You Can Sell Fearlessly – by Gary Hart
I was young and very cocky when I began my sales career. Ignorance does that and I was ignorant. My first employer let me go for being too inexperienced and generously left my confidence intact. He did not have a formal training program, so he sent me to a friend’s company that did and left the door open for me to return when I was no longer green.
My new employer trained a dozen of us for two days in their classroom and then they put us on the phone prospecting. With a fundamental understanding of “real selling” I was ready to conquer the world. They monitored, and continuously trained and coached us. When they thought I was ready, they put me out in the field. I was selling, actually trying to sell and rather poorly at first.
My confidence waned. My ego deflated like a leaky balloon and the spring in my step was spring-less. I second-guessed everything. What am I doing wrong? Will this prospect hang up on me? Will my prospect yawn and boot me out of his office? Will I work my tail off only to lose sales? Should I quit and go back to my original career choice?
Fear overtook me. Oh, I made a few sales here and there, but I was nowhere near quota, let alone my grandiose goals. Marty, our general sales manager, called me into his office at the end of my first quarter. He was a serious, stoic man with black hair, thick black moustache and black piercing eyes. This is it, I thought, fired again.
On the way to his office, I planned my next career. I was going to college at night while I launched my fledgling sales career during the day. My original career choice was architecture until I met my uncle’s father-in-law, Bill, who convinced me to go into sales.
“You’re a # 1 salesman,” he promised in a matter-of-fact way that came from decades of experience as a successful entrepreneur. “Anyone can be an architect, but very few can do what you can.”
I was an impressionable 17-year old kid when we spoke that day. We chatted for a few hours at a family wedding over scotch. My parents permitted imbibing at big events under their watchful eyes. Bill was near retirement. He owned his own sales company in Manhattan. His sales and business stories enamored me. “Selling is a people business,” he said, and that sounded like the perfect fit for me. He said I was “a natural.” Now I wondered if he was wrong. Maybe I am an architect and not a “number 1 salesman.”
Marty gestured me to sit and cut right to point of our meeting. “Do you think you can do this job?”
I was shocked. I fully expected him to hand me a check and hold the exit door open for me. My vision for sales success returned. “Yes, I can do this, Marty.”
“Then go back to work and do it,” Marty said with a genuine encouraging smile.
Two sentences and a smile, and my confidence percolated. I purchased and read every inspirational, motivational book I could find and hung two frames on my wall, Vince Lombardi’s “What It Takes to be Number One” speech and Calvin Coolidge’s “Persistence and Determination Alone are Omnipotent” quote.
“I will and I can” replaced “I’ll try.” I repeated, “I will and I can” in my head and sometimes aloud, while I pounded the NYC pavement until they were ingrained in my DNA.
But I still battled fear and still do. When I write, I fear it won’t be good enough. When I speak, I wonder if I’ll win the audience over. Fear demons buzz in my ear. Whenever fear challenged my confidence, I recall one or two of my favorite quotes and forge ahead.
Fear is nothing to be ashamed of; in fact, you would be surprised at how many of your heroes battle fear.
John Wayne said, “Courage is being scared to death, but saddling up anyway.” John Wayne did many of his own stunts in the movies.
Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Fear will prevent success if you allow it to. The choice to succumb to your fears or challenge them is yours alone to make.
So saddle up and Sell Fearlessly!
Gary Hart helps companies increase sales with streamlined sales processes that shorten sales cycles for improved win rates with larger margins. He has a knack for discovering hidden opportunities within your organization and leveraging them to create competitive advantages and unique value propositions. Gary is passionate about developing customer experiences that lengthen customer life. Find Gary at www.SalesDuJour.com, Linkedin, Twitter, Google+
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