Have you ever sold the first customer of the day and noticed what it does to your confidence? Then you sell the second or third customer and you are unstoppable. What makes us suddenly turn into magnificent salespeople with just a little success? Do we suddenly learn something new or get better? Probably not. Are we more charming and outgoing? Probably. What causes this sudden power of confidence and how do we stay powerful?
Within the field of salesmanship, we all puzzle over this occasional dilemma of realizing that yesterday’s mojo has inexplicably abandoned us. Where did it go? Why did it go away? What makes confidence such a tremendous connection to our success? And vitally, is there a way to recapture it?
Please understand that in these cases, when speaking of confidence, I am explicitly referring to self-confidence in terms of a circumstance or situation for a period of time rather than a wide-ranging insecurity in oneself. It is about a full trust in oneself to do the right thing at the right time to produce a positive outcome.
Self-doubt can fill our mind in just a few seconds. It happens to all of us. It’s part of the human experience. These limiting beliefs may simply originate from a psyche of sudden unfounded feelings that influence our actions and then become obstacles to our potential. Even the most successful people, suffering from setbacks, may temporarily lose confidence.
Self-confidence is a radiant quality. A confident person believes in themselves, and that quality gives them an inherent capability to gain faith and trust with their customers. Confident people draw people to them, and when we combine it with ability and an unpretentious quality, we become influential. So, while confidence does not guarantee a sale, it always increases our likelihood of success.
It’s hard to say where selling confidence begins. Discovering how your confidence operates is like chasing a cerebral merry-go-round. Confidence may all start with success. The apparent conclusion is that success breeds confidence which breeds more success and then more confidence. So, a favorable outcome of something you do creates a source of belief in your abilities, which in turn creates more favorable outcomes. It gets convoluted, doesn’t it?
Here is some good news: Self-confidence is a skill, and like any other skill, you can master it over time. When we lack confidence, it is because we haven’t perfected and applied those skills. So how do you gain selling confidence? Here are a few mental actions that will arouse confidence and quiet self-doubt in selling situations:
Here is the deal: Whatever you dwell upon grows. If you allow yourself to focus on your fears and anxieties, you will become anxious. Focus on feelings that motivate you, and you will feel more impassioned. Instead of terrifying yourself by envisioning the possible rejections and negatives, focus on success and what you would like to achieve or have happen. As world champion surfer Layne Beachley says, “Focus on what inspires you, not on what scares you.”
When people are afraid of something, they imagine all kinds of negative outcomes that could happen. By owning up to our insecurities and then realizing those scenarios are the worst-case situations, we move forward knowing that everything else will be a better circumstance. Your customer may not buy anything, but at least it was not because you became paralyzed by your lack of self-confidence.
Start by acknowledging and examining your uncertainties and doubts. Where did these limiting beliefs come from? What led you to this belief? Recognize the falsehood of these limiting beliefs and then recognize them as just that – beliefs. We often create our own deception and faulty logic.
When you want to feel more confident, just think of a time when you had a focused determination to achieve something. We all can find a period of mindset in our lives where there was a real sense of purpose towards an accomplishment. Simply grasp an episode in your life when you felt a strong tenacity to accomplish a particular goal. Allow this vision to become your mental attitude. Once you find a purpose, ordinary people become extraordinary.
Generate a positive word or short phrase you can say to yourself whenever you have feelings of doubt. Such utterances can bring you out of your negative thought patterns and remind you that you are capable and strong. Try this, “I am a sales leader.” “I’ve got this.” Or, “I’ve done this successfully many times.”
Another useful mindset is called the “stop thought” technique. It works like this. Whenever you sense that feeling of lost confidence, order yourself to STOP! Imagine a large stop sign in your mind. Then begin replacing those negative thoughts with mental images of confidence and positivity. If negativity sneaks back in, send yourself another large stop order to instantly recondition your thought process. Some people even find it helps to snap a rubber band fastened around their wrist as well.
Expanding the stop-thought technique is a concept from Mel Robbin’s book called The 5 Second Rule. Whenever you notice self-doubt creeping into your mind, picture a rocket launch pad with flames and smoke with a five second countdown. Then say to yourself: “5- 4- 3- 2- 1- GO.” At “GO,” envision a mental blastoff in your mind and throw out all thoughts of self-doubt and move forward. The counting interrupts the temporary pattern of negative behavior, distracts you from your fears, and creates a moment of deliberate action.
It may also help to think of yourself as a professional actor. We all act in life, and when selling, we are on stage. Act like it! An actor cannot bring to the stage negative feelings and play the part of someone who is helpful, cheerful, and polite. To help feel the part, just find a way to empathize with your customer. Put yourself in her position.
Always learn to become curious about your customers because it stops you from focusing on yourself. What do we do when we are curious? We ask questions and we listen and learn with interest and concentration. With curiosity comes a sense of fun. One of my favorite quotes is from Joe Namath: “When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things.” Think fun.
Also, get over your perfectionism. Perfectionism stops us from moving forward and making the sale. It weakens our ability to move forward because we are so fearful of not reaching a high standard. Know that we will never do anything perfect and learn to know when something is good enough. We must learn to trust ourselves.
A confident person accepts that each sales opportunity is a new encounter and mistakes are inevitable, and if one should happen, they can be overcome with innovative solutions. We should view any letdown only as an opportunity to overcome and then learn from rather than regard such setbacks as failures. Confident people know when you put forth your best effort, whatever happens will be all right.
Confidence, like an attitude, is something we feel and becomes something we are. Confidence is related to our perception, beliefs, feelings, and the consistent actions we take. Stop and think about the negative statements you say to yourself when your confidence is down. Examples, “I can’t do this; this isn’t working; he doesn’t like me; my price is too high; I don’t have anything she likes.” Confidence, or lack of it, develops because of what you are telling yourself. If you allow yourself to think negatively, then you will likely fail.
There is no magic elixir or antidote to confidence except perhaps that of a captivating smile. Understand that confidence is exercising a mental or emotional habit, a frame of mind. It is something we feel and becomes something we are. It is not what happens to us, but our response to what happens to us that hurts or helps us. You need to train your mind to react to the negatives—the problems, the criticisms, the failures—no differently than you would the success in your life. By knowing this truth, you can begin to shape and mold your reality to create a crystalline vision of success and confidence.
One thing is very clear to me: When I knew and believed positively that I was going to make a sale, I usually did; and when there was any doubt, I seldom closed the sale. If you cannot convince yourself that your customer is going to buy, I seriously doubt that you will ever be able to convince your buyer to do the same.
Good selling to you!