Build & Protect Your Confidence

I can remember the first time that I had to get new customers from a cold start. I was a sales rep at IBM. I had only been selling for a short while since graduating from college, and I didn't really know what to do.

When I started working for IBM, I was given extensive sales training. My sales training period took me 9 months, which you may be surprised to learn was considered fast back in 1987! IBM wanted its salespeople to be well prepared to sell any of its products to any business that wanted them.

So you'd think that I would've been well prepared for sales prospecting with all that sales training.

I wasn't.

Our sales training did not give me any advice on sales prospecting or lead generation.

IBM's sales training was very good, but I started out being groomed for large account sales. After my first year of working on a large account, I was moved into IBM's new business group. Even though I was excited about this new challenge, it was not what I had been trained for.

Fortunately, I had a great sales manager who new how to create new business. One of the things he suggested was that I get my year off to a quick start by running a seminar for the medical groups and hospitals in my territory.

If he had not suggested this to me, I might have gotten intimidated or frustrated at the idea of making cold calls to generate all of my new business.

I ran the seminar, and it turned out to be a big success generating many sales leads. My year was off to a fast start, and I was feeling pretty confident about my sales abilities.

I tell you this story, because sales confidence is in many ways a fragile thing. Success builds on itself. Too many salespeople are thrown out there with a sink or swim attitude by their management. If I hadn't had the help of a great team of people around me at IBM, I probably would have been frustrated and hated cold calling and prospecting. And, I most likely wouldn't have had the stellar year that 1989 turned out to be for me.

Confidence is often created through positive experiences. However, what do you do when you have little experience in something like generating new business or making cold calls?

You find confidence, by looking for a way to do something that you personally believe you can actually do. The key is belief. You must believe that you personally can actually do it.

One of my clients who wants to grow his business recently felt unwilling or unable to make cold calls. Why? Because he hates being the target of cold calls himself. You know the kind. The telephone rings, and after a long pause, some telemarketer asks for you by mispronouncing your name. And then they try to keep you on the line forever at dinner time.

The thought of making such a call on a business was very demeaning to my client, as I am sure it is to many of us.

Bad selling by masses of poorly trained telemarketers makes it difficult for many of us to sell well. When we experience cold calls such as these we don't want to appear like this ourselves. It makes us ashamed to be in sales, even fearful of making cold calls.

As a result, many people hate the thought of making cold calls. It doesn't fit into their self-image as professionals. A loathing starts to creep in at the thought of making a cold call. It builds to the point where one can't, or won't, make the call.

So how do you get past the fear to a state of confidence without any experience?

Follow these steps:

  • Find a technique that you believe you can perform. One where you will feel respected, helpful, useful, valuable, whatever.
  • Find examples of people, preferably like yourself, who are using the new technique successfully. Recognize that you can succeed precisely because someone else is already doing this successfully.
  • In my client's case, I explained that true cold calls are the ones made to people who have never heard of you or been exposed to your message before in anyway. Not only are these kinds of calls difficult, they are not very productive precisely because they have never heard your message.

    So I made the simple recommendation that he warm-up these calls by preparing a direct mail sales letter to send to his target market first. Now my client found something that he believed that he could do. The prospects would receive a letter in advance written by a professional copywriter. Not only will he get some hot leads calling him out of this effort, but he feels confident about making calls to the remaining warmed up prospects.

    What's important here?

    Make sure you plan for success. Choose a strategy that is proven to work by others. By doing this, you can have the confidence to persist in the strategy if at first it does not work as perfectly as you had hoped.

    When you are stuck, get into action by finding a method that someone else is using successfully. Notice the challenges they overcame and how they did this.

    Sometimes it's the small steps that matter most on the way to greater sales success.

    © 1999-2004 Shamus Brown, All Rights Reserved.

    Shamus Brown is a Professional Sales Coach and former high-tech sales pro who began his career selling for IBM. Shamus has written more than 50 articles on selling and is the creator of the popular Persuasive Selling Skills CD Audio Program. You can read more of Shamus Brown's sales tips at http://Sales-Tips.industrialEGO.com/ and you can learn more about his persuasive sales skills training at http://www.Persuasive-Sales-Skills.com/

    In The News:

    Tagore London house for sale  Telegraph India

    Is Cold Calling Dead?

    Is cold calling dead? And if laws are being passed... Read More

    Your Best Friend - The Phone

    We all know that you can't earn your commission until... Read More

    Where to Find Mannequins for Sale

    Any time a clothing store opens or expands, they must... Read More

    Touchdown! Closing Skills for Successful Selling

    It's early January 2004. The Green Bay Packers are just... Read More

    Another Warm Lead

    Saturday morning, I sat in my pajamas, sipping strong, black... Read More

    15 Ways To Get Really Motivated

    First, recognize that motivation is an inside job. The word... Read More

    How to Generate Leads on the Internet

    In the last decade, the Internet has become a major... Read More

    Going Global: Communication Across Mental Boundaries

    A completed communication consists of a sender and a receiver.... Read More

    Forgive All Ebay Sins!

    Over the years, I have been amazed at... Read More

    Three Ways to Get More Referrals

    When you are in the business of sales, among the... Read More

    Sales 101: Handling The Angry Customer

    I am often reminded of the following true story whenever... Read More

    YOUR Future Profits -- Protect Source With CARE

    At 21 years, just out of Business College, I went... Read More

    Ten Tips for Choosing the Right Direct Sales Company

    Direct sales can be your ticket to a profitable home-based... Read More

    How A Simple Greeting Or Post Card Can Turn Into Cash ? Guaranteed

    I've been using a technique that has helped me to... Read More

    Reviving Dead Clients

    Most consultants I've talked to don't spend any time trying... Read More

    Secrets to Buying Without Being Sold

    Have you ever asked yourself, now how did I let... Read More

    10 Mistakes That Reduce Profitability

    In my professional experience as a sales and marketing coach/consultant,... Read More

    Stuff We Make Up About Our Prospects

    ? Go through the "no's" to get to "yes." ?... Read More

    Your Proposal Was Rejected... But Why?

    When a request for proposal (RFP) comes in, you get... Read More

    Breaking Through The Comfort Zone Barrier

    After completing a workshop on personal productivity or time management,... Read More

    Creating Your Perfect Pitch!

    Why should you describe your business to others in 5... Read More

    When the Nose of the Camel is in the Tent

    My new job was to sell Commercial Service Agreements. It... Read More

    Instead of Discounting, Back Some Value Out of Your Proposal

    Last minute discounting has become so prevalent that many companies... Read More

    How To Make The Most Out of a Business Networking Event

    You're not alone. Most people are uncomfortable walking into a... Read More

    Aamazing Tips To Increase Your Sales

    1. When you make your first sale, follow-up with the... Read More