I hear a lot of advice a long the lines of “just be confident!” from sales coaches. But I think most salespeople know that confidence is important in sales. The question is – how do you gain confidence? And if you’re not confident, does that mean you don’t belong in sales?
I think it’s a myth that great salespeople are always confident. I think they may know how to get themselves into a state of confidence, or they have the courage to persevere even when they don’t feel confident and trust that the confidence will come.
Sometimes, let’s face it, you’re having a bad day, you had a fight with your spouse, you lost a deal. Sometimes, you simply can’t think your way into greater confidence. For those times, I want to share with you a really practical technique I learned as an actor.
It’s called Acting as if. And it works like this. Next time you’re feeling really confident, notice what that looks like and sounds like for you. Maybe you stand taller, gesture more, speak louder, or hold eye contact longer.
Then when you have to get on that call or give a presentation when you’re not feeling 100% confident, apply these confident behaviors as you’re practicing. Push through even when it feels awkward and uncomfortable and maintain those confident behaviors in your meeting. In other words, act as if you have great confidence. 9 times out of 10 you’ll find that pretty quickly you are actually feeling confident and good. It’s much like forcing yourself to smile can make you feel happier.
So go out there and show confidence, and if you can’t, act as if until the real deal kicks in.
Many presenters share the actor’s nightmare of being in front of an audience and not knowing their lines. I lived that nightmare early in my sales career. A Presenter’s nightmare As a new salesperson I was excited when I received a last-minute opportunity to present to an important prospect. Although I didn’t know the product well or have much preparation time, I felt confident. After all, everything I needed was on my slides! I arrived at the prospect’s office, introduced myself, clicked on my PowerPoint and…nothing happened. I clicked, rebooted, prayed. Still nothing. Soon my audience was chiming in with suggestions, all to no avail. (Now mind you, this was before flash drives and the ability to email large files easily.) I decided to forge ahead – sans-slides – since I knew it would be difficult to get this same group of people together any time soon. I wish I Read More
“Show confidence!” This was one of the least helpful pieces of advice I received before delivering my first sales presentation. Not only did it lack practical tactics or steps, I didn’t want to just appear confident. I wanted to feel confident. Confidence is vital in sales. Prospects want to feel like they are making the best possible decision and placing their business and trust with a credible partner. A lack of confidence on the part of a presenter can quickly call that trust into question and give prospects reason to choose another vendor, especially when all things are equal. I learned more about delivering confident presentations from my training as an actor than from any sales training I’d received. The acting tips below are tactical and proven to work in a craft that knows what it takes to appear – and ultimately feel – confident in front of an audience Read More
Question: Two actors are auditioning for one role. Both are equally qualified and both read from the same script. Yet only one actor wins the role while the other goes home empty handed. Why? Answer: You may have answered something like: “the winning actor brought personality to the role, he had charisma, he made the audience feel the lines.” But whatever your answer was, I bet it didn’t have anything to do with the words he used! This is not unlike what happens in a sales presentation or demo. Many vendor presentations use the same words and even scripts as their competitors. Things get blurry for our customers — especially as differences between products and services get smaller and buying cycles lengthen. So while a well-crafted message is a critical component of your presentation, don’t rely on your content to do all the heavy lifting by overlooking the tools right Read More
A well-crafted message is a critical component of your sales presentation, conversation, or demo, but in today’s competitive landscape, you can’t rely on your content to do all the heavy lifting. Consider this… Two actors are auditioning for the same part. Each actor fits the description sent out by the casting director and they audition reading from the exact same script. Why does one actor get the part while the other goes back to checking audition notices? It obviously isn’t because of the words since they are exactly the same. The winning actor brings meaning and emotion to the words. She makes it easy for the director to see her in the role. She’s using her instrument – her voice, body, and mind – to bring the script to life, capture the audience’s attention, and convince them she is right for the role. Presenting your solution in a competitive world Read More