Great salespeople are a rare breed. It takes a certain type of person to fearlessly charge into a market full of prospects that don’t want to talk to you — and then convince them to buy from you.
A huge challenge for entrepreneurs is that, in order for their companies to succeed, they must become great salespeople even though their hearts may not be in it. If you are facing this challenge, here are ways you can overcome your fear of selling — and start filling the sales pipeline.
Study from the Masters
The more knowledge you have, the more confidence you will have.
Here is an excellent list of classic books about sales. Do a little research to zero in on a writer and topic that meshes with your business situation and personal needs — but you can’t go wrong with any of these recommended books.
Think Collaboration, Not Manipulation
Many people associate sales with manipulation.
Not true! Great sales people view prospects as business partners and collaborators, not sheep ready to get fleeced.
Viewed as a collaboration, sales becomes a process of learning about what a prospect needs, and then helping him/her address those needs with your products or services. Instead of sales calls aimed at persuasion, the process becomes a dialogue aimed at forging a mutually beneficial business relationship.
If you approach sales in this way, it will become much less stressful, and you will find it much easier to engage prospects and get a conversation going.
Write It Out
While you never want to sell from a script, you should write out your value proposition, “elevator speech,” key product/service features and benefits, and responses to probable exceptions. This helps in a number of ways:
- By writing all this out, you will be forced to think through your core messages. Chances are, you will improve those messages as you write them.
- Writing all this out helps you commit them to memory, so you’ll be able to convey them more smoothly whether you are in a formal meeting or unexpectedly bump into the perfect prospect on the subway.
- Writing all this out creates a consistent and effective messaging strategy that can be woven into your marketing materials and website content as well as sales conversations.
- Writing all this out gives you a standard sales presentation that you can then improve on, as you gather more insight about your prospects, customers and competitors. Your first stab at this will be good, but with continual improvement, it will be superb in a matter of months.
Don’t Take It Personally
Fear of rejection is a massive challenge for many salespeople.
The fact is, a certain percentage of prospects, almost certainly the majority, will tell you to get lost either politely or not so politely.
The mindset you need, therefore, is to respond by thinking: So what. If you take rejection personally, you will lose confidence and become embittered, making you less successful in anything you do professionally or personally.
On the other hand, if you don’t take rejection personally, if you simply accept the fact that you’re not going to sell everybody, you can then see the positive side of rejection. What is that, you wonder? Well, when a prospect says no, you no longer have to waste time trying to engage someone who doesn’t want to engage and/or is not really a good prospect. You are now liberated to continue your quest to find prospects who do want to engage and do want to build a relationship.
When a prospect says no, it is a blessing in disguise in many ways.
Even if you caused or contributed to the lost sale through some mistake of your own, even this is good — you’ve learned something that will make you all the more effective next time.
Looking for the positives, looking on the bright side, will make you more successful in anything you do professionally or personally. This is really the most important reason to overcome a fear of selling.
Dawn Mentzer is a contributing writer for Straight North, a Chicago SEO company. As a solopreneur and freelance writer, she specializes in marketing content — and collaborates with clients nationally and globally.