Skip to Content
Influencers Invited Sales Blog

The Fear of Sales

“What prevents most from reaching our goals is not a lack of skill, determination or knowledge; but the presence of fear.”

That quote, which I spun to my own liking, has served as a daily and at times an hourly reminder for me throughout much of my sales career. With this “truth” in mind, I have overcome so many obstacles that, at first seemed too great or powerful for me to defeat. Believing that my fear is the cause behind my potential failure has given me, and continues to give me the confidence to advance despite whatever reservations or concerns I may have.

Fear and doubt are the killers of most careers and the limiting factors in the vast majority of lives.

Lives of Quiet Desperation

Henry David Thoreau wrote that most of us “live lives of quiet desperation,” meaning that we spend our days knowing that we are not living the lives we have imagined for ourselves. Many (if not most) live under the self-imposed impression that we are destined to live at a level below our true potential and that there is little that can be done about it. It is the attitude of “good enough” that permeates the lives of so many and fear, I have come to believe with certainty, is the cause of the this attitude.

What Could or Would You do if You had no Fear?

This is my favorite question and one that I find myself asking myself quite often. Whether it is framed in a personal or professional context, the answers this question delivers are nothing short of life changing.

Every question has a “presupposition” behind it. Ask someone “what’s wrong?” and you are pre-supposing that something is indeed wrong. Ask yourself what you would do if you were not afraid and you are pre-supposing that you have fear surrounding a specific event or task. While I never advocate starting anything from a position as weak as a position of fear, recognizing that fear exists is the only way to overcome your fears, though hidden they may be.

Asking what you would do if you had no fear recognizes the presence of fear and then creates a path for advancement without the crushing and life-stealing emotion of fear.

Fear and Your Sales Career

What do you avoid in your sales career? Prospecting? Calling “less than enamored” customers? Closing a sale?

No matter what it is that you avoid, I am certain that the reason you avoid it is because you are afraid. While it often takes a hard swallowing of pride to admit that you are afraid, without acknowledging your fear and until you admit your fear to yourself, your sales performance will always be handicapped by your fear.

But just admitting that fear is that which prevents you from taking fully-involved action is not the cure. You must demonstrate to yourself that while fear may exist, that you can still move forward as if fear had no control over you. That customer who you know is preparing a litany of insults and accusations against you and your company but who needs to be called can certainly create a sense of fear. But calling them despite of your reservations provides a “courage reference point” that will build on itself. The more references point you create by overcoming fear and taking directed action, the more fulfilled your life will be and the more success you will be able to enjoy.

What do you fear in your sales career? Understand it, recognize it and admit it. Then go do it as if fear could not exist in your mind. Do this enough and you will understand what true success and deep fulfillment is all about.

About the author