By Natasa Cvijanovic
As I previously stated, I didn't hesitate when given the opportunity to write for Street SmartsSM, but now that I'm writing my second article, I realize it's not all fun and games. This will be more difficult than I anticipated. I walk onto the stage and … FREEZE. Self-doubt rears its head.
Have you ever been in a similar situation? You step onto your stage and your confidence plummets, whether you're skiing downhill at high speed, on a cold call, at a merchant meeting or on a date. You question yourself and lose sight of who we are and what you want to accomplish, which has a negative impact on every aspect of your life and business. Has this held you back from expanding your business or taking the next step?
Don't worry if you answered yes to any of these questions; you're not alone. We've all been there. I doubt myself, too, on occasion. And I've asked myself, what is the key to gaining confidence in sales (and in life)?
Some people exude confidence even when they shouldn't. For many others, confidence remains elusive. In this article, I'll share some confidence-building strategies. Hopefully, by the end, you'll have some tools or increased sales confidence to call that large merchant who's been sitting in your pipeline for so long that you've run out of excuses not to reach out. The goal is to grow as a merchant level salesperson and boost your sales confidence. And here I am, finally putting my psychology degree to good use.
Confidence is arguably the most important sales skill. So much of what we do in sales is about managing objections, and confidence is central to successfully handling those. More than product knowledge, most salespeople lack the ability to confidently deliver their pitch and respond to merchant objections, even though it is an essential tool for overcoming those obstacles and closing deals. So, is there a way to build self-confidence if you weren't born with it?
Contrary to popular belief, confidence can be built over time through knowledge and experience. An individual gains confidence when proof of their accomplishments outweighs their negative self-perception. So, what are those accomplishments? Do you reflect on your career to recognize and celebrate your successes? You most certainly should. I've had the pleasure of working with many salespeople, and those who are successful are far from modest.
Confidence comes in many forms. It doesn't require you to know everything or have an answer for every question. Confident salespeople know what they don't know, and they recognize that they can't do everything perfectly. They accept their limitations, but they also recognize their own talents and abilities, as well as the significance of their accomplishments.
Even if an accomplishment has little to do with merchant services or your business, it may help increase your confidence. So, if you're passionate about a subject, read a book on it, or try to learn a new skill.
There are multiple techniques for boosting confidence. I'll start with three that have worked for me. The first and most important step is to learn to control your negative self-talk, which can quickly make you feel as if everyone is watching you and scrutinizing every mistake and blunder you make. It's a slippery slide. Stop with the nonsense. We've all heard that our brains control our bodies, but did you know the opposite is also true? Do you have a personal mantra by which you live that counteracts negative self-talk? Make up or borrow one if you don't already have one.
The second step is training. What do all athletes do to improve their performance? They train. No Olympic athlete has ever reached the pinnacle without putting in the necessary time and effort. Bungee jumping has helped people overcome their fear of heights. You can overcome your anxiety or fear of cold calling by simply picking up the phone or walking into a merchant location. What's the worst that could happen? They kick you out? Make you uncomfortable? As strange as it may sound, being comfortable with being uncomfortable will keep self-doubt from preventing your progress. Building authentic, unshakeable confidence necessitates significant failure. You must persevere through difficult moments, confront challenges and roll with the punches.
As the great philosopher Kelly Clarkson famously stated, "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger." Of course, I'm joking. That expression comes from a German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche. Artists like Kelly Clarkson and Kanye West have incorporated it into their songs, so why can't we? Even more fittingly, Nietzsche doesn't appear to have believed suffering results in strength; rather, he suggested one should view suffering as an opportunity to build strength and confidence. So what can we learn from this?
Rather than being discouraged, view each rejection as an opportunity to train and gain confidence. Let's face it, if you find yourself getting caught up in the minutiae of everyday business, it is probably because you are attempting to avoid the punches. Remind yourself that training and rejections will help you build confidence. Also, keep your long-term goals in mind. Do that, and you'll be able to focus on what's most important to you and your business. Put an end to busyness and start building your business.
The stage—the merchant meeting, for example—is the last step. This is where you perform. You must test your confidence to build it up. I'm doing that on stage right now. Let go of mistakes you may have made and move on. Expecting perfection will drive you crazy. Besides, the perfect answers aren't nearly as important as the right delivery. I'm not suggesting you intentionally provide merchants with inaccurate or deceptive information, but if you confidently address an objection, your prospect's brain will likely read it as an answered question and go on to the next.
It takes successes and failures in sales (and in life) to build self-confidence. You must be subjected to both—more than most people are willing to do. If you need advice, seek it. Reach out to someone you trust, such as a friend, colleague—or even me.
Journaling is an excellent way to track your progress. Ask yourself, What did I accomplish yesterday? What am I hoping to accomplish this week? Keep those questions in mind as you plan your week ahead. Fine-tune your craft. Continue to train, grow and improve. The stage is all yours. You are the main act.
Natasa Cvijanovic, co-founder and CEO of Tesla Payments, has a proven track record within the payment industry of cultivating successful relationships with ISOs, MLSs and strategic partners. In developing national sales channels, she provides training and coaching to sales partners to enable them to become better business partners and advocates for their merchants, and to assist them in building portfolios producing steady residual streams. She is also dedicated to consistently delivering high levels of professionalism, integrity, dependability and trustworthiness. Contact her at email@example.com.
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