When you have your own business, part of your job is to sell your products, skills or services to potential clients. And yet, after doing the accounts, selling is the job that most business owners dread the most.
When it comes to selling, many of us feel anxious and ill-prepared. But it's something we all have to get good at it if we're to succeed in business. Without it, there'll be no customers, no sales and no income.
So, short of paying someone else to sell on your behalf, how do you learn to get comfortable with selling?
Here are 5 common fears of selling and how to overcome them.
1. Fear of rejection
One of the most common fears about selling is the fear of rejection - when a potential client says "No", whether it's because they think you're too expensive, or they're just not ready to commit to taking action.
Common sense dictates that not everyone is going to buy your stuff, but it can still be hard not to take it personally, especially when you're new at the game.
However, rather than focus on the negatives, it's important to keep things in perspective.
Accept that an occasional no is normal. One rejection does not constitute failure. However, even failure comes with its own lessons.
"If fear of failure prevents you from pursuing your dreams or designing your life or business the way you want it to be, you may never attain your goals and experience the true happiness and success that comes from this."
- Richard Branson
2. Fear of making a bad first impression
First impressions count. So the fear that you will make a bad one and ruin the chance to present your services and how you can genuinely help your clients can make you really nervous.
Dress for confidence: Looking your best will help you feel more confident, even if you're doing your sales call on the phone and the other person can't see you. It'll also puts you in a professional mindset.
Stop talking about yourself: You're not trying to impress the other person. Instead, focus on listening. Ask questions to find out how you can help. For example:
- How can I help you?
- What are you struggling with the most right now?
- What are your top priorities?
- What help do you need to get unstuck?
- What do you want to achieve?
Asking questions not only gives you the opportunity to find out how you can best serve your clients, it'll also shift the focus from you to them, and take the pressure off having to make a great impression.
3. Fear of appearing pushy
A lot of people have an aversion to sales because of the stigma surrounding it. For many, sales is associated with sleazy and unsavoury practices like lying, manipulation and trickery.
However, if you truly believe in what you have to offer and genuinely think that you can help people, then selling is really just a means you use to share your services with those who need your help. No manipulation or lying is necessary when you believe in what you do.
So, shift your focus from selling to helping. Choose to see yourself as a passionate advocate for how you or your business can solve people's problems, improve lives and genuinely make a difference.
That way, you'll see sales as more of an educational exercise: explaining what you do and how it can help.
"As long as you know that you're pairing your customers with the right solutions, and that you're sharing with them products and services you love, there's nothing pushy about that."
- Robert Brady
4. Fear of self promotion
Many of us have been brought up to not draw attention to ourselves and not to brag. When you're selling a product or service that you've created yourself, it can often be difficult to talk about how great it is.
Flip this around. If the same product or service has been created by a friend instead, would you be excited and enthusiastic to talk about it and recommend it? If the answer is yes, then you know that your offering is genuinely worth paying for. This will make asking for a sale easier.
5. Fear of feeling like a fraud
Even though you want to make a sale, you fear that if the person says yes, you won't be able to deliver what you've promised.
Keep track of your results: Make sure you collect testimonials and track results from clients you've helped in the past. Read through them when you need a boost of confidence.
Listen to positive feedback: Find ways to improve your services so you're always delivering optimal results to your clients. You won't feel like an imposter if you know you can deliver results.
Don't be attached to the outcome
Be willing to get to know the person you're selling to. It's all about building trusted relationships. Each time you have a conversation with a potential client is an opportunity for you to make a difference.
Accept that some people will say no, and that's okay. Focus on how you can help your potential clients instead of making the sale. Be detached to the outcome. Often, why people make the choices they do is not within your control. Just do your best to share your offerings.
If a sales call hasn't gone well, it's an opportunity to learn how to do it better next time.