The very concept of sales creates a lot of anxiety for some people. Fear is one of the biggest obstacles for most sales professionals. But fear isn’t the only thing that does you a disservice; there are other responses you need to shed to perform better in professional sales:
- Panic: Unless your physical safety is threatened, there are not a lot of great reasons to panic. The flight response that may have served you on the plains isn’t very useful when it comes to First World problems. If something bad is happening, expending a lot of negative emotional energy isn’t going to help anything. Fear in all its forms deprives you of your resourcefulness. As a leader, panic also causes others to panic. You are better served by working on solving your problems, whatever they are.
- Anger: Being angry doesn’t improve any situation. Expressing your anger doesn’t help you influence people or inspire them to take action on your behalf. Expressing how upset you are and venting might make you feel better, but it does nothing to improve the underlying condition that you chose to respond to with anger.
- Awfulizing: Awfulizing is making things worse than they really are. You can identify language that indicates that you are awfulizing because it often starts with a generalization, like “No one ever does what they say they will do.” Or, “this is the worst thing that’s ever happened.” Thinking things are worse than they are doesn’t make things any better. Only trying to make things better makes things better.
- Fearing the wrong danger: It’s not the first time I’ve written this, I know. It isn’t helpful to fear the wrong danger. It’s helpful to face the right danger. If you are afraid of being rejected, the real danger is not making the call, having the conversation, or making the attempt at all. It doesn’t serve you to fear something with little consequence for failure while avoiding doing something with larger consequences for failure.
- Blame: You are never served by blaming someone else. Blaming others is how you avoid responsibility. But if you are not responsible for the outcomes that make you unhappy, then you are not empowered to do something different to produce a better outcome. It’s not the fault of the economy. It’s not the fault of the President. It’s not the fault of your manager. You serve yourself by taking full responsibility.
- Excuses: You are never served by making excuses. One of the ways our ego protects itself is by absolving itself of responsibility when we make mistakes or when we do wrong. But if you made the mistake or did wrong, the excuse changes nothing. You are better served taking responsibility, apologizing, and making things better.
- Pessimism: You gain nothing by being pessimistic. You lose much by not being optimistic and hopeful. Deciding that you are a “realist” is really a form of pessimism. There is a difference between looking at what might go wrong and doing something about it, and believing that nothing can go right. An optimist can look at what might go wrong and still believe they can succeed. Negativity never serves you.
- Trying to control the uncontrollable: Almost everything is outside of your control. And because it is outside of your control, there is very little you can do about almost everything. The fastest way to become frustrated is by wanting to control things, especially other people. You serve yourself by accepting that there are things outside of your control, and moving on to areas where you can make a difference.
- Not using your influence where it is useful: Even though you may not have control, there are things that you can influence. You can’t control your employees, but you can invest in their personal growth and well-being and, by doing so, influence how well they perform. You can’t control your prospective clients, but you can have a presence, listen deeply, and care enough about their outcomes to create a preference for you and your solution. It doesn’t serve you to worry about what you can’t control, but it does serve you to influence what you can.