How to Overcome Your Fear of Sales

It doesn't matter if you've been in sales for 20 years or 20 minutes. Fear is a part of nearly every sales professional's career. While having a fear of sales may seem like a guaranteed way to fail in sales, many of the most successful in sales had the same fears that rookie sales reps and struggling professionals have. The only difference is that the top sales professionals have developed strategies to get beyond their fears.

The fact is that if you are trying to overcome your fear, you are not at all alone. Knowing this alone often can give strength.

Realize That You are Not Alone

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Believing that you are the only one in a sales position, or even on your sales team, that is dealing with a fear of sales, is the same as believing that you are the only one who requires oxygen. Everyone in sales has varying degrees of fear associated with their job. For some, their fears revolve around not being good enough to close enough sales to reach their ​quotas. For others, their fears may surround how their customers may treat them. Still, others may be trying to overcome their fear of delivering presentations in front of people.​

Be Honest

Nervous salesman on sales call
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Psychologists will tell you that the first step in overcoming a challenge is to accept that the challenge exists. Denying that you have a fear about some part of your sales job is a great way to make sure that you either never overcome the fear or create a long delay in the mastery of your fear.

Being honest with your clients is a key element of long-term success in sales, and being honest with yourself is a key element of long-term self-fulfillment.

Admitting that you have fears does require putting your ego on the back burner. Being honest about the fact that you have fears may itself reveal to you how to overcome your fear.

Pick Your Fear Apart

Person using scissors to change card saying I can't do it to I can do it
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There is a funny thing about fears: they usually appear much larger than they are. Most of us tend to over-inflate our fears to the point that we feel that we can never overcome them.

If you take the time to pick your fears apart, you'll most likely begin to see that your fear that at one time seemed too intense to overcome, is much smaller than you thought.

Many times, your "base fear" has a host of "associated fears" that exist in your mind only because of the "base fear." These associated fears were created over time and usually served to justify your base fear to yourself. If you start to take an honest look at these associated fears, you probably will begin to feel that these aren't areas of fear for you.

Strip away enough of these associated fears, and the base fear won't seem as intimidating anymore.

Do What You Fear

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This cliche is based on a fundamental truth: when you do something that you are afraid of doing, you prove to yourself that you can overcome something and that your fear is, most likely, a thing totally in your mind.

The two most commonly faced fears in sales are the fear of rejection and the fear of public speaking. In sales, rejection is extraordinarily rare. You may question this statement considering that many sales cycles end in a lost sale. To many, not closing a sale means rejection. The truth is that losing a sale means that the customer chose a different solution, but losing a sale does not mean that they did not choose you. Furthermore, not getting an appointment, a sale, a referral, or even a ​promotion, seldom means you were rejected: it only means that you weren't chosen. The difference is tremendous.​​

As for public speaking, there are hundreds of resources to help you overcome your fear. The best approach is taking the "baby step" approach. It means to deliberately put yourself in a situation where you know you will have to speak in front of others. However, set up your presentations with slowly growing audiences. Start with 2 or 3 and, when you feel comfortable, expand your audience to 5 or 6. Before long, you'll be comfortable presenting in front of an auditorium full of customers who will never reject you!