Are you procrastinating on calling a high-level prospect?
Maybe you are unmotivated, hesitant, or holding off to reaching out because you’re a little bit nervous, thinking that they’re gonna pass on that proposal that you sent them.
Or, maybe you’re frozen and you can’t even stand the idea of picking up the telephone to call somebody you really don’t know.
If this sounds like you, this post is for you! I’m going to walk you through the four steps you need to apply in order to build your confidence in sales.
Sales Confidence Breeds Sales Success
Can I let you in on a bit of a secret? (It’s a big one.)
Let me be honest with you. Next to being disciplined around the activities in sales, if you want to be successful, you have to be confident.
But there’s a problem, right?
We don’t necessarily just manifest confidence. Or, do we?
In this post (and video), I’m going to walk you through some steps that I want you to practice on a regular basis. You’ll find that over time these will build your sales confidence.
Let’s be clear. It’s not going to happen with a snap of your fingers and one time you’re fixed and you can go break down some doors.
You’ve probably heard some exercises that are used in sales meetings, where people are chanting and jumping around. And, that’s fine for that moment.
The reality is that, in sales, we have to build up our shield, our armor to protect ourselves from any concerns, worries, or doubts that we have on a day-in, day-out basis.
The 4 Steps to Building a Confident Sales Mindset (Over Time)
What I’ve found in working with sales teams across North America is that ultimately salespeople build this confidence over time.
And the more you work at these four different steps I’m going to give you, the better you will become.
It pertains to being confident in facing situations where typically you weren’t so confident.
Let’s jump into the first one.
Step 1. Logically Question Your Emotionally Negative Self Talk
The first one really is all about negative self talk. It’s that little voice in the back of your head that’s telling you things.
Maybe you’ve heard people talk about that little green monster that’s on your shoulder. You’ve probably heard the saying, right?
The reality is this, oftentimes we’re our own worst enemy when it comes to confidence, because we tell ourselves things when we’re faced with situations we’re not sure of.
We pick up the phone, after having a very uncomfortable conversation, and we tell ourselves, “Oh geez, is this gonna be another uncomfortable conversation? I really don’t wanna make this call!”
That’s your inside voice. That’s that little green monster.
Now, you’ve maybe heard people say, if you have that green monster talking to you, you need to flick them off.
I suggest you do this! Actually, punch ’em in the face, knock them off your shoulder.
Now, I’m not condoning violence here. But, I’m trying to suggest to you that what we need to do is make sure that when those voices come in the back of our head that tell us we can’t do something, something isn’t gonna go well.
Watch what you tell yourself! It’s often in the form of pessimism.
We need to challenge ourselves.
And that’s where that punch in the face comes into play, right? Not a, not a literal punch in the face, but it’s something that snap ourselves out of it.
Here’s what you do: When you’re faced with that self talk, I want you to challenge it with a logical question.
You see that self talk is emotional, right? So if you’re about to make a very difficult phone call, maybe to a buyer or a new prospect you’ve never even dealt with before, or buyer, that’s really difficult typically to deal with, you’re gonna be nervous.
But that little green person on your shoulder, that little voice in the back of your head’s gonna tell you, that “this isn’t gonna go well”.
I want you to stop it immediately and ask yourself logical questions, which may be:
- “Why isn’t it gonna go well?” If the response is, Well, the last time it didn’t go well…”, ask the next question.
- “Why is last time a measure of what this next time will be like?”
You see, it’s through logical questions that we snuff out, or at least dampen emotion.
Self-talk is a reflection of our negative emotions speaking. It’s due to us being
- scared, or
Call it what you will.
The way to deal with those emotions is to ask yourself logical questions. If you continue to ask them, eventually you’ll find there’s really no bearing or no basis for that emotional response.
So that’s step one that I want you to take.
Every time you hear that little voice in the back of your head, and it’s being a little bit pessimistic or doubtful of what you’re able to do, ask yourself a logical question that will start to snuff out that little green voice.
Let’s move on to step number two.
Step 2. Maintain Clear, Unaltered Goals
There’s a great book by Dan Sullivan called “The Gap and the Game”.
In the book, Dan talks about the idea that a lot of times we tend to look ahead. We set goals, we pursue those goals, and then if we hit the goals, we tend to move the goals post again.
So if our goal is to sell 10 this month, we hit the 10. Normally we say, Let’s try for 11, let’s try for 12, right?
Rarely do we ever feel like we succeed! And more than not, we never really stop, turn around and say, “Wow, I sold 10. That’s amazing. Only a year ago I couldn’t sell any.”
So the gap and the gain is the idea that we’re constantly changing our goals and never really stopping and reflecting on our success. That’s the second part of confidence in selling.
Focus on ultimately having very clear goals, not moving those goal posts, and then reflecting periodically and how far you’ve come.
So if you’re a senior salesperson, if you’ve been doing this for 30 years, I want you to think back to those early years when you started out and you maybe had a difficult time selling.
Think about those times when you were faced with new software that you weren’t sure how to use, and now you use it like it’s nothing. Nothing, right? It’s just part of your day.
If you’re new in sales, I want you to consider all those challenging things you’ve tackled in the past and how successful you were at those.
When we reflect on our success throughout life and throughout our career, it fuels us to be more confident when faced with new, or let’s say uncomfortable situations.
So we need to have very clear goals that we set for ourselves. That’s step one.
And then step two: Don’t move the goal post.
When you hit the goal, whether that’s on time or maybe it takes you a little bit longer than you expect, stop and reflect on your success thus far.
That reflection, that realization of, “Hey, I did it”. Maybe it took me longer to get to the goal, I thought, but I actually did it.
That is what’s gonna help build our confidence. You see, these are things that I’m sharing with you that aren’t gonna come out of any upbeat sales meeting that you might attend.
These are things, these are strategies that you work on on a regular basis that will help build and sustain your confidence.
Let’s move on to tip number three.
Step 3. Use Rewards as Your Motivator
We have a dog, and his name’s Charlie Brown. Now, I’ve always wanted a dog, and we’ve had Charlie for about seven years. Here’s what I’ve really found with dogs of all the good and bad that come with dogs.
One of the things that’s interesting is that Charlie gets trained to do things based on rewards.
So for example, if we wanted him to come to us when he was very young, we used treats. So when we would convince him to come, we’d give him a treat, he’d walk away, we’d convince him to come, we’d give him a treat.
We’re repeating behaviors and rewarding the behaviors we want. And to my surprise, that’s what helped us train Charlie.
To be honest with you, I’m not a dog whisperer. We had somebody help us in the early days.
But the point is this, dogs, like humans, repeat behaviors that get rewarded.
The problem is, in sales, oftentimes, we’re working on our own. We set up most of the time what our day looks like. We determine when we make our calls, how many calls we make.
And yet, these things, these calls, this outreach can be very uncomfortable sometimes. Let’s be honest, it’s not always comfortable. If I get an answer on the other end of the phone and it’s a good conversation, that’s a great day. But if I get somebody that hangs up, it’s not so comfortable.
We need to reward ourselves and reward the behaviors that we want to see more of.
As an example, I tell a lot of my coaching clients to set a period of time in which they’re going to make their initial calls.
But don’t make it two hours.
Don’t even make it one hour.
Make it 20 minutes of calls.
Take a quick five-minute break. Maybe step outside for a minute, talk to somebody that’s sitting near you, text your friend, whatever the case is, then go back for another 20 minutes.
Whatever it is that you find rewarding, integrate it throughout your day.
It’s not a matter of saying, “If I get to the end of the day, I reward myself”. It’s setting up micro rewards throughout the day that will ultimately encourage us to continue to repeat and follow through with behaviors that we want to see.
Going back to my example of Charlie. When I call Charlie today, he comes without me holding a treat out.
But when he gets there, he still expects a treat.
Are you giving yourself these micro rewards throughout the day, regardless of how long you’ve been doing these behaviors? Because that’s what it’s gonna take to repeat these activities and these behaviors.
Over time, that will continue to build your confidence to ensure that doing things that are a little bit uncomfortable comes naturally to you.
Number four might sound a little bit silly but stick with me here.
Step 4. Fake It Until You Make It
You’ve gotta fake it until you make it.
What do I mean by that?
When it comes to selling, a lot of times we’re faced with situations that we haven’t been faced with before.
Even when you’ve been in sales for years,
- you can come across a prospect that’s really difficult,
- you can come across a contract that’s hard to negotiate, or
- you can come across an objection that seems like it’s a new objection.
Ultimately, though, the way to move through these is to move through them.
It’s to convince ourselves that we need to take a step forward. We need to go ahead with this in order to reach the other side.
We have to put on that smile and do the best we can to get through it. We’re faking it until we make it.
Here’s the value of doing so:
Although it may be uncomfortable to do some of these things that you’ve never done before, or just don’t like doing. By doing them repeatedly, and forcing yourself to do them, what you’ll find happens is you gain confidence in doing them.
The first time I ever went up on stage to speak in front of a large group of people, I was nervous.
Let’s be honest, okay? I couldn’t remember most of my lines.
In fact, there’s a video floating around of me having my lines next to me, right? I was very, very nervous, but I knew I just had to do it.
If I wanted to speak professionally, I needed to just go out there and speak. The more I did it, even though I was nervous and it was uncomfortable in the early days, the better I would get.
Experience is our teacher, and it’s through experience that we build our confidence.
If you’re unconfident in doing something, you don’t have confidence in doing it, but it’s the right thing to do, then you move forward and you fake it until you make it.
The more you do it and repeat that behavior, the better you’ll become at it, and the more confident you’ll be, moving forward. (Incidentally, you’ll discover that confidence sells!)
Success Thrives With Discipline & Confidence in Sales
One thing I’ve noticed is that in order to be disciplined in sales, you’ll need to have a way to keep yourself on track. (If we’re disciplined, we’ll see success and success breeds our selling confidence.)
I find a lot of sales professionals use a variety of tools, but the best one I’ve ever seen is something that is simple to use. You can keep it in front of you and you can plan out and literally write down what your objectives are and what your activities are gonna be to get there.
For that reason, I created what I call the 30-Day Sales Action Planner.
Click the link, provide your information and I’ll send it right over to you for free. It’s a printable PDF, or you can use it in pdf, however you prefer.
It’s my gift to you to try and help you stay on track with your sales goals so that ultimately you can be successful in sales and sustain your confidence in sales.
© Shawn Casemore 2022. All Rights Reserved.