Fear is a four letter word

Someone asked me recently what I thought was the biggest impediment to sales.

I thought for quite some time on this.  Would I say, bad presentation?  Would I say selling to the wrong people?  What about not asking for the sale – I’ve blogged on that..?  Or even something out of the sales persons control like price or packaging or branding…

After much thought, I came down to one common theme on what I think kills a sale and also kills a salesperson:


I think that perhaps there are about 20 posts I can do on fear – and I will indeed expand on this, but the common theme is this:  Fear can cause you the most damage in the sales cycle.

Prospecting:  You can’t be afraid to call anyone and everyone to get your your meeting.  Once I was trying to get a meeting at Pepsi.  I called 20 VP’s and spoke to 20 assistants before I decided to call the CMO and his assistant got me someone that granted me a meeting.  (The switchboard operator and I actually became very friendly!)  I wound up doing millions of dollars in business with them.    Imagine if I had been too scared to actually call into the CMO office.

Presenting:  Once you get the meeting, you need to portray confidence.  If you are afraid during your presentation, it will not instill confidence in the product.  You have to believe that you can change the prospects world – that you will save them money – or somehow make their lives better.  Then, you need to have the confidence to make them understand that.  Fear in a sales presentation will come across, and you are very unlikely to get the sale.

Closing: You can’t be afraid to ask for the sale.  Ask for the order and don’t let the prospect drag you along on free trials, or continual meetings.  If they can’t make a decision, move on.  Very often its their OWN fear in asking for the necessary funding, or in upsetting you, that is why you aren’t closing it.  Force the issue.

Negotiating: This one pretty much goes without saying.  Your commission most likely depends on you getting the mot money you can for the deal.  Don’t be afraid to say no to a price break or a give away – or ask for something in return like a longer contract term.  Negotiating and fear are polar opposites.

Post Sale:  Your customer may come back to you wanting more – or trying to change the rules of the deal in order to get out of paying, etc.  You can’t be afraid to stand up to your customer.  And on the flipside, if your company is changing the rules or not honoring the agreement, you can’t be afraid to stick up FOR your customer.

Fear and sales do not mix, and if you are overcome with fear then you will not be successful as a salesperson.  Do what you need to do, and don’t be afraid.

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