they aren’t feeling respectful, we ask them to speak respectfully. If kids don’t feel like doing their chores, we try to teach them to do them anyway. We can require this of ourselves too. Our feelings do not need to dictate our actions.
Fear Conquering Tip #2: Shortcut the Feelings of Fear
This second tip is designed to help you eliminate the feeling of fear. If you can get rid of your fear, you won’t have to muster the will-power needed to act in spite of fear. Rather, let’s learn a technique to shortcut those feelings of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. This concept comes from the book The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins. The rule shared in the book is that the moment you decide to do something, you have to move on it in five seconds or less, or your brain will trip you up and short circuit your plan.
The concept is simple. Our brains are wired to recognize a pause as a signal of danger. It is actually the delay that triggers our brain to think there must be something dangerous ahead. If we can eliminate that pause and get right to what we need to do, we can short circuit the fear. Our brain won’t have time to jump in and protect us, and we can get on with prospecting, asking for the sale, or doing whatever we need to do without fear getting in the way. We just need to take action. Knowing that “the pause” is what ultimately halts progress and signals danger, Robbins recommends you simply count backwards and take action, “5-4-3-2-1…GO!”
I experienced this about a year and a half ago. I was stuck at the airport, waiting for a colleague to pick me up. His day had completely derailed, so I found myself with several unplanned hours. At that moment, it occurred to me to call a vendor who I had been struggling to reach. I wanted him to hear about my new offering (which was perfect for many of his MSP clients).
I almost didn’t call. I felt myself start to hesitate, and fear and doubt began to slip in. “I’ve already left a lot of messages. Have I left too many? I don’t want to be a pain…” And in that split second, I caught my thoughts. I realized that my brain was trying to talk me out of action. So I counted backwards and then took action. I dialed the phone. And, wouldn’t you know it, he answered. It turned out he had been meaning to call me, and our conversation led to some great collaboration opportunities. Sometimes you just need to short circuit the fear and take action.
Fear Conquering Tip #3: Set a Small Goal
The third tip for conquering fear and keeping it from dictating our actions is the process of setting a small goal. So often,we get overwhelmed by fear, uncertainty, and doubt because the action we are facing feels enormous.
For instance, you might be so afraid of asking for the sale, that you won’t even prospect. (The “logic” is that if you don’t prospect, you’ll never have to be a salesperson.) Or perhaps you’re afraid of feeling like a push salesperson, so you give up after one objection (even though you know you shouldn’t).
To conquer that fear, try setting a tiny goal. For example, perhaps on your next sales call, you can set the small goal of overcoming two objections. Or perhaps you could set a goal to call one new prospect every day. These tiny goals compound over time.
Here is the critical part: Once you set a goal of overcoming two objections, and you achieve it, celebrate your achievement. Even if you don’t make the sale, celebrate that you met your goal. Give yourself the positive feeling you get from accomplishment, and don’t reinforce the fear you feel from failure.
Don’t Let Your Feelings Rule Your Life
These three simple tips can go a long way to helping you achieve your goals and increase your sales. Your feelings don’t need to rule your life. Just remember that you can feel one way and act another. You have the ability to short circuit that fear before it even takes hold. And setting small goals can help you find and celebrate success and stop reinforcing your fears.