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Posted: February 25, 2013

Fear of selling: Here’s my powerful antidote

...and how to develop it

TC North

An antidote is defined as a remedy that counteracts poison. And fear can be one of the most potent emotional poisons to your success. Fear of selling is likely your greatest obstacle in selling more effectively (whether you're selling yourself, ideas, products or services).

The good news though, is you can develop a powerful antidote to fear. The antidote to fear of selling is confidence. Before giving you a powerful, proven technique to develop your selling confidence, take this awareness quiz on how many ways you sell, either currently, or in your past, in your business and personal lives:

1. Sold an idea to a co-worker, team or boss?
2. Sold yourself in a job interview?
3. Sold yourself to gain more responsibility or a leadership role?
4. Sold a product or service?
5. Sold a spouse or a friend on doing something together?
6. Sold a child on cleaning up after him/herself?

No matter what your job or social standing is, you sell. Most days, you actually sell in multiple ways, so by gaining more confidence to control your fears of selling, you also gain more influence, more success and more happiness in a well-rounded life. Below is a powerful exercise to help you develop your selling confidence.

30 Days to Selling Confidence!

Yes, this does sound like one of those infomercials you might see at 2 a.m.! But it's true. This technique has been proven to greatly strengthen sales confidence in almost everyone - in 30 days or less. Here's how to do it:


Step 1 Remember a time when you were confident selling an idea, product, service or yourself (like in a job interview). It could be from your childhood, teen-age years or adult life. It could be personal or professional. It doesn't matter what the selling situation was, but rather that you were confident in doing it. This takes you into the part of your brain (the neuronetwork) that is confident in selling.

Step 2 In a journal or other place you dedicate to private thoughts, record your confident selling memory. Include the situation and how you thought, acted and felt when your confidence level was high. Write as much detail as you can about how you experienced this confidence. Even allow yourself to get so absorbed in the memory that you begin to re-experience the feelings of confidence, Some of you will experience a lot of feelings while thinking about your confident memory, while others will experience only a little bit, both will work. As long as you bring back any amount of the feeling of confidence, you know you've stimulated the part of your brain that you want to strengthen, your confident in selling neuronetwork. The more you stimulate this particular neuronetwork, the bigger and stronger your neuronetwork of selling confidence becomes, thus the more confident you become selling.


Step 1 Repeat the two steps of Day 1 with a new memory of having been confident selling in your business or personal lives. You will now have two memories recorded.

Step 2 Reread and remember your first memory until you can bring back some of your feelings of confidence in selling. Each time you review a selling confidence memory, your confidence in selling neuronetwork gets stronger. You increase your confidence in selling.


Step 1 Repeat the two steps of Day 1 with a new memory you haven't already used for this exercise.

Step 2 Reread and remember the memories you've previously recorded, bringing back your feelings of confidence with each one.

DAY 4 through your last day (I recommend engaging for 10, 20, or 30 days in total, the longer you continue the stronger your selling confidence.

Step 1 Repeat the two steps of Day 3.

Practicing this level of repetition is like going to the gym and working out one muscle group harder and harder each day. Except here, you're working out the confidence neuronetwork in your brain to make it bigger and stronger!

This confidence building technique is well proven to increase your confidence in selling both professionally and personally. Although about 95 percent of the people I have surveyed want more confidence, at least some of the time, most of them won't put the effort into developing it.

Will you?

Empower yourself! Commit to doing this exercise described above for 10, 20 or 30 days. What have you got to lose? More importantly, what have you got to gain?

Dr. TC North is co-author of the Amazon bestseller Fearless Leaders. For 28 years, he has been a high-performance executive coach and speaker who helps individuals and organizations identify and attain their visions and dreams. He also has coached professional and Olympic athletes in the art of creating thoughts and emotions that maximize success. He’s a professional speaker on “Fearless Leaders” and “Master Fear.” Dr. North’s work has been featured on TV and radio and in business and scientific journals. Learn more at Contact Dr. North at 303-665-8920 or, or connect on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.





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Readers Respond

Gary, you are so correct. Separating who we are from what we do is critical not only in selling but in all aspects of life. For folks who like books and want to learn to love being told "No", I highly recommend the book from my colleagues and friends, Richard Fenton and Andrea Waltz, "Go For No!" it has now sold over 225,000 copies. By TC North on 2013 02 25
TC, I'll add a twist here. Most people fear selling because of getting the "no word and they take that no word on thier self-esteem side, what I call their identity(self-confidence). As a Sandler trainer, I encourage and reinforce to all my clients our “Identity/Role” rule, “people perform their roles in a manner of how they see themselves conceptually.” I-10′s perform like an I-10 and often, sadly, I-5′s perform like I-5′s. I believe one main reason salespeople won’t cold call is the fear of that “no” word and therefore take that “no” on their “I/self-esteem” side. That fear inhibits their behaviors( picking up the phone), to do what’s necessary to be successful. I always coach clients, “prospects say no to “what you offer” ( your role), not to “who you are” (your self-identity).” By Gary Harvey on 2013 02 25
Julie, thanks for your comments. You are spot on with the similarity of building confidence with actors. My high-performance work began with elite athletes, yours with actors. They both must learn to perform their best under pressure ... thus, they use the same high-performance mental strategies. This is why I always love the perspectives you share in your articles! By TC North on 2012 02 03
Great process for working with fear. It's very much like an acting technique I use with clients called "Emotional recall." Involving your 5 senses as you remember these confidence-building experiences (i.e., the feel of the award you received, the sound of the applause, etc.) the more powerful it's effect. Confidence is key but it's important to realize that being "fear-free" is probably unrealistic and can actually "flatten out" our performance - in business or on stage. Thx TC! By Julie Hansen on 2012 02 03
Thanks, Liz. A "sculpted confidence muscle" great term! By TC North on 2012 02 03
Great TC. Confidence sells!!!! There's nothing quite like a well define and perfectly sculpted confidence muscle. Thanks for sharing your insight. Liz By liz wendling on 2012 02 03
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