When it comes to selling, the reason people are uncomfortable about it or feel they are not good at selling often has to do with fear of rejection. However, I want to call that a bullshit reason. Fear of rejection is such a broad statement. The root causes often lie much deeper than that.
To best way to get over any fear and move past it is to get an understand of its root causes. So, I’m going to do just that right now about my own fear of rejection and fear of selling. I invite you to come along if you too feel that fear of selling and fear of
What does hearing no mean to you?
I think the title of this section is important. It helps us look at this from a different perspective and it’s a good stepping stone in getting to the root of fear of selling. What does heading “no” mean to me? Among many things, it means I’ve wasted my time and my prospects’. It means I wasted effort on someone who didn’t want to sign with me. It also means feeling embarrassed.
I sat with those thoughts for a few minutes. And, I started to digest them into something even more concrete. Here is a list of even more detailed thoughts about my own fear of selling:
- Not being worthy or good enough
- Wasted my time and effort on traffic that doesn’t convert
- Unwanted solicitation and coming of sales-y rather than helpful (when it comes to cold leads especially)
- Catching the wrong types of clients or projects for my expertise
- Not connecting or resonating with my leads, whether in my posts, calls or website
- Missing out on my own business and personal goals
Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.George Addair
All of those fears can be addressed
The good news is now that I’ve identified my issues with selling, I can work on those. And if yours are different, that’s okay. We’re not all the same. None of those fears are valid reasons to hold us back, regardless.
Taking the time to really understand what’s going on under the surface and within the mindset, is the first step in tackling this fear. And the same goes to you. When we take the time to reflect, it gives us an opportunity to adjust and improve.
Let me walk you through how I’m tackling my six fears below.
1. The fear of not being worthy or good enough
Bottom line is we are all worthy and anything that says otherwise is just bullshit stuck in our heads. We all have useful skills, gifts, and services we can provide. When we start talking shit to ourselves, it’s noticeable in how we condone ourselves in our day-to-day lives. It shows on our landing pages, on our sales calls and the stuff we post on social media.
Therefore, the first step in addressing the belief that “I’m not good enough” is to work on self-confidence. I’ve taken a moment to sit down and write out all the things I’m good at – both professionally and personally. This allows me to get a better understanding of my needs and the type of clients I can help. But also, the type of clients I want to work with.
Additionally, I strongly suggest doing an exercise where you answer a simple question: who am I? The trick is not to answer with actions or tasks such as I’m a designer, or I’m a copywriting expert. Don’t get hung up on the things you do or your job. This can be a bit tricky to answer but it’s worth it. It will give you a new perspective on yourself which is paramount in showing up as yourself when you’re selling.
I do think it’s important to keep the professional and personal you as separate exercises. But I do encourage you to do this for both.
Who am I?
Here is what I wrote:
I am a thinker and a logician who tries to understand how thing work. I like to see how things come together, how things are created and how people behave. I observe and analyze. I am a reader and a learner. These characteristics help me be good at my job both as a designer and writer.
I am fascinated by psychology, cognitive and behavioral, as well as economics. I love reading HBR and listening to the Freakonomics podcast (love their books as well). I’m a curious, creative and strategic person who is also hopeful, grateful and excited.
I am interested in how things flow, optimization and mindsets. I’m also a person who is conscious of self-reflection. I’m not perfect, I am still learning. That means I also grow every day and I’m loving it!
Your turn 🙂
2. The fear of wasted traffic
To dismantle this fear, I still had to reframe my mind that what I contribute is valuable and that people were happily willing to pay for it. However, here the focus shifts on understanding my ideal client and their needs.
Who would my skills benefit the most? What kind of clients and projects I loved working on the most? Again, I had to respond to these in as much detail as possible. I basically had to conduct thorough market research and that’s okay. Again, getting a deeper understanding of your target audience and an ideal client is paramount in connecting and resonating with them.
I then dug dapper to identify their pain points and the value I could bring them with my service. What are these people struggling with and how can I alleviate those? It’s okay to not know these completely but it’s unacceptable not to find out. I had to talk to past clients who still fit my target audience profile and talk to strangers who fit it as well. Once they told me their expectations, needs and pain points, I knew exactly how to communicate with them.
Once I had a clear picture of what my ideal client struggles with I can use that as copy on my website and talk about those in my blog and social media posts. I was no longer wasting time writing copy that didn’t resonate. I was also no longer losing leads that were coming my way. I was finally connecting with them! I was finally making headway and making more sales!
3. The fear of solicitation
In 2017 and 2018 I struggled with a horrible depression and I needed to take time off to get better. Once I was back, I felt like I was starting from scratch. Which left me with freezing cold leads.
Thanks to the depression, my confidence was out the fucking window. Over time, I got better and started to feel and be more positive. If you too are starting from scratch, don’t worry. We ALL had to start somewhere. And, not all of us start out with an amazing network either.
However, once you set the proper mental foundation and find your confident it will be easier to deal with cold leads. That’s because when you believe in the value of your services, you speak differently to cold leads. You come off helpful, rather than sales-y.
When you’re confident that your skills are needed and valuable, it makes all the difference in landing more sales. You end up being more direct and resonating with the right kind of people. You tend to listen more instead of worry. You come off friendly instead of pushy or awkward. Cold leads are people too, they just haven’t heard of you before. And when you’re warm, friendly, and helpful you can land a new client within minutes of meeting them.
Interesting perspective on college graduates
My business coach gave me an amazing example. Most young professionals, especially those out of college, land work besides their lack of experience. They do so because they are energized by the work they get to do.
They have a fantastic energy, not to mention a positive outlook. They are eager to learn, meet new people and do the work. And, that’s how they land more and more of it. The key here is their positive and energetic vibe. Even if a new grad meets someone at an event who isn’t able to hire them, they are still willing to put the new grad in touch with someone that might. That’s the power of positive energy in networking.
I remember it happening to me all the time when I was a young professional too. Keeping this in mind has helped me shift my mindset from “please hire me, pretty please!” to “I’m excited to help you”.
4. The fear of unqualified leads
My fear of wasting my time speaking with unqualified leads meant finding projects out of my area of expertise, projects I simply didn’t want to do anymore and clients who couldn’t afford me. It happens. There will always be an unqualified lead here and there. The problem was that there were too many of those.
The idea of someone scheduling a call with me and wanting a custom website for $500 drove me insane. That’s because when I had no leads coming in, it was extremly difficult turning these people away. Something inside me screamed that it’s better to work it and have $500 then have nothing. That’s a horrible place to be.
It’s a mindset shift
Once again, it’s all a mindset issue. Getting comfortable with selling points to more qualified leads aka better project and higher quality client (with proper budgets).
So often people are working hard at the wrong thing. Working on the right thing is probably more important than working hard.Caterina Fake
Yes, it does go back to believing in your skills. More importantly, it also goes back to having a clear definition of an ideal client and understanding how to speak to their pain points. Having a clear offer helps tremendously too. However, one of the reasons optimized copy on a website is important because you come off stronger and are more attractive for your ideal clients. At the same time, you’re already setting boundaries for unqualified leads.
For example, if you were to clearly state that you only take on clients with $10k budgets or above, it makes it much more difficult for someone with a $500 budget to get in touch. They move on to someone who can work with such a budget. You’re making room for your ideal clients and that’s indispensable.
Building off the foundation
Believing in yourself and the value you bring is a key piece of foundation. Nothing else can be tackled if this belief doesn’t exist. My fears kind of spiral off one another. If you’ve noticed this with your own fears of selling, that’s fantastic! You now have an opportunity to fix your own foundation and tackle the remaining fears!
I do want to point out that it takes time and effort to shift this mindset. It’s 100% possible. Just don’t expect it to happen over night. It didn’t for me either.
5. The fear of not connecting
As I’m working through my list, this fifth fear is basically the same thing as my second fear (the fear of wasted traffic). It’s the same fear disguised with different wording. And, I hope you catch yourself with these kinds of pharaphrasing too. It means that we’re both just making excuses. And it gives us fewer things to work through.
Since my fear of “wasted my time and effort on traffic that doesn’t convert” is basically the same as “not connecting well with my leads, whether in my posts, calls or website” the work has already been done. I’d address this fear the exact same way I have the other one. It’s the same dismantling process; it’s sharing the same proof as to why it’s unfounded.
I can connect with more people authentically by understanding them. When I do, it leads to more connections and more business for me.
6. The fear of missing my own goals
For me, the idea of not being able to achieve my goals really sets a fire under my ass. And that’s what fear of selling does to you. That’s the true danger of not selling enough.
When I sell enough – and then some – I get the reap the benefits of starting my own business. The weight lifts off my shoulders. The stress of income and paying my bills disappears. It doesn’t make everything go away, there are different problems a profitable business faces. However, it makes the problems with a growing business disappear and those are the worst!
Those are the problems that make running your business such a hassle and not worth the effort. Moving past this threshold is a beautiful feeling. But, an even better one is when you keep reaching your goals whether it’s your first ever $10k month as a business or your first $1,000,000 year.
When I think I am not on track for my goals, I think about why I chose to start a business instead of getting a job. Lori Greiner, said it so well:
Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours to avoid working 40 hours a weekLori Greiner, Shark Tank
Why I started my own business
I started my own business because I want to retire my parents and pay off their house and cars. I started my own business because I want to travel the world, live wherever I want, and visit my friends around the globe. I started my business to pay off my own debt, including student loans, so I could start saving and investing. I started my business to help other people achieve success and goals in their own businesses. I started my own business because I love what I do and the people I get to work with.
I have lived with financial freedom before and the ability to travel the world. And words cannot describe how that feels. Which is what I want my own clients to feel after having worked with me.
I started my business because I am damn good at my job and can in fact positively influence and help others!
Use it to push yourself
Remembering why you started your own business can be a big push in moving through the uncomfortable and moving past your fears. It’s not pleasant but it’s necessary. So, take a seat, take out a piece of paper and remind yourself why you chose to start your own business.
Get as specific and as real as you can. Then use that as your motivation. Use this as reinforcement to believe in yourself and to identify your ideal client. Lastly, use it to keep going. Just because you didn’t hit your sales or income goals this month doesn’t mean you won’t next month. The only way to achieve those goals and dreams of yours is to keep going. And the fastest way to do so it by learning how to sell.
The reason I wrote this article today is to paint a picture the effects of being afraid to sell can have. I wanted to show you how I pushed through my fear of selling. These fear are common and you’re not alone. It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting out or are profitable – if you’re struggling, you’re struggling. The only way out is through.
So don’t forget to 1. Make a list of all your fears, 2. Get real about who you are and the value you bring 3. Identify your ideal client/target market 4. Remember why you started your own business and, finally, 5. Keep pushing through to the other side.
You’ve got this <3