What is the top trait that sellers believe one needs to succeed in sales? Confidence. According to the results of SalesFuel’s Voice of the Sales Rep survey, 60% of salespeople agree that confidence is the most important trait.
“Building unwavering self-confidence is one of the critical elements to truly succeeding in sales and performing at a high level, day in and day out,” writes Andy Carlton for LinkedIn. “It is true that some people have an easier time of this (although not many). But it is something that you can develop over time. Think of self-confidence as a skill or muscle that you can build up.”
Rules for building confidence in sales
There are a lot of confidence quick fixes out there, but Carlton warns against them. Developing and nurturing confidence requires long-term commitment and a focus on building a solid foundation first. He shares rules that reps should follow and practice consistently to build self-confidence—and maintain it.
Building confidence in sales simply can’t work if the seller doesn’t feel like they have self-worth, defined as “a sense of one’s own value of a human being.” If a rep doesn’t feel that they themselves are valuable, how can they convince others to believe what they sell has value? How will they be able to inspire trust or display credibility without having self-worth? As Carter writes, self-worth is “the basis of self-confidence.” How do you know if you are lacking self-worth? Here are a few sales-related warning signs to watch for:
- avoiding the phone
- seeking the approval of others
- not volunteering for new projects
- staying small and not going big
- average or inconsistent sales and income
Thankfully, there are easy ways to remedy this. Take a look at the insightful TED article written by Adia Gooden, PhD in which she shares how to embark on the journey of cultivating your self-worth. Recognizing and embracing your value is the first step to successfully building confidence in sales.
Detach yourself from outcomes
It’s common to have trouble detaching yourself from rejection. As humans, we tend to internalize what we deem as failures. But over time, it will be more and more difficult to move on from a lost deal or a dissatisfied client, which in turn affects your mood, attitude and yes, confidence level.
“In sales, you will lose more deals than you win,” Carter writes. “We are told and taught that when we achieve or crush our sales goals, we are confident. When we don't, then we are not. If you want to have a long, fulfilling and successful career in sales, then you must build your confidence in other ways.”
One way to do this, he suggests, is to adjust your mindset. “Replace the thought of ‘I am confident when I achieve or exceed my goals’ with ‘I am confident because I am confident,’” he writes. Simple mindset shifts like this can help you nurture confidence without tying it to a specific goal or task. This way, when you do stumble, you can detach yourself. This isn’t to say you won’t feel upset about the stumble, but you won’t allow it to eat away at your confidence.
You can also reframe how you look at undesirable outcomes. By adjusting your reactions to rejections, losses and other sales lows, you can use them as inspiration and a way to actually build confidence in sales. Use them to motivate you to seek ways to overcome and keep going.
“Being unfazed by rejection — not internalizing it as a negative reflection of you or your product — is absolutely vital to maintaining the tempo and energy you need to close other customers,” explains author and entrepreneur Peter Kazanjy.
Confidence is “critical”
These are just a couple of the rules for building confidence that Carter shares. They may take time to nurture and turn into habit, but your efforts will be worth it; sustainable sales success relies on a seller’s self-confidence. As Carter notes, “Why build self-confidence? For sales, it is critical. It also has power in every area of your life. A real-life skill that can be developed over time.”
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