For many entrepreneurs, the thought of "sales" feels unnatural and uncomfortable. In fact, many entrepreneurs hate selling. This is sort of ironic, since sales fuel the success of a business.
And if you think you can simply hire salespeople to handle your selling for you, you're wrong.
It's impossible to be a good business owner or successful entrepreneur without knowing how to sell. You don't have to love it, but you do have to master it.
Why We Hate Sales
There are very few people who are born with an intrinsic desire and ability to sell. They do exist -- and typically enjoy very successful careers -- but they are few and far between.
If you're like most people, cold calling, presentations, and conference room meetings don't rank near the top of your "fun things to do" list. In fact, the idea of sales may be something you detest or avoid at all costs.
Why is that? Well, there are a few possible reasons.
- Negative connotations. For most of us, the word "salesman" stirs up negative connotations. We think about the used car salesman on TV who seems sleazy, manipulative, annoying, and inauthentic. Or we remember an experience we had with an aggressive telemarketer. Because we don't want to be seen as any of these things, we often avoid sales altogether.
- Lack of confidence. The second reason people dislike sales is a lack of confidence. Some people simply aren't confident in their ability to convince someone to buy what they're presenting. The good news is that this is a rather easy hindrance to overcome.
- Fear of rejection. The third primary reason for a distaste of sales is fear of rejection. In fact, you could argue this is the most common culprit. People don't like to be denied or shut down, and because rejection is a major part of sales, many choose to forgo the awkwardness and pain that comes with it.
In most cases, our hatred of sales stems from one of these three reasons. The good news is that you can overcome any and all of these by focusing on a few different things.
5 Tips for Overcoming a Fear of Sales
Let's take a look at some of the top tips for overcoming a fear of sales without compromising your career or business.
1. Reframe Your Mindset
The first key to overcoming a fear of sales is reframing your mindset. You must stop looking at the old concept of sales as a one-way street and start grasping the new reality of the business world.
Thanks to the internet, today's buyers are more educated than ever before. A social proof study showed that nearly 70% of online consumers look at a product review prior to making a purchase. It could be argued that the buyer is in charge of today's sales process -- not the seller.
By reframing your mindset and understanding that your job isn't to trick or manipulate the buyer into making a purchase decision, you're freed up to focus on engaging customers, answering questions, and selling the value behind your products.
2. Focus on the Individual
All too often, salespeople place their primary emphasis on the products they're selling.
Unfortunately, this is the wrong way to look at it. If you want to be successful in sales, you must focus on the individual over the product.
What pain points do they have, and how is your product the right solution?
Start with the individual and close with the product. If your initial approach is to sell the product without speaking to the prospect, you're messing up.
A good example of this can be seen on Pagely's homepage messaging.
When I was looking to purchase WordPress hosting for my site, their tagline spoke to me and the sales agent made sure to make my needs the focus.
3. Understand Your Value Proposition
While your focus should be on the individual you're selling to, this isn't an excuse to be unprepared. You must have a clear understanding of your value proposition. The reason this is important is that it provides a boost to your confidence.
The more you know about what you're selling, the more confident you'll be.
You won't be afraid of questions and will feel you're able to deal with anything thrown your way. This also mitigates the fear of failure, since you know you won't be rejected based on a lack of knowledge or preparation.
4. Leverage Personal Stories
Sales has and always will be directly tied to storytelling. Customers connect with anecdotes and experiences more than they do with a straightforward call to action or cold sales script. If you aren't relaying stories to your sales prospects, you're missing out on a number of leads.
A good example of how storytelling impacts sales can be found in the 1986 box office hit, Top Gun. In the movie, Tom Cruise's character wears Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses. After the movie was released, sales for these sunglasses jumped 40 percent.
The reason was that the movie sold customers on the fact that Ray-Ban Aviator sunglasses were cool. The film didn't come out and say, "Here's why you should buy these sunglasses."
Instead, it framed them in the concept of a story. The good news for those who fear selling is that storytelling is very natural and effortless.
5. Don't Rush the Process
The fifth and final tip is to avoid rushing the process. Much of the stress and anxiety related to sales is rooted in the idea that you must close the deal quickly.
This simply isn't true. In most industries, it takes time to develop a relationship with a prospect.
When you understand that you have time to close a deal, you feel much less pressure to perform. Instead, you can take your time and invest in building a relationship - not talking someone into a purchase.
Very few people find the art of selling easy. However, millions of people have overcome their initial fear of sales and gone on to have successful careers that are rooted in their ability to close deals. Leverage the tips mentioned in this article and you'll be well on your way to loving sales.
Liked this article? Check out my article on 5 helpful tips for introverted entrepreneurs, Revenue vs Profit - what entrepreneurs should focus on, and 6 steps to improve your website domain authority.