Building confidence in sales is misunderstood. If you’re not the person who’s the loudest in your group of friends or colleagues, don’t confuse that with a lack of confidence. It’s not all about being the storyteller or joker, or the person making fun of others and oozing self-importance.
Some of the best salespeople are not loud people who demand that they’re the centre of attention. Put simply, confidence is ‘A feeling of trust and firm belief in yourself or others’. What’s important to understand is that you can learn confidence as you learn competence.
When you’re taught how to do something and have the chance to practise it regularly, you see improvements and get better results. You then start to believe in yourself more and become confident.
Learning how to drive is a great example. When we first start, we have no confidence in what we’re doing. It’s all quite frightening and we can’t quite believe that it’s possible to control 3 pedals with 2 feet whilst steering, watching the road, being aware of other drivers’ movements and navigating our way through unknown roads. Never mind indicating, checking mirrors and chatting to fellow passengers at the same time!
At the beginning, we lack confidence because we lack competence.
Once we pass our driving test and have spent a few months driving, we become 100% confident in our ability to drive safely. We have learnt to become confident because we have become competent.
The good news is you can do the same with sales.
Of course, some people seem ‘born to sell’ but, in my experience, that’s rarely true. Those that appear to be that way are often terrible at sales as they like the sound of their own voice rather too much, reducing their willingness to listen to clients (the number 1 error in sales).
Often, good candidates for sales careers have developed reasonably good social skills by the time they start looking for work. They feel comfortable in unfamiliar surroundings and with new people. They also recognise that paying attention to other people is the right way to behave in company.
If this sounds like you, you have a head-start in sales. If this doesn’t sound like you, fear not: you can learn these things. As you learn, you become better and you build confidence.
Building confidence in sales – as well as in life – is something you acquire through competence and it’s never too late to start.