By Ryan Taft

hinder sales

Years ago my VP of sales asked me to go coach a sales pro, we will call Linda, to get back on track with asking for the sale. One moment Linda was at the top of the sales leader board and the next she was on the short list of whom to let go.  

My VP asked me to go “role play” how to ask for the sale with Linda. Maybe as a sales pro you have had your manager come out to role play with you. I have. Sometimes it is effective and sometimes it is completely unnecessary.  

Let me explain. 

I went out to role play with Linda and after talking with her for a few minutes I decided role playing would be the wrong coaching tactic.  

Instead, I decided to ask why she thought her sales were off. You see, I knew Linda. We started in sales together. Her training included asking for the sale and she had done a great job of doing just that. My hunch was that there was something else going on.  

I was right.  

As it turns out, Linda’s father had just come back into her life after years of no contact. The big challenge for Linda was that as a child her father would beat her any time she would ask for something.  

Did you catch that?  

Any time she would ask for something… like asking for the sale. What I came to find out was that Linda wasn’t dealing with a practice problem. She was dealing with a belief problem which was heavily affecting her confidence.  

Defining Confidence 

Whenever you find yourself dealing with poor sales performance, you can self-diagnose your issue by looking at the formula for confidence: 

BELIEF + MASTERY = CONFIDENCE 

When you believe in something with all of your heart and you have practiced your technique to the point where you couldn’t get it wrong, how do you think you would feel? You’d feel as confident as you possibly could.  

I see belief issues in four categories on a fairly consistent basis.

1. Product – It’s hard to sell a product you wouldn’t use or purchase yourself, right? The challenge with that thinking is that it isn’t about you. Instead of focusing on why you wouldn’t buy it, focus on why your customer would.

2. Price – Maybe you think your product or service costs too much. Instead of complaining about the price, remember what Warren Buffet says, “Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” That being the case, start focusing on the value that your customer will get. Finding more value justifies the price.  

3. Company – Sometimes the company you are selling for makes decisions that you don’t agree with. It’s gonna happen so be prepared for it. You could get mad and focus your energy on how they are doing the wrong thing or you can sit down with your leadership and ask them to help you understand the reasons for the decision you don’t like or understand. It may not change it but gaining understanding will keep you from making up stories about why your management is doing what they are doing. Trust me, this will save you a ton of drama.  

4. Self – This is the biggie. I could do a whole blog on this one alone. In a nutshell, when we lose our mojo we tend to be really mean to ourselves. We think things like, “I forgot how to sell” or “What’s wrong with me?” Or my personal favorite, “I suck at this.” I coach people to change the way they talk to themselves when their belief is off. You tend to become the vision you have of yourself so envision your strengths not your weaknesses.  

Linda and I worked on her self-belief until she was able to move past the link of her father. In no time at all she made it back to the top of the sales leader board and we never role played asking for the sale.  

Mastery is different. Mastery is all about practice. At Shore Consulting we train sales teams with the goal of mastery and that means repetition. I believe this is the easier of the two pieces. Again, it is all about repetition.  

When you believe in yourself and what you are selling and have practiced your guts out, your confidence will soar and that is when you will really start to change people’s worlds.   

“The destination called mastery is found on a road called repetition.” 

                                – Jeff Shore