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Posted: May 21, 2013

Best of CoBiz: High-performance selling

Four surefire steps to blast through the fear

TC North

Fear is one of the most powerful human emotions; its grip is strong and pervasive. To maximize your success in business and selling, you must learn to control your fear of sales - or it controls you.

There are four kinds of sales in business: products, services, ideas and yourself. In the corporate world, you sell ideas up to your boss, down to your team and across to your peers. If you're a CEO, you're the lead on selling your vision and strategies to the whole organization. If you're an entrepreneur, you're always selling yourself, along with the products or services you're selling to your customers.

No matter what your job, you sell. When you gain control of your selling fears (fear of selling), you'll be more influential, happier and more successful in business and in your personal life. Yes, you sell ideas in your personal life all the time, for example, "How about pizza tonight?" "Jonny, brush your teeth." "Sara, be home by 11."

The fear of sales is a highly multidimensional fear, and it may include fear of failure, success, rejection, self-promotion and embarrassment, as well as fear of being disliked, pushy and judged.

A sales secret - the best way to control fear of sales. The best way to minimize fear of selling is to create a belief about selling that has no fear. What if you truly believed selling was a great and loving service? The most successful, relationship-focused salespeople I've worked with do. "Love 'em and serve 'em" is a great mantra to help create the right thoughts and feelings for selling. It's hard for fear to coexist in a mind filled with love and service.

High-performance selling framework.

Another way to decrease fear of sales is by using this four-part framework for high-performance selling:

1. Show up. Be completely present with your potential customer. Have a clear focus and a single agenda. Love 'em and serve 'em.

2. Tell the truth. Always. Your reputation is everything. Not only tell the truth with the big things but also tell the truth with the little things!

3. Play to win. Find ways to wow! Exceed what's expected of you. Be creative in finding ways to win. Great salespeople are like great athletes; they find a way to win.

4. Don't be attached to the outcome. This will seem counterintuitive, but it's a sales secret of the highest performers. When you focus on the outcome of a sales discussion, it takes you out of the present and into the future. It causes selling fear, anxiety and stress. You don't control the outcome (someone buys or doesn't); you only control the process. When you focus on what you control, it's easy to stay in the present and relaxed. This is not only a sales secret but also one of the most empowering changes you can make in your life. The present is where all of your power is.

Two techniques to control selling fears. Using these techniques will also help you minimize fear:

1. Give yourself a reality check. What's the worst-case scenario, and what's the probability of it happening? When you can accept the worst case, you no longer need to fear it, which keeps your mind in reality. Olympic downhill skiers accept that paralysis or death is their worst case, but they never allow themselves to focus on it. Accept and come to peace with the worst-case scenario, and then put it off to the side and don't empower it by focusing on it!

2. Control negative thoughts. An Olympic boxer once said, "I don't have the luxury of having a negative thought. One negative thought creates a moment of hesitation, leaving an opening for my opponent to throw a punch that could kill me." You have the luxury of some negative thoughts, but if you want to be great, you don't have the luxury of many.

Negative-thought control technique. Here's a simple yet powerful negative-thought control technique to help diminish the fear of selling:

1. Recognize that you're having a negative thought. There are three ways:

a. Hear the thought in your mind.
b. Notice how you feel. If you feel tense or anxious, identify the thought that's creating your anxiety.
c. See yourself procrastinate. Procrastination is usually the result of fearful thoughts.

2. Stop the negative thought. It's stealing your confidence, self-esteem and happiness! A negative thought that I've actually heard from sales professionals is, "I'll never make another sale!"

3. Replace the negative thought with a positive thought that's true and in your control. For example, a replacement thought for the negative thought above could be, "I have a great product/service that people want, and I have an excellent sales process." Stick to the process and relax.

4. Acknowledge yourself for taking control of your thoughts.

This negative-thought control technique gives you more control of your negative thoughts, thereby giving you more control of your negative emotions (fear, anger, frustration and so on). Unfortunately, most negative thoughts come from a belief and thought pattern you've probably had for a long time, possibly since childhood. You must continually stop, replace and acknowledge them until you can build a new thought pattern. It takes a lot of repetition!

By following the above techniques, you can control your fear of selling and maximize your selling success! And when you have great integrity, high-performance selling can be an act of service and love.

Fear is one of the greatest blocks to your success. Do you have conscious and/or subconscious fears? Have the courage to set yourself free! Go here to learn more.

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

Hey Debbie, thanks for your compliment and thanks for your comment... I love your this, "I have decided there is not enough time in a day to dwell on anything BUT the positive." By TC North on 2011 09 07
Great encouragement TC. As always you get straight to the heart of the matter and help nip our fears in the bud. Maybe I am just feeling my age but I think of it as getting older/wiser; I have decided there is not enough time in a day to dwell on anything BUT the positive. It takes concentration and enthusiasm! By Debbie Hindman on 2011 09 07
Hi Edgar, thanks for you comment, it's spot on! By TC North on 2011 09 06
I thought this was a great article. I am a particular fan of, “Don't be attached to the outcome.” However, I would add to make sure the outcome is fair and positive for all parties, such as- The customer & his/her company, The end-user, Our organization, Our shareholders, And our employees If we can keep all this in mind, I think we’re on the right track. Edgar By Edgar Allen on 2011 09 06
Julie, couldn't agree more. A three time world-champion freestyle skier shared his focus in the starting gate with me. He said "I only focus on the first six inches of the course, I know if I make a good turn there, my skills will take over the rest of the way." As a speaker and in sales, you know the first 10 -30 secs. is when your audience is rapidly judging everything about you. You had better be physically, emotionally and technically prepared to send the right messages, eh? By TC North on 2011 09 02
Lots of great, practical advice here! I agree "showing up" is a huge part of facing fear. For most actors, the most terrifying part of a performance is just before the curtain goes up; once they get through that, all of their practice and rehearsals kick in. Same applies to sales. Proper preparation and a plan for those first few moments can really help lessen some of that fear. By Julie Hansen on 2011 09 02
Thanks, Todd! "Instachange" (just made that word up) wouldn't it be great. There are actually fast and permanent ways to change limiting belief systems that have been developed in the past two decades in psychology, but they require the help of someone trained in the techniques. By TC North on 2011 09 01
TC. Great content. Your quote (below) is spot on. Too many of us want to "take a pill" or read a book and get better immediately. Changing behavior and thoughts is hard work! "Unfortunately, most negative thoughts come from a belief and thought pattern you've probably had for a long time, possibly since childhood. You must continually stop, replace and acknowledge them until you can build a new thought pattern. It takes a lot of repetition!" Cheers Todd By Todd Ordal on 2011 09 01
Thanks for your comment, Liz; I'll be careful how I use the "f" word. By TC North on 2011 09 01
Hey TC, Oh, the dreaded "f" word. Fear is one of the major obstacles I see with my coaching clients as well. And once the negative thoughts get going in their head, success and sales come to a halt. Thanks for sharing your expertise. Liz By liz wendling on 2011 09 01
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