6 Ways Salespeople Can Overcome Self-Doubt
The same things that tend to make sales an attractive career choice can also make it a challenging one. You have the opportunity to control your income, but with that comes quite a bit of downside; if you don’t perform, then you won’t make any money, or worse, you’ll lose your job.
This is why mindset is so important: self-doubt can creep in and make a challenging job even more difficult. If we don’t believe in ourselves, it becomes almost impossible to convince other people to buy from us, no matter how good we are at pretending otherwise.
So how can salespeople eliminate self-doubt before it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy?
There are a few ways to do that, but the faster you stamp out your lingering (false) beliefs, the sooner you can move on to closing deals. Here are six ways salespeople can overcome self-doubt:
1. Practice self-compassion
There’s good reason why you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself: it simply doesn’t help. Instead, try a little bit of self-compassion, and remind yourself that everybody makes mistakes. Read the biography of any influential figure, whether in business, sports, or art, and you’ll see that they likely failed more often than they succeeded. Remember this when you’re being self-critical, and try to be a little kinder to yourself.
2. Stop asking for validation
It can feel great to get other people’s approval, but if you want to eliminate self-doubt, then the validation needs to come from within. The problem with looking for external validation is that it’s never enough, and you end up constantly looking outward in order to refill the glass. But when you understand (and practice) internal validation, you only have to rely on yourself, and, since sales requires a certain degree of initiative, it’s a much better alternative than seeking encouragement from others.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others
This can be a challenge for salespeople, since the very nature of the job pits you against your coworkers, with whom you’re constantly competing. But if you want to gain control over your doubts, you need to view yourself outside the confines of other people’s abilities. To be sure, you can never fully escape the sales board, but if you focus all of your energies on the things you can control: your prospecting efforts, your follow-up, your close rate, etc., then you’ll eventually start seeing results without the demoralizing interruption of comparison.
4. Consider your wins
When we’re steeped in self-doubt, we tend to focus on our failures, whether it’s a bad month, a lost deal, or an inability to get anything going. When this happens, it’s important to remember your successes too, otherwise you’re not being objective about where you stand. Everyone has done something they’re proud of, and has overcome adversity in their own way. Try to think about your wins more often than you think about your losses, and you’ll be more likely to replicate them in the present.
5. Avoid negative people
Every sales floor (or workplace for that matter) has people who can find the problem for every solution. If you want to eliminate self-doubt, then you need to steer clear of these people. There is nothing good that can come out of conversations that focus on what’s bad, rather than what’s possible. Whether it’s complaining about the leads, about management, or about the comp plan, you can always find people who have no interest in progress. The choice is simple: complain about what’s wrong, or do the best with what you’ve got.
6. Get to work
For self-doubt to thrive, it needs space in someone’s mind. It’s unpleasant, but not difficult, to sit around and think about what is (and could) go wrong. But the solution is to stop thinking and to start doing. When you put a pause on worrying about everything and instead focus your energies on actionable tasks, you not only start to see progress, but you realize that your mind is no longer occupied by self-destructive thoughts. The best way to put an end to self-doubt is to stop thinking and to start doing. If you do that for long enough, you’ll see that your doubts were never warranted to begin with.
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