Doing what you fear is easier said than done, I promise you. How many of us really take on the thing we fear the most and conquer it or continually challenge it until we overcome that fear? The sales profession has a graveyard of people who couldn’t overcome their fear of call reluctance and settled for something lesser than taking on their fears and reaching their true potential.
The other night, I watched Off Camera With Sam Jones. First time I had seen his show. Off Camera is a website, magazine, television show, and podcast hosted by photographer/director Sam Jones. Jones created the show out of his passion for the long form conversational interview, and as a way to share his conversations with a myriad of artists, actors, musicians, directors, skateboarders, photographers, and writers that pique his interest.
Jones understands that the best conversations happen “off camera,” sometimes like your best CMPs (Customer Marketing Profiles). I’m not much of a fan of sitting down in front of the TV and watching a long-form conversation. I did the other night when he was interviewing Will Forte. Will starred with Bruce Dern in the movie Nebraska – being from Nebraska it’s tough to admit I haven’t seen the movie yet. I will now. Many of you might know Will from SNL. He was also a staff writer on That 70s Show.
What caught me was how candid Will was about fear and his fear of doing SNL when he was a writer on That 70s Show. He initially turned down the offer from SNL because of his fear. Not that he did much else – he said he sat around the following year doing nothing but playing video games until SNL came back with another offer which he jumped on. Out of a 100 actors, he was offered the role of David Grant in Nebraska. His comments about fear made me think of us in sales and how much we avoid our biggest fears. Our fears of doing something a little bit different. Getting out of our complacent zone and stretching ourselves a bit. At first it scares you and makes you fearful.
For some sales reps it’s just picking up the phone and making that phone call after you’ve been rejected 10 times that afternoon; though in reality, it just leads us one step closer to the next person who will say “yes.” The fear grips you and you just don’t want to be rejected again. It happens in our personal life also. Maybe we have settled with someone when we know we are just not happy with that person. Sometimes, we’re just not happy with ourselves because we have a lot to work on inside of ourselves so it jeopardizes our relationship and we fear exposing our own flaws. Sometimes, it’s our job we fear – we settle versus really challenging ourselves doing something new.
What is it I say often in my seminars to business owners? If they continue to do the same thing over and over again in their advertising, what’s going to change? Nothing, except their market share might go down as the competition becomes more aggressive in their advertising. Change it up. Do something different. Take a chance.
Like many of you, I’ve been watching CNN’s coverage on the missing Malaysian jet plane. Recently, I’ve seen an author as one of their panelists named Jeff Wise, who wrote the book Extreme Fear: The science of your mind in danger. I don’t have the book yet, though I will get it. I’ve often seen sales reps over the years that let fear, anxiety, and self-doubt ruin their chances of being successful in sales. They freeze up before the sales call or look for a hundred different ways to avoid making that sales call because of fear.
If our mind can take us to a state of frenzy, then why can’t it take us to a place of high positivity where we enjoy excitement, enthusiasm, and exhilaration? If our mind can take us one place, it sure can take us to another. I think it’s how we look at it or the play-frame we create in our minds that separates the fear from feelings of success.
Most of us recall having to read Tom Sawyer in junior high school. In the first part of the book, Aunt Polly punished Tom for skipping school. As his punishment, he had to go out on a Saturday morning and whitewash a 9 by 30-foot fence. There is no way Tom could have been happy about that. While all of his friends were out playing, he had to whitewash a fence.
Initially, Tom felt embarrassed and cheated. Yet, what did he do? At that dark and hopeless moment, inspiration burst upon him. He decided to create a play-frame in his mind – a sudden burst of positive energy. He got up on the fence and started painting as if he loved it, developing a great act. His friends came by and started laughing at him, telling him he has to paint the fence while they are out playing.
What does Tom say? “I don’t have to, I want to.” At this, they started saying, “Well maybe there is something in this after all.” So, suddenly they began trading their apples, kites, marbles, and firecrackers for their chance to jump into this happy state of affairs that Tom Sawyer had set up.
What happens at the end of that scenario? Tom Sawyer is sitting on the top of the fence while all of his friends are whitewashing it.
As Will said in his interview with Sam Jones, our mind has the ability to cause us great harm. If used in the right way, our mind can bring us our greatest success, if we learn how to control it and constantly reinforce it with positive self-talk and reprogram it with daily affirmations.
Sales don’t happen by accident, and the top sales performers have that one thing in common: they do the tough things first, the things they fear the most, the hard things, and then get on with being the success we know we are – even if it’s only in our mind’s eye.
Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group International and can be reached at Sean@luceperformancegroup.com or www.luceperformancegroup.com. His new book The Liquid Fire can be found on Amazon.com.