If you have ever stood in front of a team of decision-makers and suddenly froze up, you will know the impact of fear and nerves on the process of selling. Whether it’s sustained business or just a nice commission, there’s always a lot riding on a sale. Sometimes, your self-esteem can take a huge battering if a pitch doesn’t go the way you want it to. In order to connect with your client and make a sale, you have to overcome your fear. Fear can stop you from speaking clearly. Fear can affect your posture, and it can even make you sick. Here are a few tips to conquer any fear or trepidation you have about your pitch that could cause you to blow the sale. It’s time to discover your confidence.
Be the expert
You’re a lot less likely to become nervous if you know exactly what you’re doing. For the best salespeople out there, selling is second nature because they’ve made the effort to become experts. This isn’t just about having the ability to sell, but knowing how to best conduct research into the products and services to answer virtually every question a potential client would have.
Knowing all the subtle nuances of the product will help you put yourself in the shoes of the customer. This will help you determine what they need to hear and what they want to hear.
The Simon and Garfunkel effect
“The Sound of Silence” is a great song. But it’s also a trigger for one of the most exciting aspects of sales presenations.
People who don’t enjoy silence tend to feel like it ‘unnerves’ them When silence happens in sales, it ruins the presentation. Any progress made in the presentation can quickly be forgotten if the salesperson pauses and stammers out of nervousness.
Worse, the prospective customer starts talking and then the salesperson interrupts, like it’s a competition to see who can get the best idea in first. Be aware that silence is powerful, and is also needed in some parts of the presentation. If there is silence, give it a few beats. It’s not poker, you don’t have to wait it out. But just give it a few seconds. The prospect may actually need the time to think.
Silence needs to happen at some point. Don’t be tempted to jump in and talk ten to the dozen. If you do this, you are giving in to fear. It’s okay if you need a moment to think, but make sure you’re able to improvise. Don’t let fear consume you.
Your sales mentor may have advised against practicing the pitch in front of the mirror, but there is no better way to make yourself ready for the big moment. The more you rehearse, the more comfortable you will be with speaking slowly and therefore being more engaging and compelling as a salesperson.
No one wants to buy from amateurs, so rehearse it until you’re sitting there at breakfast and you’re able to recite it word for word. It’s kind of linked to knowing the product. Just be in the zone when it comes to what you have to say. However, your presentation most likely won’t be exactly as you rehearsed it. Odds are is that someone will have a question that will divert from your routine, so make sure you have all of the answers prepared.
This is a tremendously important part of your presentation. Be conscious of your breath and the process that it both gives and takes away. The more you concentrate on your breathing during any stressful scenario, the calmer you will be. Your brain will get the right amount of oxygen, so your decision-making when it comes to speaking will be better off too.
If you’re stuck for how to breathe for relaxation, keep it as simple as possible:
- Breathe in slowly, taking in what feels like your full intake of oxygen
- Hold that breath for two seconds
- Slowly exhale
Repeat that ten times before the presentation and you’ll be calmer than you ever thought you could be. Also, remember that if the sale doesn’t go through, the world is not going to end. If you’re prepared, focused, rehearsed and breathing, you should be fine. Get all that right and the loss of the sale won’t be because of a weak pitch.