FAR TOO MANY SALES ISSUES ARE THERE BECAUSE OF FEAR
One of my favouite authors, Zig Ziglar, has a wonderful saying I quote often, it’s, “You can have anything you want in life, provided you give others what they want first.” But it’s just not a great saying, it’s also probably the reason so many people go into sales in the first place. That’s what got me into sales in the first place, and that has kept me there now for near on 53 years.
Having said that, I can personally go on to tell you of the countless rewards that the industry has blessed me with, the wonderful places I have been to, the luxuries I have enjoyed and the people I have been lucky enough to meet that have helped shape my life. Many will never know how much of an impact they’ve had on me or how they’ve influenced my lifestyle, my friendships and my focus. These are the ones I met reading their books, listening to them on reel to reel tape, audio cassette, CD and now mp3, watching them on 16mm film, video cassette, DVD and mp4, or attending their breakfasts, keynote talks and seminars. Some of them I have been lucky enough to have met in person and yet others I have been even luckier, I shared a stage with them as a trainer or a public speaker. There are also so many, many others that I’ve had the privilege of working with or managing over the years. All are my hero’s because of their influence on my life in one way or another.
Many of them have also been with me through the tough times, although they’ll probably never know when, how often and to what depth. Yet if it wasn’t for their timely guidance, or the influence they’ve had on others that have helped me by lending me an audio tape, book or video that helped me through when times got really, really tough, and they did.
But today, it’s my turn to repay each and every one of them by contributing that which I’ve spent so much time learning about that has help so many I’ve met face to fact to understand one specific part of sales that very few people want to think about let alone discuss. That is the fear factors in sales.
For the past 35 years I’ve been training salespeople, managing them for over 30 years and studying their craft for about the same period of time. During that time the one thing that has reared its ugly head more than any other, in my opinion, has been the way FEAR has both gripped and controlled to way so many salespeople have performed – or have not been able to perform . . . because of fear. To say that it has become a pet study of mine, would have to be an understatement. I truly would have to say I have become obsessed by it and am concerned that it has not become a major issue in the minds of Governments, Business Owners, Managers and Trainers. But it should be.
In my opinion, fears are a profound productivity buster that drain the energy from potentially good salespeople and makes the sales process emotionally difficult for them.
The fears that are the most commonly recognised Fears in sales are as follows:
The fear of rejection,
The fear of loss,
The fear using the telephone,
The fear of door canvassing,
The fear of not being prepared,
The fear of presentation,
The fear of group selling,
The fear of generating leads.
The fear of working referrals and a host of others.
All of the above fears have the potential to jeopardise existing relationships with sales and your company’s customers and stand in the way of one call sales and with the acquiring new customers — resulting in loss revenue for all types of businesses and a loss income for salespeople throughout the total sales spectrum.
This is an opinion of mine based on the research I have undertaken (a I stress here I am neither a psychology major or have any recognised medical or related qualifications), and in my opinion, dealing with those fears is something that may be relatively easy to overcome. So now I guess I’ve become an easy target to any hot headed academic that’s neither sold nor managed a sales force (at least once) in their entire academic career. So be it.
Again I cautiously say that in today’s litigatory environment, those sales managers and trainers who tell everyone from sales rookies to seasoned professionals that they should do the things you fear the most and the problem will go away need their heads read. These people haven’t a clue what harm they are doing.
Furthermore, I again stress this is my opinion based on real life examples and experience, but if certain salespeople can’t do something, accept it. Then when they’ve got their head around it and work out how to do it, the sales manager or trainer should help them go to the next level. That’s the reason why good sales managers have always achieved good results and probably always will. And that’s why they get paid the big dollars they do – because they are good at what they do . . . yes, they get paid well for getting results.
Another of the areas that I wholeheartedly disagree with many of those sales mangers and trainers that tend to write off so much of what really happens to salespeople struggling with fear issues on call reluctance. Yet here too, one needs to be careful as to how much is lumped into the box called call reluctance.
Here too, and again in my opinion, call reluctance perhaps the most overworked excuse ever allowed to enter the sales profession. There are obviously some genuine example of call reluctance, and for those familiar with my other works, you will be aware that this one subject tends to be perhaps the greatest ONE PROBLEM AREA facing the modern salesforce in Australia today.
I have also devoted due proportional space to the problem of call reluctance, together with the challenges and problems faced by genuine salespeople with call reluctance.
With the issue of call reluctance, if one was to purely generalise, it may be the main reason for a number of issues affecting world-wide sales-forces today. Issues such as:
i) It is bigger and more wide spread than most executives will admit to.
ii) It is statistically the main reason for a high turnover in a sales force.
iii) Sales experts tell us over 84% of salespeople suffer from it.
iv). My own personal research suggests that figure could exceed 95%.
Despite all that, I don’t believe this excuse named Call Reluctance to be the culprit most make it out to be. The reality is, the majority of that which is labelled call reluctance by well meaning individuals is not call reluctance either in the medical or academic sense.
I therefore offer the following explanation as a more accurate guide to some of the other sales force problems that are generally labelled as call reluctance.
In fact, most of what many believe to be Call Reluctance is usually nothing more than one of four basic FEAR syndromes. But before I do that, please allow me to explain why those problems exist in the first place. And those problems generally exist because of a lack of the foundational concept known as effective focusing.
To every one else, the person who seems motivated, has the sales goals and is reluctant to cold call, or to self promote or any other form of so called call reluctance (in the opinion of the academic and self styled expert) is legitimately fearful. And I agree he or she is legitimately fearful as well.
I’ll now go on to add, that in my opinion, forcing that person to make cold calls on the telephone or door to door, or to force them to self promote is only imbedding the fear deeper. It’s like pounding a nail into a person’s leg and at the same time telling them to think positive and it won’t hurt. What bullshit. (Now you know how passionate I am about this issue).
Fears in the sales profession are real, and are based primarily on feeling we establish when we allow ourselves to mindlessly recite any number of self-limiting thoughts. Then to overcome those self-imposed and distressful gut wrenching feelings, we must create a way to replace that fear producing self-talk with non-fear-producing statements.
If that sounds complicated – it’s not, and I pray that every one of my readers will feel they have a workable solution to what is distressing them now by the time they finish reading this chapter. If they don’t, perhaps they should read it over and over until they do.
This information has really worked for those that have given it a genuine try. We all know that the profession called Sales can be a stressful business that can cause any degree of negative mind chatter in a person. It can also conjure up all kinds of unpleasant thoughts at times that the salesperson needs a helping hand from a challenging situation.
Yet everything I’ve mentioned so far, are the reasons and the driving force that has contributed to and motivated me to write this book.
It’s what drives me to see really talented people stay in the sales profession that would otherwise leave sales not too long after they were drawn into sales – something I’ve never managed to get my head around . . . and now that I’m well past 60, I still can’t seem to get my head around it either.
In order to write this sector of the book, I have intertwined a good deal of new material that has been purposely written for this chapter with extracts from two of my former books written around 15 years apart, “Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale” where I delved into this subject for the very first time (based on information I had researched as much as 15 years earlier, and as far back as the early 1980’s and 19190’s) and it appears I was amongst the first of selling book authors to do so, and a more recent publication, “Selling Basics the won’t let you down.”
On this occasion I haven’t written a book here, I’ve created an epic document based on my personal indulgences
The fear of rejection, The fear of loss, The fear using the telephone, The fear of door canvassing, The fear of not being prepared, The fear of presentation, The fear of group selling, The fear of generating leads. The fear of working referrals
This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 50 years, Peter Collins has focused on helping and bringing out the best in others – whether it involves training or mentoring salespeople, managers, business consulting to SME’s. Since the 1970’s Peter has built a reputation as a Nationally and Internationally Published author, and of the 130 books he has written over the past 48 years, Peter has 65 Business Books to his credit, (but he is mainly known for one book based on the Audio Tape series of the same name, Over 50 Ways of Closing the Sale). Peter also has written 23 Christian books. One of Peter’s books, sold almost 2 million copies in the late 1970’s and is still selling well through second hand online marketers worldwide. In his personal life, Peter has been sought after as an encourager and motivator that has given of his time and talents freely despite his busy schedule. Subsequently, he has assisted churches, pastors, community and charity groups, as well as individuals through his teaching, training, development and on-going mentoring.
© Copyright Peter Collins, Profit Maker Sales, Sydney, Australia, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, all rights reserved.
Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com
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