Self-confidence is something that all professional salespeople need to possess in order to be successful. People do not buy products or services from a person who has no confidence in themselves or the products they represent.
If you lack confidence in your own product it will show. You may think you are the world's greatest actor but your nonverbal communication will ultimately betray you.
If you are depressed and recognize the fact, don't despair. The very fact that you recognize your depression shows you have a measure of confidence that you will rise above it. It is those who deny that anything is wrong that are destined to fail.
As professional salespeople we constantly have to sell ourselves. In order to do so successfully you must have absolute confidence in yourself and the product or service you sell. Confidence in yourself, confidence in your abilities, confidence in the successful sale. If you don't possess this confidence, how can you get it?
Fear erodes confidence. Fear that the customer does not like you. Fear of rejection, fear of failure. "I can't sell Mr. Jones, nobody has." "My boss will fire me if I don't sell Mr. Jones."
If you let it, fear can overwhelm you and break your confidence. There are only two kinds of people in the world: Those who think they can and those who think they can't. They are both right. Assess the people around you. Are they full of doom and gloom, too? Stay away from them and find some confident people to associate with.
If you let fear dominate you have lost. Instead, turn up the volume of positive thoughts in your mind to drown out the moans and groans of your fears.
You must learn to overcome your natural fears by facing them instead of running away from them. You should face your self-doubts squarely and have the faith that only confidence can supply.
One of the greatest boosters of confidence is attitude. Go from "I think I can" to "I know I can" and finally "I can." Your biggest battle is in your mind. Your mind can either cast doubts or it can inspire confidence.
Keep rewarding yourself mentally when you overcome some obstacle, no matter how small and insignificant. Each time you will gain confidence in your own abilities and cast out doubt. Take it slowly though -- it is one thing to think positive thoughts. It is another to unlearn a lifetime of bad and negative thinking habits and thoughts in a day.
Positive thoughts produce positive results. Negative thoughts produce negative results. Attitude communicates your opinion of people, business and life in general.
The following two stories illustrate the importance of attitude:
A Russian railway worker accidentally locked himself in a refrigerated boxcar. Unable to get the attention of his fellow workers, he resigned himself to dying and started recording his thoughts on the inside of the boxcar walls: "It's getting very cold in here," he wrote. "It's very hard to breathe. I know I'm going to die. These will probably be my last words."
Sure enough, those were his last words. Just as he predicted, he died. However, there was absolutely no medical reason for the man's death. The refrigeration mechanism in the boxcar was broken. The actual temperature never got below 56 degrees. The boxcar was well ventilated, so he did not suffocate. He was found the next morning, so he did not die from hunger or thirst.
The railway worker was simply the victim of his own negative thoughts.
The second story is about a 19-year-old boy in Romania who made medical history by living for 11 days without food or water. He was buried under a 10-story apartment building during an earthquake.
When he was discovered, people asked him how he had managed to survive. "I slept much of the time," he told them. "But when I was awake, I never doubted for an instant that I would be rescued. Every waking minute of those eleven long days, I was positive I would come out alive."
Positive thoughts produce positive results. You have to care deeply about what you believe in. If you don't know what it is you believe in, how can you get excited about it? How can you get enthusiastic about something you don't care about?
You have to find a goal or a plan to strive for. If it is a long-term goal it is wise to break it down to a series of short-term goals that you can reach in the interim. This way each successful accomplishment feeds on the previous one and boosts your confidence and renewed enthusiasm to achieve the long-term goal.
One way to keep enthusiasm going is by making goals fun. Promise yourself a treat once you achieve a certain goal. Call it an "enthusiasm incentive," one that makes each chore exciting.
Confidence comes from knowing what to do and how to do it. Your energy and enthusiasm make all the difference when it comes to selling. Combine the two and you will have the foundation on which to build a successful career in sales.
Roy Chitwood is an author, trainer and consultant in sales and sales management and is president of Max Sacks International, Seattle.