One of the variables to success in sales is credibility, something enabled by your confidence. The less confident you are in the sales conversation, the less believable you will appear to your prospective clients. Without meaning to, you can transfer your lack of confidence to your contacts. A lack of confidence can cause your contacts to feel uncertain about continuing the conversation and, eventually, to choose to buy from someone they believe is a safer bet than an unconfident salesperson.
7 Ways to Increase Sales Confidence
The following seven sales strategies will improve your sales confidence and contribute to your ability to create and win deals. Individually, all of them will improve your confidence, but together they will also speed your development.
1. Prioritize Personal and Professional Development
One way to increase your confidence in sales is to improve yourself, both personally and professionally. Most of the time, we measure sales success by activity, outcomes, and financial results, all of which are improved by improving yourself—and all of which harmed by the lack of competency that prevents confidence.
Because sales results are individual, improving the character traits that underlie all human effectiveness will likewise improve your confidence. Start with self-discipline, a positive attitude, resourcefulness, initiative, and persistence. The more you develop in these areas, the more you’ll improve your effectiveness, giving you a natural confidence boost. Your professional development will also speed you to confidence. When you read books, take courses, attend conferences, and acquire coaching, you will improve your skills in your craft.
Nothing will provide you a better or faster outcome than this first strategy, so you should prioritize it.
2. Plan Your Sales Call Around Insights
This strategy presumes that you are using a modern sales approach that is built on creating value for your clients, as opposed to the legacy approaches that would have you engage in conversations that don’t benefit your clients. Any sales call planning should start and end with a set of insights that you can use to provide your client with a better understanding of their world, their business, their results, and what needs to change.
Becoming confident in the sales conversation requires that you develop the expertise to provide something like an executive briefing and a perspective on your client’s business. This isn’t something that is widely taught or trained, let alone practiced, but developing the ability to help your contacts learn something will put you in a position that creates a greater sense of confidence.
3. Recognize Your Role in Sales
As the person responsible for helping your client, you must recognize that your role is to help the client make a sound decision as to how they need to improve their results. You are the one guiding each client through a facilitated, needs-based, buyer’s journey because you know better than your clients how to pursue the better results they need.
When you find a client struggling to produce the results they need, it’s because they haven’t yet been able to improve those results on their own. You can experience the confidence that comes from knowing how to help your clients through the conversations and decisions they will need to consider, so they can improve their results and move their business forward.
4. Dress for Success
In a time where modern CEOs wear t-shirts, dressing a level or two above your clients will help you feel more confident. When you look good and feel good, you are going to be more confident. You may not need to wear a business suit (even though you will look crisp and confident), but clothes do make the man, something that women (who generally dress better than men to start with) grasp without that reminder.
Whether you like it or not, people do judge you by your appearance. It may be old school to dress for success, but just try it and see how much it boosts your confidence.
5. Smile Boldly
You may be incredulous about the strategy of smiling as you walk into the room to meet your prospective client. However, research shows that people make a judgment about you in the first seven seconds. Smiling presents you as a person who is confident, engaged, and pleased to engage with others.
If you are not a natural smiler, you are going to have to practice (personally, it took me a lot of time and effort to learn how to smile on command). It does change the dynamic and it makes you more approachable and more confident. Sometimes something that seems small has more power than you believe possible. Smiling is one of those things.
6. Use Your Prospective Contact's First Name
It may or may not be true that people find the sweetest word to be their own names. Granted, your lover’s whisper will be considerably sweeter than a full-name shout from your very angry mother. For our context here, though, using your client’s name will improve your confidence.
You might notice that confident salespeople see themselves as peers with their contacts, so they believe the meeting is one of equals. Using your contact’s first name suggests that you are a peer, not a subservient order-taker. Notice as well how often—or how little—you use your client’s name. Using your client's name will give the appearance of confidence, even if you haven’t fully developed it.
7. Fearlessly Address Difficult Topics
As you gain sales confidence, your power as a salesperson will increase. At some point, you will need to demonstrate that you are credible and a safe choice as a partner by directly addressing difficult topics. Before you get in that moment, though, practice and rehearse your talk tracks with someone who will play the role of client, so you can gain the competency to be confident.
Your conflict-averse and desperate competitors fear saying anything about the obstacles and challenges to the better outcomes their prospects are pursuing. You increase trust and provide your contacts confidence by fearlessly sharing the inconvenient truth about what it takes to create real change.