Make the Choice to be Confident in Sales
Nature, nurture or choice?
A few months ago I listened to a Harvard Business Review podcast on the two sides of confidence. When we're overconfident the behaviour displays as arrogance. When we're under confident, our behaviour can come across as insecurity. We all lean a certain way and our reactions to situations are contextual based on our own belief system. I've suffered from both at different points in my career and with respect to sales. I still get nervous before big presentations or when I meet a new prospect for the first time. However, The Confidence Code posits that confidence is a choice. It's also innate and can be taught; but often people are making a conscious decision to be confident. That particular statement, that confidence is a choice, is something that's empowered me to get past my moments of insecurity.
Witnessing a Choice
It's my first day on the road training to become a sales rep, back in the summer of 2008 somewhere in the vast...flat...province of Saskatchewan. I'm sitting in the car with the guy I'm taking over for, someone who oozes confidence. We're about to walk into a call with a customer where we've had some dicey negotiations regarding pricing over the past few months. Before I'm about to open the door, Gerry (name changed of course) tells me to hold a beat. His face is stony and serious, he grips the steering wheel firmly and bows his head. "You can do this man, you got this!" - that's Gerry, giving himself a pep-talk, out-loud, with me in the car. After another couple seconds, he looks up, over at me and says "ok, I'm ready, let's go".
Strategies to Choose Confidence
To be honest, I don't really remember how the call turned out that day. But what I witnessed was something I've held on to and use to this day. Granted...I usually have these conversations with myself and in my head. Gerry let me see his insecurity, just for a second. He also let me see the choice that he made to get a grip and move above this insecurity. When I feel my insecurities creeping in, when my inner saboteur perks up before an important meeting or when I have a statement to make in a meeting that's a little risky, I tell myself 'I've got this'. I ask myself 'what's the worst that's going to happen', the answer to which is maybe I'll be a little embarrassed for a bit, but in reality, not much. Then I remember that I'm making a conscious decision to appear confident. That it's my choice to be brave, to be courageous and that no one else can make that choice but me.