Throughout a sales person’s career there
may come a time or two where they may feel inadequate. I don’t mean junior level
or inferior to a more seasoned sales person. I am referring to the feeling as
though they do not belong at the table, in the sales call, or even worthy of
calling on such a prospect. It happens. It is the “second guessing” of one’s
capabilities. And, typically, it happens without notice.
I am in no way, shape, or form going to
make light of someone that may suffer from a panic or anxiety attack. However,
being overwrought by a feeling of inadequacy during the sales process can bring
the best sales person to their knees. Where does this come from and why does it
happen? More importantly, how do you get past it?
While I am not a psychologist, having
been faced with these feelings a time or two in my own career, I can attest to
just what went wrong and how I corrected the situation. Also, I should point
out, this is a topic I’ve been asked to address for some time, but one that can
be very sensitive.
For me and for those sales people close
to me that have shared their stories, the feeling of inadequacy tends to rear
its ugly head when we are feeling exceptionally well and on top of our game. As
if nothing can go wrong, deals are closing left and right, and then out of
nowhere you have one in front of you that shuts you down. You get this sense
that either you are not the best fit for the sales role, your company cannot
deliver, the clients expectations are beyond your capability to deliver, or
simply the client is too good for you. It tends to come out of nowhere and
makes you question your entire sales skill set.
At least for me, as I look back on these
situations, it was a grounding effect. My ego was likely getting in the way of
being clear-headed. And, what I found to be the common link was that many of
the closed deals leading up to this moment were simply “layups”. They were good
deals, but they were easy. My sales process became a bit robotic. I didn’t
necessarily need to bring my best to the table in terms of proposal writing or
even prospect communication and yet I was closing, closing, closing. Well, then
comes the deal that shook me to my core. The deal that would require me to put
in a lot of early mornings and late evenings. The deal that needed much more
attention to detail, time spent with the prospect, and my absolute best. It was
the deal that both thrilled me and scared me.
I began to question my capabilities and
if we were the right fit to win such an opportunity. I began to feel inadequate
in the face of the competition and in front of the prospect. Things prior were
coming way too easy and now I had to truly earn my sale. I needed to step up,
rise to the occasion, and do what I was trained to do – close the damn deal.
It was not an easy situation to mentally
process. It took its toll on me physically by losing sleep and skipping meals.
It took its toll on me mentally because I was questioning who I was and what I
was doing. But, in the end, I did rise to the occasion. I put my best out there
and I closed the deal. I swallowed my fear in losing the deal and with it all the feelings of being inadequate. I made myself believe I was the right fit for the
right prospect. I needed to look myself in the mirror and admit I took
advantage of the low hanging fruit leading up to this deal, but regardless, I
was worthy of sitting at the table.