Just Exactly What is it You’re Afraid of?

Among the deadliest of selling’s human limitations is a salesman’s reluctance to act when it’s time to close a sale. The condition is unequivocally based on a single condition – fear. Not the kind of fear of something capable of causing bodily harm, but fear of non-physical imagined consequences.


Acting on fear of something incapable of inflicting physical injury is self-destructive to selling, entirely irrational. A reaction to the mind’s assumptions, unsupported fear can be based on wholly imagined possibilities, conjured up from who-knows-what past experiences.

And, once identified, continuing to be subject to irrational fear is a pure product of your own making; all selling fears are of this variety.

Irrational fears run an extensive gamut. But, for selling, the real troublemakers are fears of:

     Rejection – being told no in any form. With rejection, we fear loss.

     Failure – inability to admit a mistake, or the possibility you might not be capable of doing     something expected of you.

     Being “found out – the possibility that you aren’t as good as others have assumed; you aren’t as knowledgeable as you are supposed to be.

If you hold personal familiarity with any of them you are not unusual. Every neophyte salesman deals with these potentially destructive fears.

Irrational fears are legacies, mostly originating in childhood, and rooted in a primal fear of disapproval, and disapproval’s consequent feelings of inadequacy. Fears in this area are highly exaggerated, and, to an aspiring salesman, facing up to them is essential. Without experiencing the unpleasant symptoms of screwing up, your brain will stick with its comfortable models, even when those models are ineffective.

Overcoming the worst of these—fear of rejection—you can begin with acknowledgement of a selling truism: the sale begins with the first no. And now your reason for being is engaged. A closed sale may not result today, or tomorrow—or even next month. But perseverance will eventually win out.

With that, you can get on with determining how many times you can expect to hear no, before you get to the next yes.

Read GameBreaker: Guide To World-Class Selling to learn more. 

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Ron Brock

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