It feels ironic being fearful about writing about your fear.
I had always avoided even thinking about taking a sales job, much less applying or even inquiring about a sales role. I’ll admit I was always scared of the what ifs…. What if I was always rejected? What if people told me to get out if I stumbled through my pitch, misspoke or forgot something important? What if I never sell anything and get fired because of it? I assumed only bad things happen to sales people, which sometimes feels the case :)
It took a long time, and a lot of reading and listening, to realize that we are all in sales, all the time. Pretty much every interaction between two people, personal or professional, some idea is sold. Where to eat? What to do? Give me a raise? Promote me? Marry me? (usually a longer sales cycle) Even though your title or job description may not explicitly say it, you are in sales. You have to sell your work and your ideas to your colleagues and bosses. I was always scared of what might go wrong, instead of thinking how can I make it go right. How can I make a mistake, understand it, learn from it and grow from the experience. The only real difference between selling when your job title is Accountant vs Account Executive is an assumed MINDSET. Taking more of a selling mentality to my work over the years has made me improve by always keeping in mind the end consumer of whatever I was working on.
This being said, now that I do have sales in my job title, I love it. Interacting with prospects and clients across all types of industries makes every day unique and interesting. Yes, I get rejected a lot, but I also break through a lot. The sale isn’t after that 1st conversation, the sale is 6-9 months later when you have established some trust and a relationship. It’s one thing to learn this is the process by hearing it from an “expert” but experiencing it is difficult, but necessary, it can make you question if you are in the right position.
I’ve learned to put myself in my client’s shoes. They may have a million things on their to-do list, why should they take time to talk with me? Why should they be talking to me at all? A lot of this can be solved by taking the time to understand how your product helps them solve their problems.
It is a skill like any other, no one is born to be in sales. You have to stay knowledgeable about what you sell, why you are selling it and why it should matter. You have to practice, you have to learn, you have to adapt, always be on the look out for new techniques. I’m not a big believer in “best practices” I believe in finding your style and constantly tweaking to make your self successful.
Instead of trying to “eliminate” fear, I’ve come to accept it will always be a part of the process and use it to my advantage to keep me on point.