When it comes to sales, one of the biggest issues people face is – CONFIDENCE
People will suddenly find all sorts of other important things to do before they make a sales call – or follow up a referral they’ve been given. I need to do the accounts – pay this bill, wash my hair, feed the cat, all sorts of important tasks seem to suddenly appear.
To put it bluntly – we procrastinate!
Why is this – well, it’s because it’s something many of us are not comfortable doing. I guess it’s because its unpredictable and we feel we can’t control the outcome. We might get rejected, and that is something we don’t like. We don’t know how to do it, we don’t want to seem like a pest – whatever your excuse is, I’m sure you are not alone!
But if we put it off, it’s going to kill our business, it’s going to decimate our sales. While it’s good to have people ring you, sales is a proactive activity and the more you do – the more sales you will win – seems like a simple formula?
However, just telling people to get on with it and don’t be so silly, just doesn’t work. Sure, it might work for a day or two, but it doesn’t fix the underlying problems, and in my experience, people just revert to type a few days later, and if anything, they are even more entrenched in their old ways.
I faced this issue when I started my business six years ago. Unfortunately, I went on training that didn’t help me – in fact it made the problem even worse. The training consisted of sitting back to back with another trainee and making dummy sales calls, using a pre-prepared script. When it came to making the real calls, I ended up pretending and fudging the figures. Who was I kidding?
It took me several years before I could face up to this issue.
I found three things that really helped me to achieve this, and I wanted to share these with you, so you can build your own confidence in the sales role.
1 – Thoughts – Feelings and Behaviours
First – thoughts, feelings and behaviours – and the chimp inside us. I am part of a group of local business people that meet regularly and one of our most influential meetings was when we heard from two experts (Debbie and Lucy) on mindfulness. Now, I wasn’t expecting to get a whole lot out of this stuff, being a bit of a cynic to be honest. However, what they showed us is the powerful connection between our thoughts, our feelings and our behaviours.
For example, we are thinking – it’s not a good time to call, we’ll feel that we are wasting our time, and we will put off the call. Likewise, if our thoughts are – “I’m disturbing their day, they’ll be abrupt with me, we’ll feel a little bit afraid and put off making the call, or when we’d make the call, we’ll come over very timid and nervous.
However, if we reframe our thoughts, we can change our approach – so let’s change our thoughts to, my call may disturb their day, but in the long run, it could help them dramatically improve their business, like it did with ……. And here you can put your own example in. its important to reference previous positive experiences here, as an anchor.
Now our feelings change – and we feel much better about making the call, and as a result we make the call cheerfully and don’t procrastinate!
So, our thoughts, govern our feelings which govern our behaviours – a simple but powerful model in any situation. For example, at a networking meeting, you may feel nervous about approaching a total stranger and instead take the easy route, and talk to someone you know. However, for all you know, that stranger could be your next biggest customer. Yet, you are nervous approaching him or her. Try changing your thoughts from, I’m not sure how they will react when I approach them” to “what have I got to lose, after all they could be my next biggest customer”
This model changed my whole approach -and I hope it works for you
2 -Welcome the NO
The second issue coupled with this -is to accept that NO comes with the territory – and to welcome the NO! I gave a talk at an event recently and asked the question – what is the ratio of leads you need to achieve a sale. The response from the room was – about 10 to 1. So, it takes ten leads to get one sale.
Hence, how many times are we going to be rejected – well for those who are good at maths – its 9!
Nine people are going to say NO to us. Now, with the right approach and an improved sales process, we could improve that ratio, but we are still going to have a lot more “Nos” than “YES’s”.
So, lets learn to welcome the NO’s. Why – because it will get us closer to a YES. It will save us time if they say No now rather than in three months’ time.
So often, people will say something like, “sounds interesting, I’ll think about it and get back to you” or “send me some more details and I’ll get back to you”. Do they get back to you? Sure, some do, but a lot don’t – it’s a polite NO. We’re British, we’re polite, we don’t like to say NO! The only ones thinking about it – is probably you!
So, learn to welcome the NO. Think of it as you are not losing anything – as you didn’t have anything in the first place.
However, there is a warning here – even if someone says NO now, it doesn’t mean NO never. Always make a point of keeping that person on your database and keeping in touch. Just don’t consider them a prospect. I’m continually surprised by people coming back to me after a couple of years sometimes, and then becoming customers – after all we know it takes multiple sales contacts before someone will say yes.
3 – Get It Over and Done with!
Mark Twain said, “eat a live frog every morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.
Well, I’m not encouraging that, but what I am saying, is plan your sales activity in the diary, and wherever possible, do it first think in the morning. Put a slot in your diary and plan it – after all, sales is one of the most important areas of your business? Yet, how much time does it take in your diary?
Too busy? Not enough time? Well guess what? You are never going to catch up with your life! You should be selective… and whatever you decide your “frog” to be (the hardest, most important task of your day), you should eat it first thing at work! And often, that is sales calls, follow ups, asking for referrals and so on.
According to Brian Tracy and his book Eat That Frog!, the ability to concentrate single-mindedly on your most important task, to do it well and to finish it completely is the key to success.
Habits can be hard to establish. But if you repeat a behaviour enough times–it will become automatic. We are wired in a way that after completing a task, our brains secrete endorphins, which make us feel happy, self-confident, and energetic. Endorphins, give us a “natural high” and we can become positively addicted to them!
The idea of eating your ugliest frog first thing in the morning (is that it will leave you feeling incredibly powerful, confident and motivated for the rest of the day while all other tasks seem easy in comparison.
So, eat your “sales frog” first thing, and the rest of your day will be a breeze!
I hope these three tips will help you overcome the sales confidence issue.
- Recognise how you can reframe your thoughts to improve your behaviours
- Welcome the “Nos” and avoid the fear of rejection
- Get it over and done with!
Good luck, and happy selling