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How To Build Your Confidence in Sales

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
June 3, 2010

Build the Success Attributes

There is no better—or faster—way to build your self-confidence than to build your competency in the foundational success attributes and the foundational sales attributes. The more you gain in these competencies, the more your confidence grows.

The foundational success attributes and skills:

Self Discipline, Optimism, Competitiveness, Initiative, Resourcefulness, Determination, Caring, Empathy and EQ, Communication, and Influence.

The foundational sales attributes and skills: (links to ways you can build and improve)

Closing, Differentiate, Prospecting, Business Acumen, Diagnosis, Storytelling, Negotiation, Change Management, Leadership, and Managing Outcomes.

Pick a couple that you know need work and take action on your personal improvement plan.

Become a Subject Matter Expert

Another way you can build your confidence is by becoming an expert in your subject or field. It isn’t enough to dabble around the edges. In order for your confidence to grow you have to give yourself over to the subject, fully immersing yourself in the material.

Reading about your industry and the subjects that are important to your industry will help you build the framework for understanding the topic and help you to gain the necessary vocabulary to trade in the ideas.

But you can’t become a subject matter expert by reading a book. You will gain a massive amount of knowledge about your subject if you read 20 books while you are working in the field. Reading is the best way to gain knowledge and ideas. Coupling that knowledge with real world experience provides you with the ability to discernment what is necessary and what is true that will make you an expert—and massively build your confidence.

Your experience plus your reading is how you really know something.

Make a list of books that you need to read to become a subject matter and start reading. At the same time, start writing down all of the ideas that strike you as important and filter your experiences through those ideas. Do some of the ideas tell that your experiences are true and valuable? Do some of the ideas conflict with what you presently believe? What would happen if your beliefs changed?

Pursue Stretch Experiences

Most of us have no idea what we are truly capable of. In order to find out we have to stretch. We have to have a bigger vision of ourselves, we have to shut down our inner critic, and we have to be prepared to try and to fail.

Stretch experiences are the experiences that put you outside of your comfort zone; they test you. These experiences are where the real learning occurs, and these are the experiences that help our confidence grow—even in failure.

Call the dream client that is bigger than any deal you have ever won. Call the client that turned you down last quarter and ask for a do-over. Take on a task that is outside of anything you have ever committed to in the past. Sometimes the best way to learn to swim is to dive into the deep end of the water.

Stretch experiences aren’t all work-related experiences, either. You are who you are whether you are working or not, and you bring your whole self to everything you do, for better or worse. You make it “for better” when you make every experience a learning experience. Whether it is swimming with dolphins, swimming with sharks, sky-diving, volunteering at the homeless shelter, or joining a book club, your confidence will receive a boost from your having been engaged in the endeavor—if you let it. For it to build your confidence, you have to bring what you gained from the experience to everything else you do.

Join Toastmasters

There is a reason people fear public speaking more than death. At least with death you only have to do it once. By joining Toastmasters you will probably get a chance to speak at least once a month, and in some clubs once a week. This is a real stretch experience, and it builds a tremendous amount of confidence in a very short period of time.

Public speaking helps you find your voice. And finding your voice is the ultimate confidence builder.


In order for other people to buy you, you have to first buy yourself. That means building your confidence. There are no tricks, gimmick, shortcuts, or secrets. The people who are most confident and the most comfortable in their own skin are the people who have built the foundational attributes of success, who have built the foundational attributes of sales, and who pursue stretch experiences.


    1. Which of the success attributes, if developed, would build your confidence?
    1. Which of the sales attributes, if developed, would build your confidence?
    1. What do you need to be a subject matter expert on in order to build your confidence? What is your plan for doing so?
    1. What are the last three books you read in the subject you need to know in order to be confident in your role as sales professional? How long ago was it that you read them?
  1. What experiences do you want to have that will stretch your abilities and push you into unfamiliar territory? What experiences outside of work will stretch you and what will you learn?

For more on increasing your sales effectiveness, subscribe to the RSS Feed for The Sales Blog and my Email Newsletter. Follow me on Twitter, connect to me on LinkedIn, or friend me on Facebook. If I can help you or your sales organization, check out my coaching and consulting firm, B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, email me, or call me at (614) 212-4279.

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Sales 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on June 3, 2010

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino is an American writer. He has published daily at thesalesblog.com for more than 14 years, amassing over 5,300 articles and making this platform a destination for salespeople and sales leaders. Anthony is also the author of four best-selling books documenting modern sales methodologies and a fifth book for sales leaders seeking revenue growth. His latest book for an even wider audience is titled, The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success.

Anthony speaks to sales organizations worldwide, delivering cutting-edge sales strategies and tactics that work in this ever-evolving B2B landscape. He also provides workshops and seminars. You can reach Anthony at thesalesblog.com or email Beth@b2bsalescoach.com.

Connect with Anthony on LinkedIn, X or Youtube. You can email Anthony at iannarino@gmail.com

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