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UK Reader DG recently wrote me the following:
"I enjoyed the information you provided on your website, however you never mentioned how important Self-Confidence is in a sale. I have been told that I am an excellent sales person, however I lack the self-confidence to close the sale. Self Confidence is not easy to 'obtain' therefore for those us with this problem, we can never be successful in sales."
Thanks for writing in DG. Self-confidence is a very important in sales. It seems to be one of those areas that people believe "you just have it, or you don't." Many people think that you are either a natural, are born talented, or you are incapable. My belief is that whatever one person can do, another person can do (what a person WILL do is another issue). I also believe that what humans have yet to accomplish, can be realized through ingenuity and persistence.
I want to discuss how one comes into a state of self- confidence. To do this, I am going to focus in on a couple of important pieces of what DG said. I think it would be useful before I do that though to define what self- confidence is. Obviously it is a feeling. A feeling of being able to do something. A feeling that one can accomplish what one sets out to do.
Reading my dictionary, I noted the following two definitions of self-confidence:
So when DG says "I lack the self-confidence to close the sale", what is she really saying? She is really saying that she is not certain, or that she lacks trust or faith.
Certainty in my experience is a state of being that comes about when one knows exactly what it going to happen. One can get to this state by one of two ways. The way most of us are familiar with is by doing something enough times until we know exactly what results we will get when we take certain actions. For some people in some situations, this can produce a lot of fear. The fear stops one from taking action.
The solution to the fear is in DG's statement that "self- confidence is not easy to 'obtain'". DG is correct, self- confidence cannot be obtained. One has to have trust or faith that one is capable. This is the short answer on how to get self-confidence.
The more detailed answer goes back to self-confidence being about a state of certainty. The way to create a state of certainty without first doing what one is unsure of is to create the results in advance.
Now that may sound kind of weird. How do you create results in advance? Easy. You do it in your mind using your imagination. Essentially, what you want to do is envision your desired goal or outcome, and then detail out a specific plan of exactly how you will get there.
You want a plan so specific that you answer "yes" to this question:
"If I take all these actions, will I get my outcome?"
Keep making your plan more specific until you can answer this question. When you can, you will suddenly realize that you have certainty that you will accomplish your goal. And when you have certainty about the future or your abilities, you can have trust and faith in the results.
Many people are loath to plan out their future. Others do so, but only part-way. One of the most limiting beliefs one can have is that detailed planning is only for anally retentive people. Go all the way and plan in detail until you can answer the simple but important question above.
To speed up the planning, copy someone who is already successful. You can find some of this information in books. You can interview and follow around the most successful sales rep that you can find. You can get a mentor, buy tapes, take classes. The information is out there. Because if someone has done it, then so can anyone else.
Once you find the right people to copy, find out what they believe about themselves and their success. Adopt their beliefs or pretend that you believe the same thing. Do this until you become the success that you want to be. Pretend for long enough, and you'll also discover that you are no longer pretending - you actually believe the same things that successful people do because you are one of them.