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Overcoming Fear: The Enemy of Salespeople

Written by Vinit Shah

A common enemy every salesperson has is fear. When fear takes hold, what seems rational can become irrational, and what should be common sense is not as logical as you might expect.

Fear can destroy confidence, create doubt and snatch joy from life. It has many names, can be invisible, holds no prejudice and has allies that work in tandem with it. But what if you could identify fear, call it out and use it for positive gain?

How Salespeople Develop Fear

A fear of selling and fear of rejection among salespeople can occur in response to unforeseen situations during the process of closing the sale. For instance, it can occur when they experience rejection or cancelling by a high-profile client. It can also happen in anticipation or expectation of future challenges, such as explaining to leadership that significant potential customers are not renewing a product or service. This poses a threat to the opportunity for a promotion or financial bonus.

Fear is an emotional response induced by perceived danger or threat. The reaction to fear can cause physical changes and behavioural shifts. In extreme cases, the impact of fear can lead to a loss of control or an inability to think logically.

When you’re afraid, even activities that are part of life in the sales field, such as cold calling, sales pitches or listening to customers, can take weeks to solve. This even causes effective salespeople to doubt themselves.

As internal coping mechanisms kick in, their minds continue to be clouded with uncertainty, and the decision-making process becomes compromised as they look for a way out.

The variables to consider in conducting these activities are challenging. No manual can determine which salesperson, irrespective of experience, will be impacted by which stimulus and how the effect will manifest. The reaction will be unique to everyone, based on their beliefs, past experiences, expectations and value systems.

What Is the Solution?

As a starting point, each sales manager and leader must do more to address the stigma attached to dealing with fear, anxiety, worry, apprehension, panic and distress.

Leaders should recognise the negative influence fear has on a situation while encouraging individuals to talk to a colleague, manager or friend, or seek medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This is a great first step.

The ‘fight or flight ’ response also needs to be addressed. With the proper acknowledgement and support, you’ll help salespeople fuel the fighting response. With this, they can address and overcome the fear that prevents a rational approach and diminishes the crippling ‘flight’ (run away or head in the sand) response.

Facing your fear directly is not always the best option. First of all, it is necessary to prepare your physical and mental health. According to reliable medical reviewers, it has been proven that exercise and numerous complementary therapies (such as mindfulness, yoga, and meditation) can help control and manage the effects of fear or the feeling of stress.

Reducing fear in sales people

All fears, be they personal or work-related, should be openly discussed without judgement.

A well-structured programme and onboarding process can increase self-confidence while reducing a salesperson’s stress. This can help overcome potential fear stalemates before they happen. If the salesperson is prepared to overcome negative scenarios with their sales skills, they can see challenging situations as exceptional and stand firm against them.

“Fear can destroy confidence, create doubt and snatch the joy from life.”

The Results of Getting Rid of Fear For Salespeople

Creating an open, non-judgemental environment can lead to improved performance, greater loyalty, and a shift in mindset. If we want to change the perception of our industry, then we must transform our approach and act more kindly and compassionately.

Eliminating Fears at Their Source

It is not certain under what circumstances fear of selling or rejection will arise. But one thing is for sure: a mindset to prepare for potential challenges can drive fear away before it occurs.

Programmes offered by The Sales Coach Network aim to not only increase sales skills but also to increase the self-confidence of salespeople. If you want to unlock your sales potential while building an effective wall against fear, you can take a look at TSCN programmes for your team.

If you need further information, you can always contact us. We are more than happy to help. Download our brochure or book a call with us today.


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