“Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion; you must set yourself on fire”
Arnold H. Glasgow
If you’re like me, and most business owners I work with, you started your business because you have a particular talent, skill, or passion; not because you like, or want to sell. Although some sales people do start companies (I believe it’s the exception), most business owners have no experience or training in sales. From this perspective, it’s easy to see why resistance to selling quickly becomes a stumbling block to success and more immediately, the cause of much day-to-day stress and worry.
I hate to speak the obvious but; sales ARE the backbone of every businesses success. If you’re in the marketplace to make a living, you have to be out there selling – unless of course you have a sales force, and even THEN you still need to be able to sell your own product. I can’t think of a single exception to the rule. It’s kind of like what’s inevitable about life itself – nobody gets out alive. In business – no body has a successful business without having to sell.
Did you think about having to sell when you first started your business? Commonly, most business owners in the start up stage don’t. And if you did think about having to sell, I bet it brought up fear and resistance, and you didn’t deal with it. Am I right? You were primarily focused on developing your business, providing products or services, and creating a marketing strategy, but I bet you really didn’t think about training to become a sales person. Why is this?
That’s what I’m going to invite you to explore – my assumption that every small business owner is to SOME degree sales phobic. Where does sales phobia come from? Better question yet, what specifically is YOUR sales phobia? What are you afraid of when you think about selling?
Here are some common fears and resistances about selling: Can you find yours here?
• Fear of rejection. Let’s face it, no-one likes hearing the word no.
• Negative images of the used car salesman, “what can I do to put you in this car today?” Or, bait and switch tactics often associated with sales.
• High pressure, any pressure. No integrity, talking someone into something they don’t want or need, just to get money from them.
• A possible problem with your product – you’re afraid something negative might surfacing during the selling process.
• Selling’s not spiritual – enough said.
• Lack of confidence, in yourself or, in your product.
Can you relate to one or more of these? No wonder you resist selling! A critical step to understanding and overcoming your resistance to sales is to first pinpoint what it is that you’re afraid of. What you’re resisting. What I know about human behavior is -we resist things that we don’t want to feel. It makes good sense; we develop this as a self preservation strategy. But, if you just allow that strategy to keep operating, you have no chance of moving beyond your fears and into meaningful action. In truth, it’s not selling per se that you’re afraid of; it’s what you associate with it. If you look for the reasons behind your fear, you can then come up with solutions and deal with it.
Here’s a scenario to further illustrate my point. I will demonstrate how sales phobia often plays out. See if you can find yourself in this scene:
You’re sitting at your desk with the intention of making sales calls. You know it’s a crucial activity to generate business. Your phone is ready; your call list is ready. You’re just about to pick up the phone and then it occurs to you. You left dishes in the sink. You go do the dishes. You get back – then you check email, then you have to get a snack, the phone rings….on and on until you get to the end of the day and have made zero calls.
Unfortunately, this common scenario will go on day after day until you finally conclude that you are just TOO busy to make sales calls. When you find yourself here you need to STOP and get suspicious about what’s really going on with you. This is where you will find your fear operating beneath the surface. Let’s explore what’s going on inside you.
Say for example you discover you have a fear of rejection. Think about where that fear came from. When were you rejected in the past? Find an example. Maybe you’ll find you weren’t picked for the basketball team. In that moment when you felt rejected you promised your self never to put yourself in a position to be rejected again. Voile! That’s where it starts. Now, fast forward back to the present. There you are – about to make a sales call and run the likely risk of getting a NO – being rejected. Are you surprised you’d rather go do the dishes than make the call? Here’s your old strategy rearing up to protect you to honor a promise you made to yourself long ago.
Where’s the way out? Go back in time and reconsider the original rejection. It hurt; you were a little person with a limited capacity to process experience. Perhaps you even made conclusions about life or yourself with not enough information. In any event, you understandably registered the event as painful. Now, come back to the present and remind yourself that you are an adult. You have a much larger capacity to feel, deal with and process information. Ask yourself, what does it mean for someone to say no to you now -without any of the false meaning attached?
Can you pick up the phone now and make the call knowing if you DO get a no, you’re going to be ok?
This is the way out of sales phobia and into sales action. After you face and demythologize your fear, you may discover that you need some sales training in addition to shore up your skill and confidence. That’s easy to access. You also may discover the need to solve problems with your product so you can more easily sell with confidence -also do-able.
Decide to face your sales phobia and solve it. Honestly, it’s the only way you are going to be successful generating much needed revenue for your business. Turn your sales phobia around. Start today. Go sell.
It’s YOUR life…imagine the possibilities!