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Fighting sales fear: An essential skill for the business professional?


I’ve met many business professionals frazzled by the sales process. Normally a pillar of strength, smarts and savvy, they hear the word ‘sell’ and their palms start to sweat.

Unfortunately, selling has to battle decades’ worth of bad PR to become a valued tool in most professionals’ arsenal. Far from instilling fear, it should be the basis of engaging discussions regarding the activities, processes and behaviours required to sell.

But it’s not only history that deters people from sales. Sales results, and the ongoing performance assessment that implies, can be scary for those who’ve never studied how to sell effectively, or who have previously tried and failed.

I believe that everyone lives by selling something – whether you consider yourself a salesperson or not. And it’s fine if you don’t fancy taking up the moniker – because the key to selling is being your authentic self.

I would never recommend copying someone else’s style; however, you can study what underpins their good sales practice. I advocate three sales essentials that can form the foundation of anyone’s selling technique and quickly ‘fix’ any problems that hold people back from achieving good sales results.

Barrett’s Three Sales Essentials

Barrett’s three sales essentials are: sales planning, sales prospecting and sales communication.

  1. Develop a Go-to-market sales action plan that tells you:
    – Who you need to be in front of
    – How you need to get in front of them
    – How often you need to do it to make it all worthwhile
  2. Know how to make an effective prospecting call and prospect on a daily basis. It’s the first thing that has to happen if you want to make a sale
  3. Communicate effectively by asking people about their priorities, problems and objectives before you talk about yourself and what you have to offer

Process is key to being effective. ‘Winging it’ may work occasionally, but it doesn’t deliver consistent wins and it doesn’t show you what you are doing right and wrong. Too many businesses leave selling to chance so it’s no wonder people are fearful of the sales process.

When sales people and their managers are provided with documented processes and taught how to use them, we find a dramatic shift in sales capability and sales performance. These three essential sales processes are the foundations of an effective sales team.

    When you give people the tools they need, they start to get traction. Soon selling becomes a ‘way of life’ rather than a fad. Do yourself a favour and make sure you and your sales people are well equipped with the three sales essentials.

    Sue Barrett is a sales expert, business speaker, adviser, sales facilitator and entrepreneur and founded Barrett Consulting to provide expert sales consulting, sales training, sales coaching and assessments. Visit www.barrett.com.au.