Fear. What is it really? Merriam-Webster defines it as, “an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger.” Anticipation and awareness of danger? Of what?
Having coached thousands of sales professionals and entrepreneurs, I can tell you fear is that one factor that stops most people from reaching their regular sales goals, let alone their stretch goals. Yes, sales strategies and sales skills can help you, but you can have all of the talent in the world and allow fear to prevent you from reaching your goals.
When I first started out in sales, I read every book I could on selling. Authors included Brian Tracy, Tom Hopkins, Jeffrey Gitomer, etc. I was petrified of selling. Petrified. I know many people find that hard to believe, but the reason I have been so inspired to teach and coach sales professionals is because selling was so difficult for me in the beginning. But over time and with the right training, it got easier.
It became much easier after I became an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) certified coach through the NLP Institute of California. NLP is the study of language (what we say) and how it impacts our behavioral patterns (actions we take). Through the NLP Institute, I learned how to change others’ limiting beliefs and how to help people release their fears. It was mind-blowing to me as I watched the experts take the stage and quickly demonstrate how to make a belief change in someone else. We would then have the opportunity to practice on each other, which was powerful, as I was also able to experience an impactful fear release or belief change.
After years of doing this, I started to do both at the same time for my clients. I would deliver a belief change process and then, for good measure, I would take my clients through a fear release process at the same time. That resulted in a powerful trajectory of success because, without a particular fear, they were able to quickly move through a sales process and become unstoppable.
There are three main fears that I see showing up most frequently: Fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, and fear of picking up the phone. These are not in any specific order, but I find that they come up over and over again when I am training or coaching sales professionals or entrepreneurs. My intention is to first help you understand the fear (or limiting belief) and then give you a tool to release it.
What you really need to know is that whatever you fear most about selling is the exact thing that stops you in the moment from asking for the sale. For example, if you fear rejection, your entire sales conversation will circle around asking for the sale, but you will probably never ask because you don’t want to experience the feeling of being rejected. Yes, you will get the “low-hanging fruit”-those individuals who are ready to buy in the moment, but you will never get the more complicated sales because you will never ask.
But don’t despair! There are ways to shift your fears in the moment and create belief changes along the way. Yes, you can create your own belief changes in the moment. Remember, a belief is just a thought you think is true. To shift it, just become aware of the limiting belief or fear, choose a new belief, and then begin to find evidence that this new belief is true. Usually, it can be that easy. (It WILL be that easy if you believe it’s that easy. Are you with me?)
Shift the Fear – and Outsell it!
- Rejection: Remember, it’s NOT about you. Realize what rejection REALLY means. When you focus on yourself, then rejection IS about you. When you focus on your client, then you realize that rejection is just them telling you it’s not the right time or perhaps you haven’t uncovered their true objection yet. Key to Success: Selling is not telling; selling is asking questions. If your intention is to truly serve your clients, then they will feel that and know it’s about them. When they know it’s about them and not about you, they will open up and share what’s really going on. Most likely they will buy from you and/or they will tell you when they WILL be ready to buy from you.
- Fear of the unknown: This is a big one. It’s easy to think we don’t know enough or someone will ask us a question that will really stump us. Guess what? People appreciate humility and honesty! Key to Success: The next time you get stumped, BE HONEST! Just say, “I don’t know.” And then tell them, “But I will find out.” And, guess what? That creates an excellent opportunity to continue to build rapport with them while also creating a time to follow up so you can give them the answer. Just remember to set the next time you will be following up before you end the meeting.
- Picking up the phone: Why are we afraid to pick up the phone? I hear this over and over again. People share with me that they can procrastinate for hours before picking up the phone. Why? What are we really afraid of? This goes back to rejection. We are afraid of “bothering someone.” Really? The truth is, if you don’t “bother them,” you might be doing them a major disservice. Key to Success: Before you pick up the phone, remind yourself that they actually need what you have. What you have could make a tremendous difference in their business or in their life.
If you had no fear, what would you do differently in your business and in your life? When you know THAT, it is much easier to move through the fears above and apply the tools. Stop settling for less than the best and get clear on what you really want!