Confidence is a feeling of certainty that you will succeed at some endeavor. It is a tremendous inner resource that some salespeople can summon whenever they need to. It can give you a massive edge in making sales calls, meeting with C-level decision-makers, and closing sales. Confidence may not be a sales skill, strictly speaking, but if you are selling, confidence is more valuable than any capability of your company or any feature of your product.
A history of success can increase your confidence, of course, but what if you don’t have a historical track record yet? What if you are new to sales? What if you are in a different profession altogether—law, medicine, accounting, engineering—but your company is pushing you to do more selling? For that matter, what if you are an experienced sales rep, but you aren’t among the tiny fraction of gifted (and therefore confident) “naturals” in the profession?
What if selling is scary?
Confidence is often the deciding factor in making a sale. What can sales training courses and sales coaching efforts do to boost confidence in a meaningful and lasting way? Plenty…but only if you choose the right sales training program.
To feel confident, you must focus on performing well. You are in trouble if your inner voice is shouting things like:
“I’m not a salesperson.”
“I didn’t become a [lawyer/accountant/engineer] so that I could wind up selling stuff.”
“Salespeople force people to buy things that they don’t need or want.”
Thoughts like those will make selling pretty darn scary. If sales training and sales coaching are going to solve the problem, they have to give novice salespeople something far more constructive to think about instead.
Take the Action Selling system, for instance. The 9 Acts of the system make up a full-scale, proactive communication process for planning, conducting, closing, and following up on a sale. Customers have told me that sales training programs and sales coaching based on Action Selling allows them to take newly hired employees straight out of college and give them the confidence to call on the CEOs of Fortune 1000 companies.
How? It starts even before the sales call is made. In order to feel confident, you must focus your mind on a single outcome for the call. Act 1 of Action Selling requires salespeople to set a Commitment Objective for each and every sales call. You always have a clear, concrete vision of how the call will evolve. That’s not scary.
Acts 2, 3, and 4 involve asking and listening. You aren’t under pressure to talk. You ask questions that are planned in advance, as well as others that arise during the call because you have been well trained and coached in the critical sales skill of asking excellent questions. Once you have developed that sales skill, calls on customers shift dramatically from “pitching” to consulting with the customer on buying decisions.
After you have clarified the customer’s most important needs, you are in a position to make your recommendation. You do this in Acts 5 and 6, using a predetermined format that is preferred by customers—and also easy for you to remember. This portion of the call is short and sweet, because you talk only about satisfying the specific needs that you and the customer agreed upon.
Act 7 is a simple question: “Would you like to go ahead with [fulfilling the call’s Commitment Objective]? No arm bending, no pressure, no pushing, no manipulation. Asking for commitment isn’t scary once the right sales training course and follow-up sales coaching have provided you not only with the right sales skills but also with the confidence to use them in any situation.
For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.
About Duane Sparks
Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).
Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).