COURAGEOUS: Transcends fear with passion and purpose to deliver breakthrough results
The Sales Coach entered our stories to talk to Sales Enthusiasts and share his insights on what helped him craft for himself a stellar career in sales. As his current series of conversations draw to a close, he dwells on higher order behaviours that go into creating sales resilience. These overarching behaviours emerge from everyday positive behaviours that are practised repeatedly. The Sales Coach breaks down these higher order behaviors to make it easy for the Sales Enthusiasts to incorporate them in their work lives.
So, what’s the conversation all about today? Let’s listen in:
The Sales Coach (SC) said to the Sales Enthusiasts (SE): “Imagine your fears lose their ability to hold you back. You are brimming with courage. You know you have it in you to handle your challenges, no matter what. How would you like that?”
A Sales Enthusiast said: “You mean, you will give us a magic formula that can fix all our fears? Swish and they are gone?”
SC: “You know what, my friends, there is nothing to fear except fear itself. And, that’s not my line. It’s from US President F D Roosevelt who spoke in equally challenging times”
SE: “How do we get rid of fear?”
SC: “Can you say that again? Do you want to really get rid of fear? Or do you want to know how you can get better at acting in spite of it? You are all salespeople. And as salespeople we do things that most people dread to do. We walk up to perfect strangers. We not only talk to them but also ask them if they will buy from us. The fear of rejection, refusal and knocks on self-esteem that it involves, is a price most people wouldn’t want to pay. We take targets and manage the enormous pressure of expectations. And we do this month after month and year after year. We get our teams to do it. Are we not acting in spite of fear?”
SE: “Ok! Let’s talk about how do we get better at doing what we should, in spite of our fears”
SC: “Let’s first understand where these fears come from. Can you describe what exactly you fear?”
SE: “Sure Sir. Uncertainty tops the list of descriptions. In this post pandemic season, we have all got back to selling. But we aren’t sure when things will really become like before and whether our industry would sustain and recover or would go into a tail spin. Everything is uncertain and it creates paralyzing fear”
SC: “When was anything guaranteed to anyone at all? Why only in sales? Don't health professionals show selfless courage when they feel fear and still attend to Covid patients in hazmat suits? We in sales we have our jobs to do too. And we are no less in society's battle against Corona than those frontline health professionals. After all, the world counts on us to get our economies moving again. And nothing moves unless something is sold. Come on, friends, it’s time for courage!”
SE: “Yes, Sir. It's time for courage. Please tell us how. You said you will give us a formula?”
SC: “Here it is. In a larger life context, the formula is Compassion x Confidence = Courage.
SE: “But compassion may not apply to a sales context Sir”
SC: “In sales it translates as an overwhelming concern for the Customer and Customer’s interest. Think of the times you have escalated matters right up to the top management because you felt a Customer had to be helped. Where did that courage come from? In normal circumstances would you have gone all the way up? So, the first component of courage is Passion. This is passion for your doing the best in your work and for your Customer”
SE: “Then what will Confidence equate to?”
SC: “Purposeful practice. The kind of practice that builds rock solid capabilities. You can’t be courageous if you are not capable at what you do. I mean, when you escalate a request to help a Customer out of passion, you also need the skill and the confidence to justify and support your case. That capability comes from unremitting practice of positive sales behaviours"
SE: “And this can be applied to our daily sales activities Sir?”
SC: “Of course. Why not? Let me take an example first. You are a passionate driver. You set out on a long night drive. You don’t get to see beyond the 150 metres that your hi-beam headlights shine into. That doesn’t mean you stop driving, for fear of what you can’t see, does it?
Don’t you trust the visibility to happen as you move forward? Don’t you trust your driving skills to stay in control if you see something coming in your way? Don’t you just stay focused on the 150 metres you can see, in any given moment? And doesn’t that fear of the unknown in the darkness ahead, ensure that you don’t outrun your headlights?
o, remember, fear is not a bad thing. It keeps you on alert and warns you so that you are prepared enough. So, in this context, when your passion for driving is challenged by your fear of that darkness on the road, and you meet that challenge with your impeccable driving skills born of relentless practice, you are courageous in your behavior. Agree?”
SE: “Yes!” said a cascade of messages on the chat window
SC: Great! So too, in a sales process, when you are prospecting, it is normal to feel the fear of price. Let that fear be. It is a reminder that you are not ready to handle price. That’s fine.
You are still prospecting. So, just do that much. Just as much as the process allows visibility for. Don’t outrun your headlights. Stay focused on the 150 meters, on that stage of the sales process. Do that extremely well.
As you finish prospecting, of course the next 150 meters will show up. So, you take it as it comes. You are skilled enough and ready for it. Yet, you may have that fear of losing the sale.
To fear is human. Let that be. Acknowledge that fear. Face it. And deal with it by getting better at doing what your Customer expects of you. Allowing fear to immobilize ones efforts, is not an option a courageous salesperson. Yes?”
SE: “100% Sir! It's exciting to see it like this. So, what’s the sales formula for courage?”
SC: “Passion for the Customer x Purposeful Practice of Positive Sales behaviors = Courage for the Sales Person.”
SE: “We will remember that as P x P = C. Thank you so much Sir. We are not going to wait for things to get better. We will get going. Our fears can wait”
Pause to reflect: To fear is human. Let that be. Acknowledge that fear. Face it. And deal with it by getting better at doing what your Customer expects of you. Allowing fear to immobilize ones efforts, is not an option for a courageous salesperson.
Action Question: Pick 3 sales situations where you felt held back in fear. How could you have responded with courage?
Related Readings: Mercuri Mail Dec 2015 Vintage feature on Leadership and Discipline on how facets of courage are important components of leadership
Takeaway Quote: “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities because it is the quality that guarantees all the others.” — Winston Churchill
About the series: This is the 98th in a series of 100 Posts that seek to build your Sales Resilience ... as an individual salesperson, as a sales team, and as a sales organization. Because a Resilient India needs Resilient Sales.