Overcoming the fear of selling - Effective business development and marketing

Why is it that the word sales fills most of us with dread and fear? Is it the pushy, poorly skilled people we try to avoid in the high street, or the seemly constant cold calls we receive at home just as we are putting the kids to bed or sitting down to eat?

The self talk is something like this "I'm a professional, not a salesperson"..... Does this sound better to you - "I'm an effective professional business developer and marketer"? Aren't the two the same thing with nicer language?

We all know that we need to market (sell) ourselves and our businesses to attract more clients. It's the doing that is the tough part. We are confident, well trained  and experienced professionals, so where does this anxiety come from?

Best 10 tips to overcome the fear of selling

Here are my best 10 tips to overcome the fear of selling and turn you into an effective, confident and winning marketer. I'm going to use the word 'sales' here so that we become more comfortable and happier using it.

1. Recognising where your fear comes from.

The fear of selling can come from many places. We worry about being rejected, or not being liked. We worry about being perceived as pushy, or that (secretly) our service might not live up to our client's expectation. Or maybe we just don't feel comfortable with doing something we have not been trained to do. This is outside our comfort zone.

Know the source of your fear, or the combination or sources.  If we need to understand sources of the fear we can overcome it.

2. Address the source of the fear

Addressing the source of the fear is the starting point to taking action to overcome it. Some of this is a mindset change, some is purely a matter of additional training, or finding a way to 'bounce back' after rejection. We all know that business is not personal, as soon as we stop taking any rejection personally, we can move forward.

3. Find the passion for what you offer

Tap into the passion and enthusiasm that you have for what you offer. Do something simple like making a list of the benefits and success you have had with previous clients and then put it somewhere you can read it everyday before you start to sell.

We believe in ourselves and what we offer. We know we are good at what we do. Find the enthusiasm in you for this and put it to the front off your mind.

4. Shift your perspective

Stop thinking selling, and think in a way that makes you comfortable. Think 'introducing yourself', think 'sharing your passion', think 'sharing the benefits of your offering'. You are not convincing someone to buy. The best salespeople don't actual push in any way, they listen, share and provide a solution.

5. Start small

We are often told in time management training to start with the most important tasks, regardless of how attractive an easier task is to you. This is the only time I am going to suggest that you do NOT do this.

In this instance, the correct priority is to overcome your fear, and starting with the most important potential client isn't going to help!  Although we would love to win all the business we try to get, try out your new skills on clients you won't mind so much not winning. This is not damage limitation, it is allowing you to get on with it, in comfort that it isn't life and death!

The most successful business people are those who interact in a personable, authentic and passionate way. Find a way that is comfortable for you and stick with it. When you are happy with your style, move onto bigger clients.

6. Track your success

Keep a 'wins' diary, or a success journal and record your successes every day. This is a great feedback mechanism and will help you see how much you do right. It is easy to get caught up in seeing the fails, rather than the wins. Fails we disregard after taking note of anything we could do to improve next time.

7. Have fun

Please do not treat selling or marketing yourself as a task you have to struggle through. There are plenty of ways to enjoy these tasks. Some of my clients and former teams have used internal competitions, thrown parties, used invites to corporate jollies, or give-aways to spice up selling days. All of these are fun, easy and income generating. What would you enjoy doing?

8. Stay focused on your goal

Most of us take action and achieve our goals by staying focused on the benefits of doing so. Remind yourself of what you want, why you are doing it and what you want to do next. Imagine yourself having won a new client, and then go for it. Visualisation works in all aspects of life, why not when selling.

9. Focus on the effort, not the outcome

If you focus on the ultimate outcome i.e. making the sale, you will lose site of the process. Most often marketing to prospective clients does not produce an instant fee. It is a process. Set yourself sensible minimum objectives from each stage of the sales process, and focus on them.

10. Practice, practice and then practice some more

I find that with all new skills, the more I do it, the more natural and comfortable I become with it. Cold calling, introducing yourself to a prospective client, or asking for a referral gets easier and easier the more you do them. Do it, and do it some more. And before you know it, the fear has gone and the success is your focus. 

Contact me

For more on developing yourself, your staff and improving the profitability of your business, please do get in touch. You can email me at james@jamesnathan.com, use the contact page on my website www.jne-recruitment-academy.com or call me on 07736 831151. Follow me on Twitter at @recruit_eagle, connect to me on LinkedIn, or follow me on Facebook.

I look forward to speaking soon.

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