Community Futures Meridian

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It Takes Courage to Sell Stuff

  • August 2, 2018
  • Written by Meridian Admin

Making a sale can be exhilarating, but what goes before that magical moment can make or break a salesperson. The bottom line is, it takes a lot of courage to sell. That first moment when you pick up the phone, or arrive at a sales appointment, or even worse do an in-person cold call, is scary stuff.

Courage is part of the deal, and if you don’t have it, you won’t be very successful at making sales. Here are some thoughts on understanding the role of courage in your selling process, and some ideas on how to pave the foundation upon which your courage can be built.

The Courage to Know

Knowledge is power – the more you know about what you are selling and who you are selling it to, the braver you will feel. The fear of saying something wrong or giving incorrect information can be paralyzing, and impacts the ability to sell with confidence. The fear of being asked a question you won’t be able to answer is worse. If you are managing a sales team, don’t stint on training them well.

The Courage to Begin

That ‘cold’ call, that first appointment, the first time selling a particular product or service can be terrifying. Get a few no’s and the fear escalates exponentially. Good calls boost confidence, bad calls screw with your mind. One of the secrets to building courage is to realize that getting a no is not personal – no one, even the best salespeople don’t get yes’s every time. No’s stem from many things including opposition to change, resistance to things that may add to their workload, and a general mistrust of salespeople. Think of selling as driving along a street – there will be red lights, green lights and some amber. Recognize that no’s are a fact of life and that each one gets you closer to a yes. Sales is just a numbers game – there’s nothing to fear but fear itself.

The Courage to Ask

Another point of fear, another point when bravery is required is when you’ve made your presentation and it’s time to ask for the order. The big mistake salespeople make is to subconsciously avoid asking, so they won’t hear that dreaded no. The problem however, actually occurs earlier in the presentation when the salesperson is not brave enough to ask questions.

The fact is, it’s easier to ask for the order when you already know you’re likely to get a yes. How do you do that? By asking a lot of questions about the suitability of what you are selling. Does it meet the buyer’s needs? Do they see any downsides? Often salespeople have a fear of hearing negatives – they should really have a fear of not hearing them. An unvoiced concern, or objection, will kill a sale every time. Ask questions, lots of them. Make a list of objections you might face and come up with sound answers. Once you’ve overcome all the objections asking for the order becomes a walk in the park.


Selling is far less scary when you understand the dynamic between salesperson and buyer. Know your stuff. Treat no’s as just steps to yes’s. Don’t be afraid of objections, in fact invite them to the party and ask lots of questions especially, when the time is right, “Do we have a deal?”

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