THE FEAR OF FAILURE IN SALES
The Fear of Failure is perhaps the most widely accepted substitute to the real problem of Call Reluctance. Yet it is not Call Reluctance, it is nothing more or nothing less than the Fear of Failure.
Now let me add, Call Reluctance is a real issue to some, but to most in sales it’s a time convenient COP OUT to avoid do that which needs to be done, in order to achieve that which needs to be achieved. The real issue is again is the Fear of Failure. That’s right, the Fear of Failure. And its the Fear of Failure that needs to be dealt with, if you’re to have a breakthrough. You can call it Call Reluctance, or any one of a dozen other names, but it still comes down to it being the Fear of Failure.
So then how do you correct this first point? That’s simple. Most people fear what they don’t aim at, or fear the unknown. And most of that fear usually exists because they are disorganized – they simply don’t make enough appointments. The fact is, you can only sell as many as you appoint. If you don’t make enough appointments YOUR Performance Expectations INCREASE and as the pressure increases, so does the Fear of Failure.
Look back at your most successful periods. It was when you were the most active – you were TOO BUSY TO FEAR FAILURE. So let me repeat that. As you level of appointments decreases, your Performance Expectations INCREASE and as the pressure goes up, so does the Fear of Failure.
Here’s a Vivid Example of the Fear of Failure
Say if you decide that you need at least twelve sales this coming week in order to achieve your budget. You’ve carefully considered what needs to done, what method of attack you need to employ in order to accomplish that task? Your closing average is around one sale in every three calls made. Your plan is to make a minimum of 36 fresh presentations for the week. You’ve put aside Monday to make the necessary appointments and you need a half a day on Friday to clean up any loose calls for the week. That leaves a minimum of 10 presentations for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and 6 for Friday.
But now you’ve realised you’ve left yourself little room for error, and what will happen if a few appointments aren’t kept and a few others are cancelled. So you decide to start a little earlier and work a little later each day to make for these possibilities. You even consider working Saturday as well. Then Monday arrives and you begin to make your appointments. But unlike previous attempts, this time decision makers don’t act favourably towards you or your product, others aren’t available on the day, and still others are in meetings and the like.
This is something that has never happened to you before, you’ve always either cold called or made appointments on the run. Because of this your figures have been below expectations, and now you are working the preferred company plan and its not working out.
At the end of Monday you’ve only managed five appointments for Wednesday, four for Thursday and three for Friday. At this time you feel the pressure of the Fear of Failure as you have not managed to meet your minimum in the area of your personal Performance Expectations.
The next day you only manage to add two more appointments to the Wednesday and one more to Thursday. A total of only 15 for the week of the 36 minimum you expected to get. This is the second day you have not achieved your personal minimum Performance Expectations. Because if this, your calculations tell you that at best you can now only sell 5 of the 12.
As your Performance Expectations go down your Fear of Failure increases. And you now go out to sell. The result for the week is you got to present to 12 of the 15, but because of the pressure of your Performance Expectations not met, which increased your Fear of Failure you only sold 2. A closing rate of one in 6.
The next week however, your appointments were made for you by your manager who is prepared to give you one more chance. He appoints a total of 50 presentations. And because you believe in the law of averages, believing that you should sell better than one in three this week, your Performance Expectations go up, and as a consequence your Fear of Failure goes down.
Of the 10 calls for the first day you sell 6 of the 8 that keep their appointments and work two referrals that night and sell them both. Your closing rate has escalated from 1 in 6 to 8 in 10 in just one week. A testimonial that as your Performance Expectations go up, your Fear of Failure goes down.
By Wednesday you’ve already passed 15 for the week and decide to report in at the office at the end of the day. Everyones proud of you and you feel great. As a consequece, because your Performance Expectations are up, and your Fear of Failure is down, you write another 15 sales out of 17 presentations. And in the process break the record for the office for one week.
The next week, because your Performance Expectations are up, your Fear of Failure again goes down and you have another good week.
However, the week after you’re again unable to fill your diary. But this time your Performance Expectations are down, and as a consequence your Fear of Failure has once again gone down. You guessed it, you’ve had another of those lousy weeks.
Can you now appreciate how, as your Performance Expectations go up, your Fear of Failure goes down. On the other hand, your Performance Expectations go down, your Fear of Failure goes up.
Which way do you prefer it to be?
Avoid any Negative Self-talk – All salespeople should resist taking their mind into the temptation list of what you’re not doing right. That should rarely be an option a professional seller entertain – especially if the numbers are not as good is they should be. Another factor to consider here is that lumping negatives together at any time can be anywhere from overpowering to unsettling. So rather than being overwhelmed by the negatives, start to recall the things that made you successful in the past. But don’t just evaluate your past successes – dwell on them, relive them and then notice how you felt while you were experiencing them again today. Do that and you will be on top again in quick time.
And Don’t Procrastinate – I have managed more than my share of salespeople who don’t constantly work at creating the steady flow of new customers they need for their long-term success, simply because they’re too busy with too many minor things that others would consider too trivial to spend time on. When that happens it becomes too easy to procrastinate – in fact it’s almost a given that they will. The same salespeople will also find ways of putting off calling on prospects. Instead, they drive out to prospects that may or not be there, they start to avoid making appointments and speak to their existing client base less and less. No this won’t do. Whenever you catch yourself doing these dumb things, break out of it quickly – that way you’ll avoid succumbing to procrastination.
The Fear of Repeated Failure
So far we have looked into the Fear of failure and it’s affects on Call Reluctance, and although it is a factor of influence within the selling fraternity you should avoid it al all cost – because it’s a bad thing, and most know of it as the Fear of Repeated Failure. It’s also referred to as one of the selling “sleepers,” mainly due to the fact that it is one of the lesser studied and written upon major reasons for the development of Call Reluctance, and yet the fear of repeated failure can grip a salesperson so badly, many find it hard to recover and move forward the way they usually would.
This fear, the Fear of Repeated Failure, mostly rears its ugly head occurs when the salesperson attempts to schedule appointments, one by one with the contacts on a prospect list, and is repeatedly turned down. The danger with this approach is that every time the salesperson fails to schedule an appointment, the next contact becomes harder to complete due to the increasing fear of failure.
Another factor to consider regarding Call Reluctance through the Fear of Repeated Failure, whenever the salesperson continually gets the “door slammed” in his or her face, and each time they hear a “no” it makes it harder and harder to pick up the phone as this can become a never ending negative cycle in their mind.
Unfortunately, once this fear factor starts to take hold, the salesperson should simply rethink the strategy being used, take a break, reshuffle the order in which the list is being worked on and start again. But this time instead of working his or her way through the list, the salesperson would do well to work on that list for a little while – say 10 to 20 minutes at a time – then do something else for 10 to 20 minutes – and then return back to the list for a further 10 to 20 minutes.
It’s the shuffling effect from one concept to another which is the saving grace here – and it’s also what will make it work effectively.
Copy and distribute this content as often as you want. You are encouraged to share it. © Copyright Peter Collins, Sydney, Australia, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017
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This Article is by Peter Collins – In a sales career spanning more than 53 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 has 68 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 had his first book published in 1969 and now has over 133 books in all, including Business, Marketing, Sales, Free Publicity, Body Language, Music and over 30 Christian books to date. Peters books have sold over 2.5 Million copies over 48 years. 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, 1994, 2002, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2017, all rights reserved. Peter can be contacted through his website – profitmakersales.com
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