Ever break out in a cold sweat when it comes to sales?
Sometimes when I’m nervous I twirl my hair or a pen. Or tap my foot. My heart races and I talk too fast. I’m sure I don’t come across as the confident business woman I usually am. I feel like Oliver Twist with his hand out begging for food.
Can you tell that sales make me nervous?
Yet, I own a business and need to make sales all the time. I have to close the sale again and again. Or find another job. It’s not the kind of business where I can hand off sales to someone else. It’s me or goodbye business.
If you’re tired of feeling nauseous every time someone mentions sales, here’re three simple strategies that will help you overcome your nervous nature and become a sales rock star.
Embrace Your Own Style
Ever been to a sales training seminar and thought “There is no way I’ll ever do this. That is the sleaziest thing I’ve ever seen”?
I’ve seen so-called experts give the most ridiculous and obnoxious advice. Stuff that would never, ever come out of my mouth. Think of all the high-pressure sales techniques that have been used on you. It’s the sales stereotypes that make people like us dread the idea of having to sell in the first place.
But you don’t have to be that person.
Forget the experts and gurus. You’ll only come across as fake if you try to be someone you’re not. So embrace your own style, whatever that may be. Be genuine. Even if that means you’re not the slick sales person you think you should be. Who cares? You’ll get more results from being yourself that pretending to be something you’re not.
Trust me on this one.
Communicate Your Way When Following Up
Here’re a few stats from HubSpot that may surprise you:
- 44% of salespeople give up after one follow-up
- 80% of sales require five follow-ups
Clearly, the art of the sale is in the follow-up. Yet, there is no rulebook that says you can’t communicate on the medium you feel the most comfortable using.
“Ultimately, being in constant communication with your leads and customers shouldn’t be a daunting task,” writes Leedfeeder’s Peter Seenan in a recent post How To Write a Follow-up Sales Email That Doesn’t Suck: “Treat each one like a friend – with honesty, kindness, interest and helpfulness – and responses will come fairly easily.”
Use email if you communicate better when writing. Pick up the phone if you’re more confident when you're talking. Reach out on social media if that’s what makes more sense for your unique business. Play to your strengths instead of trying to force communication that will fall flat.
Focus on Networking and Referrals
The networking group BNI, which has local chapters around the world, generated over 7.7 million referrals which lead to over $9 billion worth of sales for it’s members in 2015. BNI trains its members on how to create networking opportunities and referrals for all its members. Although this method takes time, you can’t argue that they get results.
There are many ways to start networking, both on and offline. You don’t have to join a group or online platform, but that may help jumpstart your networking sales results. You can also partner with businesses that compliment yours. For example, you could partner with a florist, hairdresser, and limousine service if you’re a caterer who wants more wedding business.
Again, the idea is to do things your way. And don’t forget that it’s easiest to network with colleagues who have become friends. They will be easy to talk to and want to support you and your business.
From Panic to Nerves of Steel
While I’m a huge advocate of being a genuine salesperson and never compromising your values to get a sale, I also believe in challenging yourself. You’ll never become a sales ninja if you do the same thing and expect different results.
Create your own sales system, where you use your strengths and minimize your weaknesses. Don’t be afraid to try new things, even if that does make you a little nervous. Your confidence will come when you finally feel successful at sales. Even if that means making mistakes (and you will make mistakes!).
Just remember that you can be any type of salesperson you want. Your sales will soar once you finally remember to be yourself – in all your awkward glory – and just relax and enjoy the process.