In sales, confidence plays a key role. Like professional athletes, salespeople need confidence in order to execute their carefully-constructed plans – especially when the pressure is high.
Confidence must be carefully balanced. Too much, and a sales professional risks missing important information; too little, and they risk missing a key opportunity.
Here are three ways to build confidence and use it tactfully when selling.
1. Accept that you can and will prevail.
Often, the difference between success and failure “in the clutch” is the presence or absence of a sense that you can and will prevail. The moment second guesses and self-doubt begin to creep in, the more likely it is that you will fall prey to their negativity and fail.
Success doesn’t happen simply by wishing for it: Hard work is a necessary foundation from which to launch your approach to risks. When the risk appears, however, it’s important to build a foundation you trust, so that you can continue to visualize success and trust that you’re capable of overcoming obstacles.
2. Take an honest look at obstacles.
Confidence becomes cockiness when sales professionals use it as an excuse to avoid seeing challenges and obstacles in their path. “I can prevail” is not the same attitude as “Everything will get out of my way.”
To maintain strong confidence, be honest about obstacles in your path. See them for what they are: An opportunity to innovate, learn, or change your approach in order to improve your own skills as a sales professional. Say to yourself, “Yes, this is an obstacle – and here’s what I will do about it.”
3. Embrace your own ability to improve.
A confidence that won’t allow you to accept constructive criticism is too brittle to help you under pressure. Instead, focus on cultivating the kind of confidence that takes a realistic look at the world, cultivating the humility necessary to know that you can always improve.
When you remember that the ability to learn is one of the strongest tools you have on your side, you become better able to prevail against obstacles. You gain the resilience of knowing that no matter what a customer or economic downturn throws at you, you can learn what you need to know to handle the problem.
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