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Why do sales reps lack confidence?

Confidence is such a fragile thing, but it’s one of the keys to success in sales. Why is our confidence so hard to manage? Let’s try to find out.

As a salesperson, your confidence is often one of those things that takes a while to build, but can disappear in an instant. But, when you’re feeling confident, you always know the right words to say; it feels like the world is at your feet. Why can’t we feel like that all the time?

At SalesWorks, we’re fully into the swing of delivering workshops at the moment. One of the examples of feedback we hear consistently is that sales reps lack confidence. So, let’s look deeper at confidence, what it is and why it’s so delicate.

What is confidence?

Confidence is such a broad term, but it’s something we hear over and over again. In sales, confidence is feeling sure of yourself and your skills. It’s the ability to handle the pressure of sales with a calm demeanour. It’s being able to complete the myriad of tasks that lead to the deal. 

It’s essential for a salesperson to display confidence. If you can’t be confident when selling to a prospect, they will not feel confident in you or the product you sell, and they will not buy. 

Confidence cannot be learned like a set of rules. It’s not a static measure either. Some days, you feel more comfortable and confident than others. Also, it’s not something you’re born with, not in my view, anyway. Even the best public speakers take time to master their craft, it’s not all inherent.

Factors that affect your confidence

When I ask people what causes their confidence to waver, I get a wide range of answers, including:

  • Lack of preparation 
  • The unknown – sometimes a response from a prospect that you haven’t heard before can throw you off course
  • Dealing with topics you know little about
  • Internal pressure – if you don’t get this sale, you might not make your target for the month

When you’re low on confidence, it can manifest itself in many ways. For example, it can turn you into a perfectionist, so you feel like you can’t make that call until you know absolutely everything about your prospect. Or, it gives rise to imposter syndrome, where you feel that you’re not good enough to be in the position you’re in, that it’s only a matter of time before you’re found out.

Whatever it is, you can’t do your best work when you feel this way.

What happens?

Being low on confidence is not just a mood; it’s a chemical reaction in your body. When you’re not confident and you’re thrust into a situation you don’t want to be in, your body releases adrenaline and engages the reptilian part of your brain. This part of the brain gives you only two options, fight or flight. It also releases cortisol. As we react to the situation, this combination of adrenaline and cortisol affects how we appear and how we come across.

For example, for SDRs, it can make you come across poorly on the phone, using filler words (like, uh…) or talking so fast it sounds like you’re out of breath.

There are many things you can try when attempting to calm your nerves, from breathing exercises to visualisation and more. Find what works for you. However, you may find the best way to get rid of nerves is to just ‘do the work’. The more you do something, the better you get and the easier it is to do it again.

Stay tuned

Now you know all about confidence and why it matters, in next week’s article, we’re going to look at how to build confidence. Don’t miss it.