What Has You too Afraid to Sell?
Some of the best sales advice I was ever given came to me about a year after I started my career. That would have made me about 22-years old. Insert flashback here.
I was selling in Worcester, MA, some 30 miles or so from the main office where my sales manager, Mike Powers, prowled. Mike and I were talking and he asked for a review of my top 10 accounts and top 10 prospects. What sounded to me like reasons why I hadn’t closed a lot of business must have come across to him as lame excuses.
After listening for a while, Mike said, “Bill, you need to go piss someone off. If you do, you’ll sell a lot more.”
Mike’s point, he explained, was that I was too nice a guy and backed down much too quickly when I heard an objection. Naturally my “Nuh-uh” self-defense system kicked in and I went into denial, complete with fetal positioning on the floor. I did not take criticism very well back then. But, like any self-torturing sales type, I replayed the conversation over and over in my head until it finally got through my thick skull and I heard what Mike was trying to tell me.
In cheerleader’s terms, he wanted me to be aggressive. B-E aggressive! OK, that advice is a lot easier for me to understand and follow.
As it turns out, he was right (it only took me 29 years to admit it, Mike). Once I started pushing back and showing a little backbone, sales increased and my confidence grew. I never did make it to the Glengarry Glen Ross division, but I learned to be ready for a fight and to engage. In short, I learned to overcome my fear.
What are you afraid of? That is, what is the worst thing that could happen if you got a tad (or a smidge) more aggressive with your selling efforts?
- The customer says the price is too high and you justify it instead of “sharpening your pencil.”
- A job is rejected because of a petty complaint and you fight urge to reprint just to appease.
- You call a client that you’ve been fruitlessly pursuing and ask, “What’s it going to take for me to get an order from you?”
No one is asking you to become a Drill Sargeant, but would it kill you not to fold like a cheap tent?
Bill Farquharson is a partner at Idealliance. As a print-specific sales trainer, Farquharson applies a fundamentally-sound approach to his coaching, online programs (found at sales.epicomm.org), and live presentations. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (781) 934-7036 to discuss your sales challenges.