The survival of your business is very much dependent on your ability to sell. However, this doesn’t take away from the fact that selling your own product or service can be a pretty daunting task. It isn’t uncommon to develop a fear of selling; whether you’re a professional salesperson or you’ve never dabbled in sales before, nerves before a sales call or meeting are completely normal. The problem is when the fear stops you from putting your product or service out there and it becomes more of a phobia.
If this is how you currently feel, there’s no need to worry! We brought in 10 business owners to reveal how they personally overcame their initial fear of sales and have gone on to develop not only solid careers in sales, but their own tried and tested successful sales strategies which they have been kind enough to share and outline with us.
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan – StoryBonding.com
“Sales was my Achilles’ Heels. I remember my very first Skype sales call, I was so nervous that I talked too much, too fast, too intensely. And when it was time to close the sale, I apologetically and timidly asked the prospect to order. Then repeated 3 times:
“But you don’t have to if you don’t want.” I felt embarrassed, the client saw my nervousness as inability to help him, that I wasn’t confident I could deliver results.
That month, I could not pay my rent. Then, I decided that something was wrong, that sales exists for a reason, and whatever meaning I am giving to sales, it is absolutely disempowering. And I thought, and thought, and thought until I came to this conclusion: Without sales, I cannot help people. Selling is helping people overcome their natural inertia, it is taking their hand and helping them cross that final step to commit to getting the help that will change their lives. So, before every sales call, I decided to think of all the ways the lives of my prospect will change positively because of me selling to them properly, how they will get more security, how they will have more meaningful time with their families, how those problems that keep them up at night will go away.
And with this empowering perspective, a new sense of confidence and assertive generosity overtook me, and now, when I sell, I am not anxious, but I am excited for the new life the prospect is about to embark on. That’s how I overcame my fear of sales.”
Abdulaziz M Alhamdan, Consulting Business Owner http://storybonding.com/
Stuart Cooke, Director of Levity Digital www.levitydigital.com
Stuart Cooke – Levity Digital
“I think it’s normal for any new business owner to feel a certain amount of fear when they start out as their product or service hasn’t been proven yet. It can often feel that other, more established businesses have everything worked out which can lead new business owners to suffer from impostor syndrome. But the only way to get over this feeling is to get your product or service out there and have full confidence in what you can deliver.
People invest in people as much as they do for a product and in particular, a service. So it’s important to build your own self-confidence and belief that what you are selling is at least on par if not better than your competitors. One thing to always keep in mind is to never undersell yourself or your product/service. It can be tempting to do this when you are starting out and people will always try to take advantage of that but if you do your market research and understand where you sit in that market and the value of what you are offering then you should always stick to that valuation, even if that means losing some potential sales in the beginning.”
Lynette Hoy – Firetalker PR
“Fear often makes us extremely nervous. Being a PR pro often means loving public interaction. For me, that comes with great passion. Passion is super until your nerves have you rambling uncontrollably while trying to get to the point in a succinct fashion. The idea is to attract people to you, not to have them inch away.. Ward off this phenomenon with a few tried and true tips – one is to warm up those vocal cords. It is incredibly calming! When one of my mentors, Roger Love told me about this to assist me in moving forward with ease – I did not believe him. However, the energy and stress that goes into singing and performing on stage is the same nervous energy that goes into giving that sales presentation or talking about our new business or start-up. A great article on calming the nerves to prepare you for a stellar performance of any kind is on Open Mic UK.
Secondly, preparation, not memorization is key. When you deeply internalize why you are the number one choice, and understand your key points you can deliver them with a passion that sells instead of repels. Here’s the trick to this: know how to speak to three different groups of people. Know your material and offerings so well that you can pivot to meet the needs of who you are speaking to. What you say to a group of 30 somethings should differ from the 40, 50, and 60 somethings. Try to speak about your business to a 60-year old the way you speak to a 30-year old will have them stop listening before you hit your second sentence. The final tip is to dance for five minutes before you hit the door or the chair to join that Zoom call. Break out that music that makes you move. Play that air guitar, whatever your fancy holds. It just works.”
Lynette Hoy, Founder of Firetalker PR www.firetalkerpr.com
Paige Arnof-Fenn, Founder of Mavens & Moguls www.mavensandmoguls.com
Paige Arnof-Fenn – Mavens & Moguls
“I started a global branding and marketing firm 19 years ago and even though I am gregarious and extroverted it can be hard to put yourself out there. I do a lot of public speaking to increase my visibility and grow my business. My advice to conquer your fear is to think of sales as storytelling. I just try to tell our brand story in compelling ways by finding the right words and pictures to create interest. In early days of mankind, stories were a great way to communicate around the campfire, they are critical to the Bible and they are still effective today. People do not remember facts and figures but if you tell them a story that touches them emotionally you get their attention and they want to hear more.
People need to be educated, informed and/or entertained so figure out how best to tell your story in a way that makes them pay attention and breaks through the noise. Focus on the benefits to them not the features of your product or service. Stories create fans who will help you sell! I create a lot of content marketing material for my clients. My best tip is to stop selling and start sharing. If you share what you know — your passion, your war stories, the good, bad and ugly — the content will flow and pour out of you. The stories will be interesting and the lessons will be real, people will remember you and come back for more. It always works well for me.”
Tenin Terrell – The Creative Suite
“Roleplay is essential for igniting your sales confidence. At my firm, I find that my clients who are most gripped by a fear of sales don’t know what to say, or haven’t rehearsed it enough times to be self-assured if they do.
It’s easy to remedy a fear of sales. Here’s how you do it – Grab an associate and ask them to pretend to be a potential customer. Act as if you are presenting your business for the very first time. When you’re done, ask the associate for feedback. Repeat the roleplay, but this time implement an opposite action where you dropped the ball the first time. Go for as many rounds as you can, and experiement with different peers. In a short time you’ll feel condfident handling your sales like the professional that you are!”
Tenin Terrell, Owner of The Creative Suite www.thecreativesuite.org
Joe Karasin, Owner of Karasin PPC www.karasinppc.com
Joe Karasin – Karasin PPC
“When I started my first business, I knew nothing about selling. I understood it was necessary, but I knew I didn’t have the skills to close. I was young, and I allowed my youth to talk me out of doing what I needed to do in order to make the sale.
My business collapsed, and I took a job in door to door sales, selling windows, roofing, siding and entry doors. If there is ever a sales pressure cooker, it is the door to door model. I encourage every young person getting into sales to take on a cold calling job for some time. You learn how to think on your feet. You feel the pangs of hunger as you know that you are 100% commission and if you don’t sell, you don’t eat.
When I formed my new company after two years in door to door sales, I had no more fear of selling my services to businesses of any size. I learned the skills, gained confidence, and have been able to be successful in my field.”
Michael Hammelburger – The Expense Reduction Group
“One tip that has worked for me to overcome my fear of selling when I was just starting to build my consultancy business is I tried working with mentors who have given me the proper training when negotiating with people. One very important lesson I learned is to overcome over-thinking, especially before the sales meeting. In situations like this that call for me to step up, I’ve learned that practicing way ahead of time can help me deal with pressure much better. I’ve learned to simulate situations that demand so much from me by setting a more rigorous sales talk method. I record my answers to sample questions and be self-critical when it comes to my tone, pitch and content. Being well-prepared with a strategy on negotiation, means that I have already accomplished half of the goal.
My mentors have become very valuable in my journey of becoming a successful entrepreneur. Their insights allowed me to pursue my own path and take things in stride. Today, I’m heading my company and staying afloat in this pandemic because we’ve managed to apply all the business lessons from my mentors.”
Michael Hammelburger, CEO of The Expense Reduction Group https://thebottomlinegroup.com/
Hope Zvara, CEO of Mother Trucker Yoga www.mothertruckeryoga.com
Hope Zvara – Mother Trucker Yoga
“When it comes to business for some, including myself, the creation of the product or service, the designing, the implementation and teaching of it comes as natural as drinking water when you are thirsty. But when it comes to the actual ‘selling’ part of the business I use to run away like you would have thought I saw a ghost.
Why is that? Well, it has taken me nearly 20 years in business to finally realize why that is and what to do to fix it. For me, it came down to a fear of rejection. A worry others wouldn’t like me. This fear ran deep and stemmed back to my youth and was in part what kept me in addiction for years. It strangled not only me but my business as well. Yoga played a big role in becoming more aware of my feelings and managing them. But yoga didn’t cure my fear of sales. It was the understanding that I was the one in my own way.
And so I began to tell myself each day if I wanted a successful business I was going to have to do uncomfortable things. “Keep going even when you don’t feel like you want to” became my mantra because your happiness is always on the other side of discomfort. I got inside my own head and started to notice how much of my self-talk was derailing my success. All because of my fear of someone not liking me or my product or them seeing me as too pushy or out of my league. Essentially, I had to work on not caring what others think.
Being totally candid, this past year has been my biggest year, my biggest shift, my biggest opportunities available to me. Not because of timing, but because I did scary things anyway.
My advice, have an honest conversation with yourself about how much you want what you say you want. Do your actions, thoughts and behaviors match your dreams? The Law of Attraction only works if you are working on the attraction. Best of luck.”
Stefan Smulders – Expandi
“As every sales pro will tell you, selling your own product is a completely different ball-game when compared to selling someone else’s product. So even for those of us that were excellent salespeople in the past, when it comes to marketing and selling your own product, it can be very intimidating. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that when we create something, whether it’s an attempt at a home-made dinner or a work of art, we know every imperfection that would go unnoticed to the end consumer.
So it’s crucial to believe in yourself and the product you are representing when trying to sell it. The fear of sales comes from the fact that statistically speaking, many people will reject your sales pitch or product offer. Once you realize that many sales attempts will fail, then it isn’t such a big deal because you know that it’s mathematically impossible not to get a sale thanks to the law of averages. So persist, have confidence that your product is the best in its class and you can overcome the fear of sales.”
Stefan Smulders, CEO of Expandi https://expandi.io/
Lauren Clemett, Co-Founder of The Audacious Agency https://theaudaciousagency.com/
Lauren Clemett – The Audacious Agency
“When you are starting out it is hard to step into the spotlight and talk about yourself, especially if you feel you haven’t got the runs on the board or the experience yet to put yourself out there.
The tip to get past your fear is to consider that humans spend 10,000 times more thinking about themselves than they do about you and what you offer. Each day our brains are exposed to over 5,000 branded messages and we have around 20,000 thoughts in every 24 hours…. so there is no place in business for modesty, you need to get out there and share your story, your brand and what you can do to help others.”