I think it’s interesting to note that there are a lot of myths around sales. And it’s not the fear of selling, really that people want to overcome, although it is a very common search term on Google, ‘how to overcome the fear of selling.’ I’m not scared of selling, I’m not scared of it at all. When people are buying from me, that’s a happy day.
So what is the fear that you've actually got? It’s not when someone’s buying from you, it’s the fact that someone may not buy from you. So it’s more about overcoming the fear of rejection or overcoming the fear of being judged for the way you’ve approached somebody.
Sales is about helping somebody
I think that there’s this mentality or mindset about sales that sales is somehow a dirty word... Let’s get rid of that. Let’s think a bit differently about sales and start to think about helping somebody. If you had a friend who had skin cancer, and you had to go and convince them to get it removed, would you have a fear of that? Maybe not, maybe so, but certainly I wouldn't. I would be very comfortable doing that because I’m helping them to solve a problem.
Sales is very much the same thing. It’s not about telling someone to do something they don’t want to do. I think that’s where the fear of sales comes from, because you feel like you've got to convince someone to do something or buy something that they don't need or don’t want. And that’s not what sales is... What sales really is about is helping people understand why they should buy your product or service. When you get comfortable with that, that’s when you get comfortable with sales.
Now I’ve got a few tips to help you get more comfortable at doing this, but it’s going to take you a fair bit of time to overcome your fear because it’s not a technical thing, it’s not a strategy thing, it’s a mindset thing. It’s the mindset that you've got that sales is a scary thing. A big part of overcoming it is getting lots of experience. And to get lots of experience means doing lots of sales appointments. There’s lots of great books out there that will help you overcome this, but really I have a philosophy, ‘selling with integrity.’ That means that I’m not going to force you to buy anything, I’m not going to play any sales tricks on you, I’m going to deliver great value, and in return you’re going to want to pay me for it.
That’s really the essence of sales is being able to create value and educate people as to the value that you offer. If you’ve got to work hard to get a sale, if you’ve got to convince somebody, then one of two things is happening. Number one, your product or service is not of great value to anybody, they don't really want to buy it. Or the second thing that’s happening is you’re not great at demonstrating to people the value in your product or service.
How do you overcome those challenges?
I've got five quick tips to help you start using to get a little bit more proficient in getting more sales and getting more comfortable by taking the fear out of selling.
#1, Sales is a Profession
The first thing is to understand that sales is a profession. If you’re going to be good at it, you need to train. So number one is train, train, train, no different than any other profession. You can’t just wake up one day and say, ‘I’m going to be a sales person.’ Selling is not… the secret of selling is not in the selling, it’s actually in your ability to understand people and how to communicate your message effectively so that people want to buy from you. It’s so many different skills that if you don’t put a lot of training and effort into it, you’re not going to get great at it, you’re going to be average at it like all the other people that don’t train.
They just assume they can sell because they’re a person. Doesn’t work that way. It’s a profession. When I talk about training, I’m talking about reading books. What books have you read recently on sales? What workshops or courses have you attended on sales and how to be better at selling? What audiobooks have you downloaded, what podcasts are you listening to about sales? What have you done to try and educate yourself more about the psychology of people buying and the benefits and features of your products, and how to position that and put together a presentation? It’s just a huge gammett of training, and it’s going to take years. There’s no two ways about it, there’s no shortcut. So if you’re watching this video at home thinking Ben was going to give you a shortcut straight to the successful point in time where you’re going to sell everybody that you meet, it’s not going to happen. You’ve got to take a lot of time.
#2, Practice, Practice, Practice
That leads me into point number two, which is once you’ve got all this knowledge, it’s no good having all this knowledge if you don’t do something with it. You’ve got to practice. Practice, practice, practice. If you’re not confident getting in front of prospects yet, practice. Practice in front of your dog, I don’t care who you practice on.
Get really comfortable with your presentation. A presentation should be choreographed. I know that sounds strange, but it’s very important that when you go into a sales meeting or meet with somebody or you talk with somebody on the phone, that you have a choreographed sales process. It’s important for two reasons. Number one, it keeps you on track. It makes sure that as you go through your sales process, you know where you are at any one time and what steps are going to be next. Really important if it’s choreographed, you can make sure you’re always on track.
The second thing that’s important is when you choreograph your sales process, you can start to test each part of it and make twigs to test each part of the choreographed process and see what effect it has on your overall conversion rate. It’s really important that you practice this choreographed process and you follow a step-by-step thing the same way every time you get into a sales meeting or a sales conversation so that you can see what’s effective and what’s next.
The third note on that, and you’re probably feeling pretty nervous by now, but I’m going to say relax. Just relax. It’s one of those things that if you’re in a sales meeting with someone, if they can sense you are nervous or tense, it’s going to come across, it’s going to affect your presentation. I was in a presentation the other day with a fellow, and he had his boss watching. He rocked up and his boss happened to be watching. He said, ‘My boss is here, he’s going to watch me.’ He was so nervous. Now I’ve met with him previously and he was relaxed. But he got into this nervous mentality where he was just ineffective.
It’s important that you understand it plays a big part on your delivery. Remember, we’re all people. We’re all okay with talking to each other, some people are shy, some people aren't. But we’re all people, and we all understand each other. So just relax. Take a couple of big, deep breaths before you go into the sales meeting or whatever it might be, but just take it easy and be there for your customer rather than yourself. I know you want to get the sale and it’s important for your result; funnily enough when you’re trying hard to get the sale is when you’re least likely to get it. So relax, take a deep breath, be there for your prospect and they’re more likely to buy from you.
Do lots of Sales Learning
Now I sort of touched on this in point one, and that’s making sure you are attending lots of workshops or training or reading lots of books. So tip number four is get out to at least a workshop a week. There are so many great things out there that teach you how to do this stuff, whether it’s audio books or books, online training, offline training; there’s a huge amount of resources available for you to attend workshops.
Now the reason I say attend workshops as opposed to just reading books, I think attending workshops you get to actually role-play with other people who are going through the same thing. It’s a great way to learn. You’re going to be able to buddy up with some people that are feeling the same nerves that you’ve got, and you can get together to overcome the fear of sales. A workshop’s going to allow you to do that. The books, audio, all of that’s important, but I think that’s where it’s at. Go to a workshop so you can be in that environment. It’s more comfortable when you’re all moving in the same direction together rather than trying to tackle this on your own.
Get a Sales Coach
My fifth and final tip to tackle the fear of selling is get yourself a mentor. There’s plenty of great people out there who are willing to spend sometime one-on-one with you on a regular basis to mentor you through your fears, to mentor you through your process. I'm talking people who have years and years of sales experience. They’re your family, your neighbours, your friend’s friends, somebody else in your team at work. If you've got somebody around you that’s very experienced in sales, get them to mentor you. I can guarantee they've been through what you’re going through.
I started sales at a very young age, but I still went through a lot of nerves. I'm still very conscious of not getting rejected, all of that stuff. It’s completely normal, natural. When you see somebody that’s really good at sales, you go, ‘They’re just a born salesperson,’ that’s rubbish, that’s crap. They've been through the same ups and downs you’re going through. They've just several years ahead of you, that’s all. They've had a lot more practice. They've had a lot more experienced. They've been bounced off the walls a lot more times than you, that’s all it is. The goods news is, that means that you can get there too. The bad new is, that for right now, it’s not going to happen overnight. So if you’re looking for a quick fix, you've come to the wrong place. It’s a profession that takes time to build up your credibility and your ability, and there’s no other way around that.
About the Author
Ben Fewtrell is a sought-after Business Coach, Keynote Speaker and trainer who has featured in Virgin’s Inflight Magazine and Entertainment Portal, SKY Business and “Secrets of Top Business Builders Exposed”. He is also the host of the popular Business Brain Food Podcast where he interviews leading experts on anything and everything business.