When it comes to business success, the ability to sell and self-promote is essential – in fact, it’s arguably the most important skill a person can acquire.
Despite this being the case, the ability to sell is often overlooked. Many business owners will tell you that they didn’t go into business to become a salesperson; however their business’ success ultimately rides on their ability to promote their product or service.
Why do those who are new to sales struggle to succeed?
There are seven self-destructive mindsets that new salespeople fall into, and these “traps” are often the reasons why they struggle to find success.
The seven self-destructive mindsets of someone new to sales are:
1. The belief that you need to have “the gift of the gab.”
Many people believe that in order to become a successful salesperson, you need to have “the gift of the gab.” Not only that, they also believe that this “gift” is a talent that someone is born with, rather than a skill that can be acquired.
This belief simply isn’t true. While some people are naturally more extroverted and find the sales process easier to begin with, the so-called “gift of the gab” is certainly a skill that can be acquired via hard work and dedication. Over time, the salesperson who puts in the hard yards will find their results are better and more consistent than those “natural salespeople” who are born extroverts, yet fail to develop and further their skills.
An introvert can become a sales gun!
Those who consider themselves to be introverted often avoid potentially higher paying sales roles, as they believe that their personality type simply isn’t cut out to sell. This isn’t the case. Even more concerning is the introverted business owner that shies away from marketing their own business, stifled by false belief and lying to themselves that sales isn’t necessary. I often hear people like this saying, “With a good product the customers will come;” their business’ demise is inevitable.
While an introvert may find the sales environment challenging to begin with, there is no reason why they cannot become a successful salesperson. The extrovert’s “natural ability” may provide them with an initial advantage, but an introvert can learn.
The secret? Sales scripting. By mastering a sales script, it becomes possible for introverts to succeed – in fact, hard working introverts can often out-perform extroverts who take their “gift of the gab” for granted.
Many who are new to sales are concerned that a sales script may sound fake or forced. When poorly executed, they certainly can – but when you master a script and make it your own, the process becomes completely natural. In some ways it’s similar to a great actor: When they nail a particular role, their character becomes believable.
The bottom line? You don’t need to have the “gift of the gab” to succeed as a salesperson!
2. The excuse that sales skills weren’t taught in school.
Sales skills are often not taught in educational institutions – however, just because they are not part of the curriculum doesn’t mean they’re not important.
Sales is often touched on in degrees that focus on business and marketing, however, it’s never a core focus. Why? The majority of courses are designed to give students the skills necessary to gain employment in their chosen field and in the process contribute to society. Sales skills – despite their importance – are not necessary to fulfill this requirement, and therefore are commonly excluded.
A common belief is that you leave your choice of educational institution knowing everything that you need to know in terms of your chosen field. While in many ways this is true, unfortunately, knowing what you need to know in a chosen field and knowing what you need to be successful are not mutually exclusive terms. Those who are successful never stop learning, and if you’re seeking success outside of what a boss can provide then learning the art of selling and self-promotion is essential.
3. The realization that sales can be uncomfortable to begin with.
When you do anything for the first time – whether it’s public speaking or riding a horse – you’re probably going to be uncomfortable. It’s called moving beyond your comfort zone, and it’s usually an essential part of the journey towards success.
When it comes to sales, there’s no exception.
Those who are new to sales often find that the learning process can be uncomfortable – especially for those who aren’t blessed with that natural “gift of the gab.” The discomfort experienced leads some to question whether it’s all worth it – do they even have the potential to become a successful salesperson?
The fact is that for those who persist and work hard, the uncomfortable period will pass. Where things seem to go off the rails is when this discomfort is combined with the belief that you have to have the “gift of the gab.” The discomfort of the situation combined with the disbelief that the skill is learnable leads to a profound “no” when considering the question of whether it’s all worth it. So if you get one thing out of this article, make it that sales is a learnable skill like any other. Embrace the learning phase and push beyond your comfort zone.
Remember, a horse’s trot is always bouncy at first; however once you learn to rise to it, it becomes effortless!
4. The overwhelming fear of rejection.
Humans are programmed to avoid pain – it’s in our genetic makeup. Rejection falls under the “pain umbrella;” it is essentially a form of emotional pain.
For those who are new to sales in particular, the fear of rejection is very real. It can be difficult to separate yourself emotionally from the sales process, and when a prospective client says “no” to a product or service, it essentially feels as though they are saying “no” to you.
So how do you disconnect from the sales process emotionally and remove that fear of rejection?
The answer is the implementation of a sales system. With a system in place, you have a process to run through when meeting with prospective clients – and this process takes the emphasis away from you personally. If the prospective client says “no,” they’re not rejecting you – rather, they are rejecting the sales system (or a part of it) that you have used.
This not only makes it easier to disconnect and remove that element of fear, but also makes it easier to improve, as you can identify which part of the sales system let you down.
5. The debilitating fear of what other people think.
Humans are hard-wired to care about what others think. This is exemplified across many facets of our everyday lives, from caring about our physical appearance through to our hearts beating faster at the very thought of public speaking.
We care what others think for many reasons. We want to keep our “superiors” happy and avoid “getting in trouble.” We want to impress others and be accepted by our peers. At the end of the day, humans are programmed to live as part of a “herd;” we’re not solitary beings, and our behavior reflects this.
So how does this affect those who are new to sales? As a salesperson, you are constantly conversing with others – that is, prospective clients. Naturally, you care what these prospective clients think of you, and there are a number of questions that are bound to play in your mind:
Does the prospective client think I’m being dishonest?
Do I sound fake?
Am I coming across as a “try hard”?
Do I sound like an amateur?
These sorts of questions are common, and they all come back to the same point: we care about what others think. This mindset is outdated; a relic of thousands of years of living within a small tribe. In today’s modern society, this way of thinking simply isn’t productive. As a salesperson, it’s important that you’re able to move beyond this mindset.
Ultimately, if prospective clients aren’t given the opportunity to think poorly of you, then they probably haven’t been given the opportunity to think of you – or your products/services – at all. Success rides on putting yourself out there, and with the right preparation success can be achieved.
6. The belief that sales and self-promotion are immoral.
There’s no doubt about it: There are some dodgy salespeople out there. In fact, when the term “salesperson” is mentioned, it often conjures up the mental image of a greasy used car salesman – probably trying to sell some unsuspecting person a certified “lemon.”
Many people who are new to sales struggle with this concept; they constantly question whether their actions are in fact moral. Let’s face it, most people balk at the idea of achieving success via the expense of others – and the vast majority would avoid becoming that slimy used car salesman at all costs.
However, sales success doesn’t have to come at the expense of others – and the vast majority of salespeople do not fit the profile of a used car salesman. As someone who is new to sales, it’s important to understand that sales success doesn’t automatically equate to immoral actions.
The fact of the matter is that society wouldn’t function without salespeople. Products may be produced and services offered, but without someone to promote and sell them no one would be able to benefit from them.
As a salesperson, your job is to serve – not deceive. In fact, rather than referring to yourself as a salesperson, consider yourself a consultant or advisor. Ultimately, this is a more accurate job description as to sell and sell well you need to ask questions and provide a solution/benefit that the customer desires.
7. The anxiety of taking that first step.
“Approach anxiety” is a very real thing. It’s the first day of a new job, approaching a love interest for their phone number, or talking to your housemate about their appalling track record when it comes to washing dishes.
Whenever you have to do something for the first time, anxiety often sets in. In prehistoric times, this reaction was designed to save us from physical harm, however, in modern society it is merely an obstacle that holds us back from achieving our goals.
For those who are new to selling, those first few sales are sure to evoke a physiological response – sweaty palms, a racing heart beat, and a dry mouth. Overcoming this anxiety is achievable. The first time is always the hardest, and everything becomes easier as you learn the process and gain confidence.
When it comes to sales, it’s important to remember that you need to take those first steps in order to succeed – there’s no way around it.
So is it possible to overcome these self-destructive mindsets?
For those who are new to sales, these seven self-destructive mindsets are all too common. However, the good news is that it’s possible to overcome them.
It’s a matter of learning the sales process. Many people fail to realize that the ability to sell is a learnable skill – one that can be honed through hard work and dedication. Having that desirable “gift of the gab” can certainly help, but it is by no means the determining factor. Anyone can become a successful salesperson if they put their mind to it.
So what exactly is the sales process?
The sales process is a series of steps that are designed to lead prospective clients from that initial introduction through to signing on the dotted line. It is essentially a script that allows for more consistent, successful sales interactions. A carefully constructed sales script provides those who are new to sales with the tools necessary to overcome any of these potentially self-destructive mindsets.
Free yourself and find success.
Whether you’re struggling to overcome that initial “approach anxiety,” or simply believe that your introverted personality isn’t “cut out for sales,” I can help.
I wasn’t born with “the gift of the gab” – my success was achieved through hard work, dedication and sound advice.
Don’t let a self-destructive mindset hold you back. Whether you’re a natural salesperson who needs to hone their skills, or someone who finds the entire concept daunting.
I wasn’t given the key to success; I learned how to craft that key, and you can too!
Publishers note – originally published at https://matthewpollard.com on August 22, 2015.