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Selling with Noble Purpose: How to Drive Revenue and Do Work That Makes You Proud by Lisa Earle McLeod

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Chapter 6

How Fear Flatlines Sales Calls

We must build dykes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.

—Martin Luther King, Jr.

A 1980s sales training video opened with a sales manager saying, “Sales is all about fear. The salespeople are afraid the customers won’t buy, and the customers are afraid they will buy.”

Sadly, the sentiment rings true in many industries. Despite their seemingly confident exteriors, most salespeople are secretly terrified that they’ll fail.

If you’ve ever found yourself staring down the short end of a bad revenue report, you know how scary sales can be. All it takes is one bad quarter to make you start to sweat. You picture yourself huddled on the side of the interstate off-ramp holding a sign that says, “Will create PowerPoint slides for food.”

Customers can feel the same way. Behind many of the toughest negotiating purchasing managers is a deep-seated fear of getting called on the carpet for making the wrong decision.

Who hasn’t felt the cold clammy finger of dread? It starts in your gut and spreads like ice water through your veins, moving into your arms and legs. Your heart beats faster, your breathing becomes shallow, and you break out in a cold sweat.

This is hardly the right mindset for a successful sales call.

Some people actually believe that fear is a good motivator for salespeople. This belief, like many others we have about sales, is misguided.

Fear works in the short term. It can kick-start someone into action, but it’s not a sustainable ...

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