Show confidence when selling: stand for SOMETHING

I read this on a poster somewhere, where the king of the jungle had this to say:  “No matter the economy of the jungle, l can never eat grass. It’s not pride, it’s just who l am.”  This is an apt quote for the importance of showing confidence in sales. This is an essential tip for a salesperson: show confidence when selling.

Are you able to stand for what your company or business offers or do you balk at the first sign of resistance? Average salespeople acquiesce at the first sign of protest; progressive salespeople on the other hand, learnt a long time ago to draw the line beyond which they will not cross and beneath which they will not sink. “You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything,” is yet another quote that can be used to drive home the importance of showing confidence when selling.

How does product knowledge contribute to sales success

A dear friend and stellar seller Francis (RIP) would tactfully respond to an objection for a 20% discount thus: “This is fine; which 20% of the product do you wish me to remove, Sir?” Bold; and to most sales people, unbelievable; even rude.  Yet it happens because the salesperson knows the importance of his product, stands for its price, because is sure of its value, can demonstrate it, and so refuses to be dragged down the discount drain. But product knowledge isn’t the only impetus to showing confidence when selling. After all product superiority is not sales superiority.

Where confidence comes from

You may argue that it is easier to firmly stand by a comparatively successful product than one not so. For instance, if I’m selling space for a successful publication whose circulation is 10 times the nearest competitor, and is among the top 10 in Africa, I may even have a glint in my eye, and a spring to my walk; this should be an easy sale, yes? NO. True, such statistics should give the salesperson confidence to go sell; also true is that there are many products which should be easy to stand for, but the average salesperson balks at the challenges that come with selling them. When selling space in the magazine, they find they cannot undersell the brand. A big brand name is not an automatic easy sale.

Firmly standing for a product may be assisted by the product’s positive standing in the market, but such confidence must be exuded by the salesperson or it’s all for naught. In case you didn’t know, the con in conman stands for confidence.  Stay ethical, but show confidence.

Show confidence when selling

Showing confidence when selling services

Services tend to be most affected by the sales persons (in)ability to show confidence when selling. “How do I stand for air?” as I once heard a salesperson refer to selling a service. After all, there is nothing to show the prospect (hence, air). This belief in itself is the beginning of the inability to stand for something when selling syndrome. Sales is a transfer of confidence especially when selling services. Services require a salesperson who looks and speaks the value he promises to deliver. His personal brand is an extension of the brand he is selling. His words, demeanour and general disposition are the promise he is selling. Is it easy? Absolutely not! You may find yourself stammering at the prospect of mentioning your well above industry average consultancy or hotel reservation fee, for instance.

How do you, a sales person build or show confidence to customers

That doesn’t mean you don’t, or that you recoil. As a prospect (yes, prospect, not seller) recently told me, “It’s important to have space to say no.” In other words, stand for something. And with practice, if selling luxury goods, you can grow into comfortably saying, “A tot of Remy Martin IX is only 41,000shs, Sir?” despite that being more than twice your monthly salary. Rehearsing, and likely, stammering your way to confidence is how to grow to showing confidence when selling. Practice is where confidence comes from.

Another effective way to show confidence when selling is to pause up to 3 seconds before responding. It’ll allow you to collect your thoughts as opposed to blurting out words that display desperation instead of inspiring confidence.

Why confidence is important in sales

When a salesperson doesn’t stand for something, like an animal of prey exposed, he reeks fear and the predator prospect, circles in, gently at first, and then more boldly until they zoom in for the kill. And the prey is had; the salesperson limps away, his ego bruised, an excuse to rationalize the failed interview playing in his mind. Such repeat exchanges by the salesperson, wear him down; reasons to look forward to another day dim; the job becomes “hard”, and soon, he is looking for the exit sign. It’s a heavy toll the salesperson pays for not standing for something.

How do businesses show confidence when selling

Standing for something is not just handling a price objection issue; it is also cancelling the profitable contract because the incurably foul-mouthed client has created a toxic working environment for staff; or, confidently taking the heat for your company’s error (historical injustices for instance) and seeing through the correction; or, walking away from a mega deal, because you feel it will compromise your values. For instance, “No. I’m sorry we are unable to discuss further on funding your business idea for a pub. Shariah banking does not facilitate that.” Immediately disqualify that lead. Or, it could also be that despite the prospect’s badgering, calmly stating you don’t know the answer to his question but will come back with a response soon enough.

Problem of lacking confidence in sales

The salesperson should be the authority on his product. When he unwisely retreats merely to suit a prospect he puts undue pressure on back office (those who are meant to deliver the heaven he has promised); he puts unnecessary strain on himself, trying to get the 16 by 8 space he sold, fit the 8 by 4 price he acquiesced to; and after confident back office has said no, (and the salesperson has suffered an ulcer), he still has to go back and face the client, tail between the legs, to seek absolution and amendment, having, hopefully, stood for the error of his ways.


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