6 Steps To Fearless Selling
Sales is the most important skill you will ever learn in your life, and regardless of what you do for a living, if you’re alive you must know how to sell.
“But I’m a fireman…I don’t need to know how to sell!” Well, how are you going to calm down that 10 year old child whose trapped in a burning building?
“But I’m a teacher…” How do you get your kids to do their work?
“But I don’t have a job…” How are you going to convince that potential employer that they should choose you over the other 10 people that applied?
It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do, you must at least have a basic understanding of the art and science of selling. How else would you get a boyfriend or girlfriend? How else would you get your kids to go to bed on time? How else do you buy a home or car?
It’s a skill that we use all the time in our day to day lives but most people never realize it. On top of that, almost everyone I’ve ever trained was scared to death of selling when they transitioned from their personal life to their business life.
Most people have no problem selling their husband or wife on which movie to watch. Those same people will gladly sell their kids on going to bed. But when it comes to making a cold call or showing up to an appointment, they freeze up.
The Difference Between The 99% and the 1%
This could (and probably will someday) be an article of it’s own, but I truly believe that one of the biggest differences between the rich and the poor is that the rich really do not care what other people think of them.
Isn’t that really the reason why we are afraid to sell? We’re afraid what other people (usually the people on the other end of the phone) are going to think of us.
Well, here’s some reality for you — the second they hang up the phone they’ve already forgot about you. You mean absolutely nothing to them and that’s a good thing. They should mean nothing to you as well. This is obviously only true if they do not become a client.
Key Point — Stop Caring What Others Think About You!
The Fear Of Selling Is Learned
I’ve been selling since I’m 15 years old. I started out in a small boardroom selling cell phones. After becoming the top salesman there, which took about 2 weeks, I knew I had a skill and began to look at where I could make the most money. That’s when my stock trading career began. I started cold calling for the best sales organization ever created. After about a year of studying I passed my Series 7 and 63 a few weeks after my 18th birthday.
When I was 22 years old (still selling stock) I made a major mistake. I picked up some personal development material which told me that I should never stop learning — And I Bought My First Sales Book!
This was the first time in my life that I even heard of people being afraid to sell. I was dumbfounded. Why would anyone ever be afraid to pick up the phone and call people? After 8 years of training almost 30,000 people, I still can’t answer that question. But I do know how to get people through the fear so that they can make money. And that’s all that matters.
Like so many others, you’ve LEARNED to be afraid of selling. While I can’t specifically teach you why you are afraid of it, I can tell you that anything learned can be unlearned and that’s what we’re going to do together here.
Key Point — Fear Of Selling Is A Learned Fear and Anything Learned Can Be Unlearned.
Kids Are Expert Salespeople (Until They Become Adults)
I truly believe that if parents just stayed out of their kids lives, every kid would become a multimillionaire. I know that sounds crazy but I believe it’s true.
They have all the qualities of the 1%.
My 8 year old daughter will run around with crayon on her face for an entire day. She couldn’t care less what others think of her.
About 2 years ago she started ice skating because she loves hockey (just like her dad). The first time she went she was falling, tired, aching, cut, bruised, and even cried once (which she rarely does). But she kept getting up and even went back the next week to skate more. Fast forward to this summer and she’s going to be playing with NHL players for a full week at a hockey camp. She knew what she wanted and never gave up.
Our kids learn how to walk, talk, ride bikes, write, read, color, add, subtract, and do so many other things that seemed impossible when they started. But they didn’t care what other people thought and they kept pushing on regardless of how many times it took. They all eventually get there.
Our kids also understand one of the most powerful concepts of selling and life — Not Asking Means No.
Every once in awhile my daughter will ask for a snack before bed. She knows that she has 3 outcomes. She can be afraid to ask (like most salespeople). She can ask and I can say no. Or she can ask and I can say yes.
Whether consciously or not, she knows that if she doesn’t ask it’s the same as me saying no. She’s not getting a snack either way. So she figures why not take a shot.
Key Point — Not Asking And Having Someone Say No Is The Same Thing So You Might As Well Take A Shot!
Step Number 1 — Realize That You’re Playing A Role
No, I’m not telling you to lie, be a fake, or make up stories that aren’t real. But I am telling you that in order to be successful at selling you must play the right role.
Think about this for a second — why do girls rarely try to engage guys at a nightclub or a bar?
The answer is because of the roles we play as humans. Guys (the salespeople) are the ones who are supposed to approach. Girls (the prospects) are the ones who are supposed to filter.
This is the same reason why a girl who dates many guys is called names while a guy who dates many girls is considered a “hero.”
A girl who dates many guys is seen as someone who cannot filter correctly while a guy who dates many girls is seen as someone who approaches like crazy.
Sales is no different (actually dating is a sales process). The prospects biggest fear is that they will be seen as someone who did not “filter” correctly while the salesperson who is on the top of the board is usually the one who approaches the most.
We need to understand these roles in order to be successful at selling and we also must understand that the prospect is never rejecting us as people, they are rejecting the role we are playing.
Key Point — Prospects Reject The Roles We Play Not Us As People.
Step Number 2 — Turn Fear Into Excitement
I absolutely love to fish. I’ve spent entire tides (about 12 hours) in pouring rain without getting a bite and I loved every minute of it. Fishing is probably the only thing I can do every minute of every day for the rest of my life and never get bored. And my daughter is the exact same way. She’s the only 9 year old I’ve ever met that can stare at the tip of a rod or work a bucktail for hours and never complain.
Why do I love it so much?
Because it’s the exact same thing as selling.
First I need to find the fish. That’s the number 1 job of a fisherman — find the fish.
Then I need to find the bait pattern. I could be right on top of a school of 30 pound bass but if I’m throwing a pencil popper when they’re feeding on sandeels I probably won’t get touched.
After I find the fish and the bait pattern I then need to put my lure right in front of their noses.
I cast, and cast, and cast, and cast…
Once they bite I need to set the hook and land the fish. Some will spit the hook, some might burry into a rock and break off, some may get off in the wash. But I’ll land a good number of them.
After I land the fish and safely release it, I need to beat the fish to death (figure of speech in the fishing community) until the bite stops.
Now let’s talk about business and selling.
First I need to find the prospects. The number 1 job of a salesman is to have a steady inflow of qualified leads. You must have qualified prospects in order to sell anything to anyone.
Then I need to figure out what it is that they actually want. I can have all the prospects in the world but if I put the wrong offer in front of them they’ll never buy.
After I’ve found my prospects and created my pitch (what they want) then I need to get out there and put it in front of them.
So I call, and call, and call, and call.
Some will hang up, some won’t be available, some will get to a rebuttal sequence and won’t buy, some will call me nasty names. But I’ll close a good number of them.
After I hang up the phone or leave the meeting (regardless of the outcome) I need to beat that audience to death (fishing terminology again) until the I reach critical mass.
You see how it’s literally the same exact thing?
I don’t get afraid of making a cast or a cold call. I get Excited.
I don’t get afraid when a fish breaks off or spits the hook. I also don’t fear getting hung up on or called nasty names. I get Excited.
I don’t get afraid when I land a fish and I don’t get afraid when I close a deal. I get Excited.
It’s been said that fear and excitement are the same emotion and I believe that is true. But we interpret the two differently.
In order to change your interpretation from fear to excitement what you need to do is focus on the best possible outcome as opposed to the worst possible outcome.
I continue to cast every night from April to December because I know that the sandy and rocky beaches of eastern Long Island hold 70 pound fish.
I continue to sell every day because I know that any one of those calls or meetings could turn into a multi million dollar deal.
Key Point — Turn FEAR Into Excitement By Focusing On The Best Possible Outcome Instead Of The Worst Possible Outcome.
Step 3 — Understand That Everyone Is Born A Salesperson
I know this is controversial but…
Salespeople aren’t made, they’re born. Everyone who is alive has the ability to make millions of dollars selling. EVERYONE! I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done. It doesn’t matter. I’ve said it many times before and I’ll say it again — if someone has hands, eyes and a mouth I can turn them into a monster salesperson in under a week. Anyone! And I’ve done it hundreds of times.
And that’s NOT an opinion. It’s a fact.
The problem isn’t your inability to sell (and I’ll prove that to you in a second). The problem is the transition in your mindset that happens when you enter into a business environment.
Think about this for a second.
My grandmother (the furthest thing from a salesperson you’d ever see) recently watched a movie called “Sisters.” I don’t watch movies that often but she happened to love this one.
The next day when I saw her the first thing she said to me was “Did you ever see the movie Sisters?” (I said no) “We watched it last night. You HAVE to watch it. It’s so funny. You’ll love it. It’s on Amazon. Rent it.” And everyone that she spoke to over the next week got basically the same lines.
So what did she just do? She found someone with an Amazon account who has eyes, ears, and likes to laugh. She qualified me by asking if I’ve ever seen the movie before. Then she presented the movie to me. Then she closed.
Play along and do this little exercise with me.
Have you ever ate at a restaurant for the first time and loved it?
If so, what did you do when you spoke with family or friends after the
Have you ever read a book that you loved?
If so, what did you do when you spoke to family and friends after?
You can edit those questions according to your life and what you like to do but if you answer honestly you’ll see that you SOLD your family and friends on what you experienced. Right?
The problem is not our ability to sell. We are all born with the need to share positive experiences with others that we care about. We need to do that because we want others to feel the same pleasure we feel and we also need to feel helpful and important.
The problem is when we transition into a business environment. My grandmother pitched me hard on that movie. If I gave her a script and had her cold call for one of my companies I’d be broke. She can sell just like every living human being on earth. But she can’t make the transition into a business environment.
Just so we’re clear — while everyone is a born salesperson, that does NOT mean we are born closers in a business environment. You need to make the transition from your personal life to your business life in order for that to happen and that requires training and time. But understand that selling in your personal life is the exact same process as selling in your business life.
I think it’s important to talk quickly about WHY I believe the transition is so hard for most people. I think there are two main reasons.
First, we don’t really believe in our product or service. In the example I gave earlier, my grandmother truly believed that I’d enjoy the movie she was selling me. She had no reason not to believe that. She saw it and she loved it.
Now transition into business. Does the “SEO Guy” really believe that he’s going to help a business grow? Does the “Real Estate Guy” really believe he can get more for that house than anyone else? Does the stockbroker really believe that he has the “tip” that nobody else has?
The answer is no! They don’t believe in their product or service so they can’t sell it.
Here’s something to think about — if you ever felt like you were “bothering” people while you were selling or prospecting, you do NOT believe in your product. It’s really just that simple. People look at me like I’m crazy when I tell them that I cold call on Sundays. I believe in my service. People think I’m lying when I tell them I cold call on Christmas. I believe in my service.
If you truly believe in your product or service you will NEVER feel like you’re bothering people when you are prospecting or selling. Never! Think about this for a second. Let’s imagine that you secretly got access to a pill that cured cancer. Not some hyped up blend of herbs on an infomercial at 2 am. Something that was the real deal. I don’t know. Pretend you stole it from some secret government lab or something. Bottom line — you are 100% sure it works and it’s been proven to cure cancer. 10,000 people took the pill and 10,000 people were instantly cured.
Really think about that for a minute. Put yourself in that situation. You have the pill that is 100% proven, beyond the shadow of a doubt, to cure cancer every time.
With that pill came a list of a million people who all were terminally ill and dying of the disease that your pill cured.
Would you feel like you were bothering them if you called them to tell them about it?
Would you worry about “rejection?”
Would you call on Sundays and on Holidays?
The answers — No, No, Yes! The reason — you truly believe in your product.
The solution to this problem is pretty simple. If you don’t believe in your product or service, sell something else. Yes, it’s 100% possible to sell something you don’t believe in and make a killing. But you have to be highly skilled to do so. And I’ll warn you, selling something that you don’t believe in will eat at your soul forever even if you make a killing doing it. I was in the stock business on Long Island in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Trust me, I know.
The second reason why the transition is hard is because people don’t believe in the way the sales are being made. Please take note of the fact that I said “the way sales are being made” and not “yourself.”
A lot of people (some of which are best selling authors on the topic of sales) wrongly say that you need to believe in yourself. They’ll say “you need to believe in your product and yourself” and while the first part is true, the second part is WAY off.
Believing in yourself will literally kill you in the sales business. And yes, I’m talking about death. Funerals, coffins, all of it. I’ve seen it happen.
I’ve had friends that were so caught up in the “believe in myself” thing that while they were making their millions they overdosed on drugs and died. Some ended up in jail. Some ended up wrapping their $200,000 cars around poles.
Now you might be thinking to yourself, “they were doing well and believing in themselves, so what’s the problem?”
The problem is that when they were right they felt like kings but when they were wrong they were the worst people on earth. Imagine being bipolar and having massive swings minute by minute that either made or lost tens of thousands of dollars. That’s not good at all if YOU are the one creating the swings.
It’s important to note here that I’m not talking about confidence. A great salesperson MUST be confident in his ability to prospect, present, and close a sale. But where do they get that confidence? It’s not from themselves. It’s from the system they are using to sell whatever it is they’re selling.
I walked into an “infamous” stock firm here on Long Island just before my 16th birthday. I had just dropped out of high school so I could take the “internship” that would pay me $200 per week. Lots of people went through this before I did but the difference was that I had to wait 2 full years to take my Series 7. Most people waited a few months.
I walked into that place knowing that I’d essentially be broke for 2 straight years of my life. When my grandfather pulled into the parking lot to drop me off all we saw were Porsches, BMW’s, Mercedes, and Ferraris with the occasional Rover mixed in. These guys were killing it — all of them.
I think it’s pretty needless to say but I’ll say it anyway. It’s hard to have any confidence or believe in yourself when you’re surrounded by millionaires and you’re 2 years younger than anyone there, make $200 a week, and wear your confirmation suit to work EVERY DAY.
I had zero believe in myself at that point in my life. But I knew that every single one of those people sat in the same chair I was sitting in. I knew that they also once made $200 a week to send out information to people. I knew they all traveled the same road I was on and if they did it I could do it as well.
The belief in myself was non-existent. But the belief in the PROCESS was stronger than anything I’ve ever felt in my life. I was 100% certain that the process worked. There was not a single doubt in my mind that if I followed the instructions I’d make it. And I was right.
We’ll talk more about believing in the process in step 4.
Key Points — We Are All Born Salespeople But We Have A Hard Time Making The Transition From Our Personal Lives To Our Business Lives. We Have A Need To Feel Helpful And We Must Share Our Positive Experiences With Others We Interact With. The transition is hard because we don’t believe in our product/service and we try to believe in ourselves when we have nothing to believe in.
Step 4 — Trust Your Training
I was trained by the person who created the best sales organization in the world. I still use almost all of the material I learned back in the late 90’s today and it works better now than it did then.
If I depended on my abilities I would have failed miserably. I had (and still do) a willingness to do the work and I trusted the training.
Ask any Navy SEAL in the States and they’ll tell you that they are the best of the best because of their training. But make sure you’re asking a real SEAL. There’s only about 2,000 active SEALs but somehow they’re in every bar, club, bookstore, and gas station in America. Weird.
I’m currently being mentored by 2 SEALs (both retired…and no, not “former”…RETIRED). I study one’s work for my health and body and the other’s work for my self-confidence.
I’m a pretty confident guy and I really don’t have that many bad habits but you can always get better. And when it comes to selling, confidence and good habits are pretty important.
I succeeded in sales (and continue to succeed in sales) because I trust the process. If I didn’t trust the process I would have failed because I wouldn’t have believed in it enough to put forth the effort required.
As I said before, I learned how to sell from the best of the best. I also learned how to present on stage, write copy, write ads, and generate traffic from the best of the best.
I also learned how to fish from the best of the best. My grandfather used to have a wall of trophies from all the tournaments he won. I still learn something new from him every time we go out. Billy “The Greek” Legakis caught more 50 pound bass than anyone alive. John Skinner is the best lure and bucktailer on earth. Joey Leggio is the best Captain and clam chummer on the east coast. I learn from them all and they’re all the best of the best.
Key Point — If You Trust Your Training You’ll Put In The Effort Required To Succeed And You’ll Be Confident Enough To Push Through Tough Times.
Step 5 — Sell With Someone Else
I hate to use the phrase “I Understand” because I usually don’t, but I kind of get why it would be hard for a solopreneur to cold call or sell from their living room.
I don’t “understand” it because the money is still on the other end of the line, but I can see how it’s different from being in a room full of other people doing the same thing.
One of the greatest things about sales is that you can get hired in a matter of seconds. You, right now, can walk into a car dealership and get a job no matter what. You could also hop on Craigslist and find about 200 places looking for telemarketers.
I know you’re probably starting a business or trying to grow the one you have but there’s no shame in taking a job as a salesperson for a little while just to go through the motions and get in the environment. When I work with aspiring entrepreneurs who’ve never sold before, this is usually one of the first pieces of advice I give them.
I’m not talking about starting a career. There’s no reason to work for anyone else especially after you’ve mastered the art and science of sales. But spending 2 weeks selling chimney sweeps or Hondas wouldn’t hurt at all.
I’ve done it quite a few times when I was first getting started. I’d hit a little bit of a rut, get frustrated, hop on Craigslist and be cold calling some ridiculous offer the next day.
Once you truly learn how to sell you’ll never have to worry about money again, and that’s a great feeling. I spent 3 days in a room selling rare coins where the management walked around with Glock 26’s on their hips. There was one time where I spent a week selling fuel additives to truck drivers over the phone. I even sold rubber o-rings that went into industrial vacuum cleaners over the phone (that was a nightmare). Whenever I hit a rut I just get back in the environment and I’m back in the swing of things in a few hours.
If you procrastinate when it’s time to sell or you’re just getting started and have never sold before, there’s no better place to start than a room full of other salespeople.
They have a pitch that works so you can trust the training. If the pitch didn’t work they wouldn’t be there.
You don’t have to worry about what others think of you because everyone is doing the same thing.
Key Point — Just Being In A Sales Environment Can Stop Your Fear Almost Instantly.
Step 6 — Start And Don’t Stop
One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is once they get going they stop doing what they did to make them successful.
They close a deal and they take a break. The close 3 or 4 deals in a day and they take the rest of the week off.
This is a critical mistake. Once you actually pick up the phone or go to the meeting, KEEP GOING and make it a daily habit.
I sell every day. Yes, Christmas, Easter and Sundays included. For me it’s like going to the gym or going for a walk. Some people need to hit the gym in the morning or their day is all messed up. For me, if I don’t try to sell something every day, my entire rhythm is thrown off.
Believe it or not, holidays and weekends are some of the best times to sell. Nobody else is calling and everybody picks up the phone :)
Like most highly successful people though, I’m an extremist in everything that I do. And you can be an extremist if you only focus on a few things. I sell stuff, I fish, I watch Hockey (Lets Go Islanders), and I parent. That’s it. I couldn’t care less about anything else. Everyone was devastated when American Idol ended and I couldn’t name one contestant that ever stepped foot on the stage. Every Kardashian could die tomorrow and I wouldn’t even know.
I only care about things that are extremely important in life. Parenting and Family, Money, Catching Huge Fish, and the Islanders! To me, that’s all that matters.
You don’t have to be an extremist and sell every day like I do. But a minimum of 5 days a week is required if you really want to master the art and science of selling.
Key Point — It Takes A Very Long Time To “Stop” The Fear. Just Because You Made It Through A Day Of Selling Doesn’t Mean It’s Gone. In Order To Turn The Fear Into Excitement For Good You Must Make It A Daily Practice.
Bonus Step — Enter The Top 1% Of All Salespeople By Just Doing These 2 Things
Remember my weird but very valid analogy of the guys and the girls?
You don’t have to be a pick up artist to get a date. You could be fat, broke, smelly, and wear clothes that come from the 80’s and you could still be dating more women than all of your friends.
Same thing applies to selling. You don’t have to be good at it in order to make more money than you ever thought possible. Why? Because most people don’t do these two things!
By doing these two things and just these two things, you’ll be over 6 figures within the next 12 months. You seriously don’t have to do anything else.
Just so we’re clear — if you want to make millions, these two things alone aren’t good enough. But if you want to be a top salesperson and don’t care about being the best, just do these two things and you’ll be good to go.
It’s important to remember that the reason these two things will put you in the top 1% of all salespeople in the world is because most people do nothing. Don’t be one of those people. If you do nothing else, at least do these 2 things.
Thing Number 1 — APPROACH
Sales is NOT a numbers game. It’s a skill game. With that said though, you can be the worst salesperson in the world and still make a killing if you approach enough people.
Think about this for a second. You have the worst pitch in the world. Your product is overpriced. Nobody knows who you are. You fumble over your words. You sound like a robot.
If you dial the phone 500 times a day you WILL run into some moron who just happened to be desperately needing whatever it is you’re offering eventually. Your numbers will be terrible. It might take all 500 dials to get a deal but you WILL find the laydown in the dials. It always happens no matter what.
I hate to keep bringing up fishing but it’s so similar to sales that I just can’t help myself. Last fall I was out in Montauk fishing a spot called Turtle Cove and there was a guy about 100 yards down the beach fishing bunker chunks. Nobody (besides the clueless tourists) fishes bait in Montauk. Maybe live eels at night in the summer but that’s a different story. To make things worse (for him) he had the same piece of bait on for about an hour. Fish feed on scent. Change your bait every 15 minutes and if you don’t get a bite in a half hour, move! But he stayed and left the bait in his sand spike for over an hour. Next thing I know he’s reeling in a fish. Some idiot (and probably starving) Striped Bass just happened to swim directly over his bait. He “approached” long enough and it was bound to happen eventually no matter what.
Even if you suck, keep approaching and you WILL get deals.
Thing 2 — ASK
Nobody will voluntarily offer up their credit card. You have to ask for it over and over again.
Remember the fat, ugly, smelly, 80’s clothes wearing guy? Put him in a room of 500 women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and statuses. If he says “Hi, my name is Ron and I’m single” (approach) enough times someone will show interest. If he follows that up with “Would you like to go out to eat tomorrow night” (ask) he WILL eventually get someone to say yes.
Almost everyone will say no but Ron (the ugly/smelly guy) understands that as long as he’s approaching and asking he will eventually find the laydown.
The Approach/Ask Experiment
From time to time I take on coaching/mentoring students. Most of my students are either solopreneurs looking to start/grow their businesses or they are people who have “tried everything” and “failed” (which by the way are both BS).
My coaching program is an investment but every student I’ve ever had has made more than they pay me. That’s why I never lose clients :)
Anyway, I was doing an “intake” (the first meeting) with a new student who said they tried everything and nothing worked. I told them they were lying (because nobody has tried EVERYTHING) and they laughed, agreed, and we got to work.
After going over their goals, current situation, and all that fun stuff, I sent them over a list of 1,000 businesses. The list just had the name of the owner and the phone number on it. I set them up on a call tracking number so I could track the amount of calls they were making per day.
Their assignment was to call every business on the list in 2 days and say these words:
“Hi my name is Jon. I looked at your website and it really could be a lot better. I could create you a new one for $1,000 and have it online within 24 hours if you want.”
That little experiment did a few things:
- It broke his fear of cold calling
- His confidence went through the roof
- It put $7,000 in his pocket in 2 days
- And it drove us both crazy because he had 7 websites to build
Out of those 1,000 people there just happened to be 7 people in there that were thinking about getting a new website NOW and he happened to call at the perfect time.
He ended up hiring a team of outsourcers to build the sites so his profit from the “test” was around $4,500. Still not all that bad from just Approaching and Asking. No skill involved what-so-ever. Just pounding the phone and accountability.
Would he have ever done that if I wasn’t watching over his shoulder? Absolutely not.
He ended up going on to start a web design firm that he sold for quite a bit of money 2 years later (I don’t remember the exact amount). Today he sells solar panels (he owns the company) direct to consumer over the telephone and is well into the high 6 figures in income.
It all started by just approaching and asking.
The 7 Steps To Crushing Your Fear Of Selling
- Realize That You’re Playing A Role
- Turn Fear Into Excitement
- Understand That Everyone Is Born A Salesperson
- Trust Your Training
- Sell With Someone Else
- Start And Don’t Stop
Kenny Cannon is the Founder of LeadLoop.net, a company that helps medium size businesses generate qualified prospects and close more deals. He is a thought leader in the areas of marketing, sales, business expansion, copywriting, and information marketing. Kenny started his sales career at the age of 15 by answering an ad in a local paper for a telemarketing position. By the age of 24, Kenny became one of the most well-known phone salespeople in the industry. Today Kenny is one of the most sought after sales and marketing consultants in the world. Through his seminars, training, and live streams, Kenny has helped over 100,000 salespeople, entrepreneurs and high school and college students since 2007. Kenny loves to fish, shoot, and is a die-hard Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs fan.