Confidence is often seen as a magic ingredient, but one that we have no real power to create or influence, like a physical characteristic.
My clients will often say something like,
“This rep has great potential, if she could just work on her confidence” or “As a team, we lack confidence, and until that changes, we won’t increase our sales”.
It is true that confidence can overcome almost any deficiency or weakness. Give me a choice between hiring a confident person or a skilled one, and I will always choose confidence. Skills can be taught. Confidence is hard to create. Unless you know the recipe. Confidence isn’t a hard skill like welding or physical strength, but there is a way to enhance it.
It starts by acknowledging that lack of confidence is NOT the problem. Lack of the correct beliefs is the problem. Show me a salesperson who lacks confidence and I will show you a salesperson who has embraced a set of beliefs incompatible with sales success.
An account executive who lacks confidence in making cold calls is one who BELIEVES that calling on someone unannounced is intrusive, rude, and provides no value to the person being called on. An account executive who has confidence in making cold calls is one who BELIEVES that the subject matter of his cold call is of crucial importance to the prospect.
An account executive who lacks confidence calling on C-Level prospects is one who BELIEVES that those execs all judge someone by their title and not by the relevance of their offering.
An account executive who has the confidence to walk away from a deal is one who BELIEVES that opportunity is abundant, and that the next client is just around the corner.
If you want to tackle the confidence issue (your own or someone else’s), start by identifying what beliefs reduce that confidence and what new beliefs would empower it if they were adopted.
Identify those beliefs and write them down. Debate them with your team members and/or leadership. Play the devil’s advocate and push on every loophole and fault you can find.
– Does our product/service work?
– If I was one of our clients, would I buy it? Why or why not?
– Is it worth the money we ask for it?
– Is our price appropriate to the market?
– What is the weakest aspect of our offering? How does THAT compare to the competition’s offering?
If you don’t build confidence around the answers to those questions when you ask them, how do you expect the clients to believe them when they ask you?
Your solution does not need to be perfect. Nothing is. But your belief in your solution needs to be bulletproof. There are some people who can sell something they don’t believe in. We call those people con artists. That’s not what a sales professional does or is.
There are plenty of people who want and/or need what you sell. THAT belief is a prerequisite to sales success. If you don’t believe that, then you know what you need to do. Build the list of questions and start building that belief. If you feel that you cannot get there, then I respectfully and strongly recommend you find something else to sell. The world does not need more con artists.