A sales training video opened with a sales manager saying, “Sales is all about fear. The salespeople are afraid the customers won’t buy, and the customers are afraid they will buy.” Sadly, the sentiment rings true for some salespeople.
Fear of failure
Despite their seemingly confident exteriors, many salespeople are terrified that they’ll fail. All it takes is one bad quarter to make them start to sweat. Customers may feel the same way. Behind many of the toughest negotiating customers is a deep-seated fear of getting called on the carpet for making the wrong purchasing decision.
Fear as a motivator
There are those who look at fear as a good motivator. Fear may work in the short-term. It can kick-start someone into action, but it’s not a sustainable source of motivation.
A salesperson motivated by fear may show lots of activity until he or she flames out. Fear makes them frantic, at a time when they need to be focused.
Fear lowers effectiveness
Fear-based salespeople aren’t as effective as those who sell with confidence and empathy. Salespeople don’t make good decisions when they’re afraid. Their personal short term interests trump everything else.
They cover mistakes, and tell their bosses what they want to hear. They don’t care if the customer benefits — they just want the sale today.
Courage is not the absence of fear. It’s the ability to act in the face of fear. Effective selling is about taking fear off the table so salespeople can make a difference to their customers and, ultimately, to their company.