Confidence in simple terms is belief in something or someone.
When you are in sales, confidence is not a luxury; it is a necessity. It’s plain and simple when you think about it. If you lack confidence, how do you expect the prospect to have confidence in whatever you are bringing to the table?
You demonstrate your confidence not by the way you walk and talk but by the way you care to take your prospect to the next level.
The way you hold hands (not literally, of course) of your prospects and guide them to a solution that is right for them.
What you get as a return is a by-product of serving your prospects right.
Note: They say you fake it till you make it. For a long time, I had mixed opinions about it. The last few years it is clear to me that it is not worth faking it unless the other person is not very bright (in which case there is no point in talking to them about a deal in the first place). The alternate option is to be truly authentic and work very hard to gain the necessary competence that leads to real confidence.
Here are five ways to build your confidence.
This seems rather basic but the most important one to remember. You can’t be confident unless you are competent in all of the following and more:
- The industry where you are operating
- The company that you are employed with
- The products that you are representing
- The competitive landscape
- The various use cases based on past history and your imagination
- The challenges, pains and opportunities of your prospects
- The personality, values and beliefs of the person you are meeting
It may be difficult for you to be an expert on everything above and more but it does not pay to be ignorant about the need. Your goal is to get as much information as possible without getting into an analysis-paralysis mode.
As they say, knowing is not doing but doing is doing. Knowing some details about your prospect but you need to understand circumstances (lay of the land) in such detail that you are in their shoes. In movie terms, think “method acting” where you live the life of your prospect. When you can see the world through the eyes of your prospect, magic happens.
Who you are to the prospect becomes important to your prospect because everyone wants to know that “they are in good hands.”
One way to establish credibility is to get introduced to the prospect through someone that the prospect trusts. Another way is to build a personal brand for yourself that demonstrates your skills, knowledge and your past accomplishments of helping similar clients achieve success.
Gaining competence is not about arriving at a destination. It is a journey where you as a salesperson in an “eternal work-in-progress” mode.
Everything that we highlighted in the Competence section is constantly changing and you should develop innate curiosity to keep learning and catching up to stay current.
We will keep revisiting the concept of caring throughout the series. If you don’t care deeply for the concerns of your prospects, you being confident won’t matter much because your prospects want to do business with people that care.
On the other hand, something interesting happens once you start caring. It takes your confidence to a whole new level because deep down you KNOW you are doing the right thing by making a sale.
Stay Confident and Win!