Let’s face it. Sales can be scary. Whether you’re new to sales or a seasoned veteran — everyone has nerves that can get the best of them.
Imagine you’re about to connect with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company and three of his VPs. It’s up to YOU to effectively communicate the value of your product or service. The only thing standing between you and landing this huge account (and a massive payday) is, well, YOU!
So you think to yourself, “Don’t screw this up. Don’t screw this up. Don’t screw this up” And the pressure mounts. Your palms start sweating, you stumble over your words, and then suddenly you completely forget where you are.
And just like that, you screwed it up!
Don’t worry though, your sales career isn’t over. This scenario is a right of passage for B2B salespeople everywhere. The truth is, we all fail in our own ways. Some fail in more obvious ways than others, but nobody makes it through unscathed. Nobody.
Thankfully, there are tools at your disposal to ensure the fear of sales doesn’t paralyze you. If you follow the protocol I outline below, you’ll pretty quickly overcome your fear and find that you’ve leveled-up your sales game to top-performer status.
Why Sales Can Be So Scary
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of overcoming your fears, first let’s discuss the common reasons why people are afraid of sales in the first place. Here are the top reasons why your mind gets the best of you when a deal is on the line:
- The stakes are high – In B2B sales, we’re often trying to close $10-$20K deals, $50K-$100K deals, and sometimes deals valued even higher than that!
- You’re highly competitive – If you’re in sales, chances are you’re a competitive person by nature, so it could be that most of the pressure you feel is self-imposed.
- Fear of rejection – Hearing “No” is never fun. Hearing “No” every day, multiple times, can really hurt your self-esteem (if not framed properly!).
- Fear of not making quota – If you struggle to hit your numbers, you might become a “sweaty-palm salesperson.” The fear of not making ends meet will cloud your judgment.
- Fear of Failure – Nobody wants to go back home to their wife or husband with their tail between their legs, knowing they couldn’t hack it in sales. This fear can be crippling.
- Fear of success – I see more people gripped by fear of success than any of the other fears listed above. This is when you know you were made for greatness, but slowly self-sabotage and needlessly talk yourself out of riches.
RELATED: Failing Forward in Sales
6 Ways to Overcome Your Fears
1. Get to the Source of Your Fear
First and foremost, you have to understand what you’re dealing with — so you must get to the root of the fear. Try to diagnose your sales fear or phobia from the list above. Now, once you know the cause, you can start working to overcome it. For instance, if you’re afraid of rejection… then drill rejection. Role play and have your partner say “No” repeatedly. Work to overcome the “No.” And learn to reframe the final “No” as a waypoint to the next “Yes.”
2. Reframe the Game
Another way to overcome the fear of sales is to reframe what sales even is. It’s not a one-way monologue to persuade someone to buy something from you. Rather, it’s a two-way discussion to find if there’s a fit based on the value you bring to the table. It’s about helping people to solve the very real problem in their business and life. Take the focus off of yourself and your sales numbers, reframe your approach to focus on your prospect, and you’ll win more deals than you ever imagined.
3. Mind your Business
What do I mean by “mind your business?” I mean each morning wake up and write out exactly what you want to accomplish that day. Organize your thoughts and daily tasks. Have your lead list at-the-ready. Know exactly who you need to follow-up with. Make sure your shirt is cleaned and steamed. This is what the pros do, and this will get you in the mindset of success. If you aren’t minding your business each and every morning (and throughout the day!), you can bet someone else is — and he or she is coming for your prospects.
4. Challenge Your Thoughts
When fear-based thoughts creep in, challenge them. Ask yourself, “Am I just catastrophizing, or is this a real threat that I need to address?” And 95% of the time it’s just you catastrophizing and self-sabotaging (likely out of fear of success!). Try to adopt the habit of challenging your negative thoughts throughout the day. This is a winning mindset tactic encouraged by powerhouse entrepreneurs and motivational coaches like Tony Robbins and my late mentor Jim Rohn. Challenge the negative and live by the positive.
5. Prepare with Role Play
I mentioned role play earlier in this article. You see, one way fear can dig its skinny little fingers into your mind is through unpreparedness. That is, if you’re unprepared, your default mode is fear, fear, fear. It’s the fear of the unknown. It’s like getting called on in class for the answer, but you didn’t do the reading! So to combat this, do your homework. In sales, your homework is studying up on your industry and specific prospects. But it’s also role play. Get those proverbial reps in by drilling things like opening a discussion, digging for pain points, communicating your product’s value, asking for budget, asking for the sale, overcoming objections, and closing. Like they say, practice makes perfect. And if it doesn’t make you perfect, it’ll at least make you confident and fearless.
6. Work On Yourself
Finally, you have to work on yourself daily to build confidence and self-esteem. Commit to reading a book on business or sales weekly. Attend your local toastmasters club to sharpen your public speaking skills. Take e-courses on sales and attend sales workshops or seminars. Continue reading blogs like this one that teach you how to become better at sales. And also be sure you’re exercising (at least three times per week), eating healthy, and getting good sleep. Cut back on binge-ing all that Netflix and/or YouTube every night before bed. And finally, put down your smartphone and stop doom-scrolling. Do these things and you’ll transform into a top-performer within a few short weeks.
Sales doesn’t have to send you into the fetal position, begging for mercy… nor should it! You can feel confident waking up each day knowing that you have what it takes to perform in this thrilling line of work. You just have to take the initiative to 1) learn where the fear is coming from, 2) follow the protocol to overcome that fear (do more of what makes you afraid!), and 3) continue working on your mind, body, and soul.
Do this and you’ll never be a sweaty-palm salesperson again. So go out there, be diligent to learn, adapt, and evolve, and trust the process of becoming a fearless salesperson. You’ve got this.
Until next time…