- The most important ‘winning sales behaviour’ to activate - 11 February 2022
- The question asked most often by sales people - 4 November 2021
- How to muscle in, and boot the competition out - 9 July 2020
Pay-off: Grow your confidence to grow your sales
Investment: 4 minutes
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Some say that confidence sells.
Some say that trust sells.
The Oxford dictionary suggests they’re both right, as it tells us that ‘confidence’ is about expressing an intensive force of ‘trust’:
Late 16th century: from French confident(e), from Italian confidente, from Latin confident- having full trust, from the verb confidere, from con- (expressing intensive force) + fidere trust.
But, of course, ‘confidence’ and ‘trust’ are in the eye of the beholder. They decide what and who to trust, but if you’re not confident, it’s probably fair to say that they’re unlikely to trust that you’re the person to deliver.
Did confidence just win?
Recently, someone very confident achieved a big win. They were trusted to deliver by a large number of people. Their competitor lacked a bit of trust. And not enough people were confident in them, what they stood for, or what they promised to deliver.
They buy what’s on the inside
Confidence and trust in those offering value for money to a certain market or group, matter a lot. And there’s no doubt to my mind that this confidence originates from within. (Tip: you have to earn it). If it’s not on the inside, it’s not on the outside. And so the customer can’t and won’t buy it.
Self-confidence and trust in yourself to position, promise and deliver that value matter a lot too. (See my article on why it’s so important to “paint the back of the cabinet” when you’re in a sales or BD role aka “The (hidden) way to win people over).
It’s this sort of behaviour that amplifies confidence from within so that people buy into you. And as an aside, consider which ‘cabinets’ were looked behind in the recent election. Many people aren’t exactly painting the parts of the cabinet that you can’t directly see.
Appearing to be confident
But a surprisingly large number of people I work with quietly tell me (when their boss isn’t around) that they’re not so confident on the inside about what they’re selling.
They say that they’re not confident about their own product or service, or how it actually works in full, about what else their organisation actually does (“truth is, Mark, I don’t really know what the rest of the business really does.”) and they often lack confidence about their market, their customers, and the price they sell at. Many people tell me these things. If I earned a few quid every time I heard these concerns…..actually, I kind of do.
Deciding to buy
We’re quick to feel out our confidence and trust in others. We have a stab at that intuitively in the first 30 seconds (momentarily without considering that we might be wrong). This then biases our second attempt to assess them and their offering. And the next and so on. We become primed to notice themes, becoming eventually oblivious to anything that says otherwise. And we keep assessing our confidence and trust in them as we ‘court’ them further, as they eventually arrive at a decision. (Or make no decision which is a decision in itself to not progress with the seller).
The customer who sees strong confidence in someone selling something often seems to think some version of either:
“this person is on to something”
“this person is delusional and insane”.
We don’t tend to overcomplicate our vote. We just give the thumbs up or thumbs down. We buy or we don’t.
We ask, “am I confident and do I trust that this is worth paying them for?”
Make a plan to earn more confidence
If you’re not confident enough then your customer can probably sense this.
If you’re not confident enough then you either haven’t thought, learned or done enough of the things you can think, learn or do.
If you’re not confident enough, it’s because you haven’t yet earned it.
So what’s your plan?
I’ve already suggested that you could think about the ideas in my article here.
You could also jot down all the things you’re unclear about and make a learning plan to grow your knowledge so that you’re confident. That’s easy.
Practising your skills can help too. You sell every day to just about everyone you talk to, so don’t think that you lack opportunities to grow these skills. That’s ‘un-useful.’
Another way you can develop confidence is to have a safety net, or a tool or framework in your pocket to fall back on. It’s better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. This is another hidden benefit of acquiring yourself a set of sales tools and techniques. It’s not just about how well the tools work, it’s also about the confidence they give you just by having them under your belt.
How confident are you when you sell? How confident do you appear to be? (How many of your attempted sales are you making?)
What could you acquire or learn that might help you feel more confident? Give me a shout if I can help you think that through or point you in the right direction.
Please share if you think others will find it useful
And if you want me to cover tips on any particular topic or question, let me know here. I’m not a static page! I’m a person who wants to help you to make a difference.
Some more of my posts you may find useful:
- How to eliminate pushback in conversations
- The (hidden) way to win people over
- How to apply what you learn
- The art of introducing yourself
- 7 common thoughts that hurt intelligent non-sales people (and damage business!)
- How to get 10 times more out of what you learn
- Learn up to 10 times faster
- The smart way to increase your probability of getting “yeses”
- Should you be likeable to succeed in sales?
- How to comfortably step out of your comfort zone
- How to improve at pre-empting objections
- How to eliminate sales objections
- Are you misunderstanding what persuades people?