Tim Huffaker

Every day I wrestle with the issue, “Why don’t salespeople sell more.” 

There is no simple reason, and there are multiple causes for this common ailment.  The under performing salesperson is as widespread as the common cold and equally as elusive in its cure.  Acknowledging that there are many reasons for the lack of sales achievement, and having addressed many of them in the past, let me discuss both a cause and a symptom of this universal dilemma.  The cause and symptom boil down to one simple, four-letter word, FEAR. There are many varieties of fear, and you are familiar with most of them. The fear of being told no, the fear of taking action, the fear of failing, the fear of looking foolish, the fear of working on your own, and even the fear of success are all known factors that impact your ability to achieve sales success.

Edmund Burke, an eighteenth century British statesman and philosopher once said, “No passion so effectively robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.”  There is nothing wrong with fear; it is a necessary human response to danger. However, there is no life threatening behavior associated with selling. There is no study suggesting salespeople suffer any form of post-traumatic stress disorder due to a career in sales.  Fear, however, is a real response to selling experienced everyday by salespeople throughout the world. Fear is a type of poisonous venom that paralyzes both the mind and body from taking the actions necessary to conquer the events at hand.

Fear is not an isolated symptom of selling associated with poor performers.  Successful salespeople are not void of fear. The difference is found in the way they handle it.  They begin by first identifying their fears and then by taking the appropriate actions to conquer them.  Once a particular fear has been conquered it will forever lose its power to bind your actions. Your newfound strength will allow you to reach far beyond your prior performance.  The challenge for all salespeople is to find the courage to stand up to their fears and meet them head on. There is nothing wrong with being afraid. But, once you have formed the habit of standing up to fear, it will lose its power over you.  There is only one way to face your sales fears and that is by committing to a daily habit of “doing the things that you fear most”.

In his play, Measure for Measure, William Shakespeare wrote, “Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.”  Don’t allow fear to rob you of your best efforts. Begin each day with a firm resolve that you will face your fears. Commit yourself to those activities that will deliver the results necessary to achieve your desired success.  Focus on the results and the anticipated rewards. Don’t allow your actions to be influenced by doubt and fear. The power of your own resolve will be great enough to conquer doubt and diminish your fears. You will never achieve the true measure of your potential until you are willing to take the risk of reaching beyond the efforts of your typical performance.