Written by Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council (including Manex President & CEO Gene Russell)
Reposted with Permission — Originally on Forbes.com
We develop comfort zones to shield ourselves from situations that might be unfamiliar or stressful. Often, though, success cannot be achieved within the safety of a personal bubble. Sometimes, to reach a goal, we must take on roles or risks that seem more daunting than exhilarating.
This is especially true in sales, where playing it safe won’t get you very far. Below, experts from Forbes Coaches Council share tips for salespeople who want to get better at stepping out of their comfort zones and into a confident selling mode.
1. Focus On The Problems You’re Solving
When selling successfully you are solving problems for your prospect. You are creating win-win situations. During the process, concentrate on getting a great understanding of their problem. Therefore, your interaction is about solving their problem and not about how well you present yourself. – Donald Hatter, Donald Hatter Inc.
2. Prepare, Practice, Present
The “three P’s” — prepare, practice and present — are all important to master for anyone who wants to be comfortable stepping out of their comfort zone. Do your homework — know your sales prospect and the product/service you’re selling to the last detail. Take the time to practice. Practice with an associate, a mentor, your boss, a mirror — whatever works for you. Present with confidence. – Randy Goruk, The Randall Wade Group, LLC
3. Be Authentic
It’s easy to step out of your comfort zone when you have confidence and know your strengths. Top salespeople know that the key to a sale is the relationship. And the key to a relationship is bringing your authentic self into the conversation. Salespeople who take the time to reflect on this will become comfortable regardless of the situation. – Adena Johnston, D. Mgt., CCI Consulting
4. Develop Your Public Speaking Skills
Whether you join Toastmasters, develop talks for nonprofits or speak publicly at association events, the point is to speak formally and consistently. Few salespeople push themselves to be speakers outside of the presentations they make as product representatives on the job. Find ways to speak compellingly without your products as a crutch. Get good at it and it will improve your sales career. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
5. Practice In Low-Stakes Situations
If you have trouble stepping out of your comfort zone, do something to get a little uncomfortable in low-stakes situations. I’ve done things as silly as auditioning for The Next Food Network Star, as career building as reaching out to famous authors, and as fun as skiing after a 20-year hiatus. Each time, I felt more confidence and joy, which inspired me to push my limits in other areas of my life. – Rosie Guagliardo, InnerBrilliance Coaching
6. Talk Less And Listen More
Sales is often draining and daunting because you talk, talk, talk, talk. Some of the best advice I can offer is to do less talking and more listening. What does your sales prospect need and what are their concerns? Most sales folks drift from the basic response of addressing these two issues. Pause while you address the value of what you offer and how it will directly answer their questions. – Barbara Adams, CareerPro Global, Inc.
7. Set Up A System For Yourself
A good salesperson needs a system to rely upon. They need to train on that system over and over, either directly with a trainer or via podcasts and books. They need to have high motivation, discipline to do the work and the persistence to do the work over and over. This will produce a near-constant comfort zone and make them fearless when approaching potential customers. – Gene Russell, Manex Consulting
8. Understand Why You’re Hearing ‘No’
The only way to become successful is to encounter a series of people saying “no,” then build your strategy so that you understand why it is said. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to position yourself and your product/service in a way that yields a “yes” that’s mutually beneficial for both parties. – LaKisha Greenwade, Lucki Fit LLC
9. Connect To Your Passion And Purpose
First and foremost any salesperson needs to be passionate about what they’re selling. If there is no passion, self-consciousness can take center stage, adversely impacting sales proficiency. Also, connecting to the positive purpose behind why you’re selling what you’re selling is also a core driver in sales proficiency. Passion and purpose combined allows one to soar above personal discomfort. – Linda Zander, Super Sized Success
10. Specialize In Your Best Talent
Selling involves several key skills administered in the proper doses. For instance, prospecting is a part of the sales process, as are presentations, closing and so on. Are you energized to prospect? Are you successful at prospecting, as in, “My pipeline is consistently full with top-tier prospects?”Same question for each skill. “Fire” yourself where you are not great, and your sales will go way up! – John Hittler, Evoking Genius
11. Know Your Client First
As a salesperson, you should do your homework before approaching your prospect. It’ll be an easy sell if you can demonstrate, in the first five minutes of your sales pitch, how the product is going to benefit him personally — or his business, as the case may be. Remember, your to-be clients will always seem hard-pressed for time. You’ll have less than 10 minutes to make your point. Make every second count! – Anjali Chugh, Cosmique Global Inc.
12. Change Your Perspective On Selling
Remember that selling is giving someone the opportunity to receive something of value. There is no need to trick or manipulate anyone into anything when you view selling as an act of service. Get to know the desires, wants and pain points of the customer. Show them how the offer benefits them. Know you are making a positive difference in their lives as you give them the opportunity to buy. – Amanda Frances, Amanda Frances Inc.
13. Experiment With Different Approaches
The best way to get comfortable outside your comfort zone is to experiment. Test your approach and practice prior to going live with it. Have a trusted advisor listen to your pitch and give feedback on whether the approach seems natural. If so, practice and refine the presentation before going live with real customers or clients. – Deborah Hightower, Deborah Hightower, Inc.
14. Be Curious
The best way to step out of your comfort zone is to become curious about other people. Ask questions of everyone and listen intently to the answers. When you become genuinely curious about people you begin to develop relationship bonds. Great relationships equal great selling. – Ken Gosnell, CEO Experience
15. Don’t Try To Sell What You Don’t Believe In
If you don’t believe in what you’re selling, quit your job. You are not begging someone to buy, you are doing them a favor by offering them the chance to buy something that will help them or their business. When you truly believe this, you can then listen to them, understand what their needs are and tailor your message to help them out. – Tim Ressmeyer, Ressmeyer Partners
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of leading business coaches and career coaches. Find out if you qualify at forbescoachescouncil.com/qualify.