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 How to Conquer Your Selling Fears

By Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor ®

Editor’s note: We chose to run this timely article because it further discusses the issue of fear as it relates to that of the salesperson. The Sales Talk series devotes more than half of its space discussing fear from both the sales associate’s and customer’s perspective, with the emphasis placed on that of the salesperson. Stay tuned for the remaining Sales Talk articles to follow.

I was talking to a pool builder about a client who had put in a new pool. His client lived in a very expensive neighborhood and drove a Bentley. A few months later, the client’s neighbor installed a pool, too, from a different pool builder. The Bentley guy went to his neighbor’s party and saw his pool. It had all the bells and whistles – a saltwater chlorinator, fiber-optic lights and an automatic pool cover. He drove back to his builder and asked why he didn’t show him all those features. “I was afraid I would price myself out of the sale,” he replied.

Fear is what keeps people stuck, particularly in selling. Fear is a reaction to a perceived threat – in this case, the possibility that the sale could have blown up in his face. That fear blindsided him to the upside potential.

So many retail salespeople power through the rote features of their luxury watch, their gee-wiz electronics or their energy-efficient appliances that they can appear brain-dead. I know when I first started working in retail, a customer was only something I had to close. They were not a person, they were just a sale to be made. That approach to sales is the antithesis of what is needed to overcome not just the salesperson’s fear of rejection, but the customer’s, as well.

One of the best ways to overcome fear is to be creative. The death of creativity and imagination are at the heart of low sales in retail stores around the world. Some think technology is the answer, but it isn’t. We have to find a way to creatively open our heart to another person to combat our fear of not being liked, not being taken seriously or not making the sale.  When we do that, we retain our most personal link – our link to humanity.

As John Guare says in his play “Six Degrees of Separation,” “The imagination has been so debased that imagination – being imaginative – rather than being the linchpin of our existence now stands as a synonym for something outside ourselves, like science fiction or some new use for tangerine slices on raw pork chops – what an imaginative summer recipe.”

Imagination is the passport we create to take us into the real world – it is what is most uniquely us. President John F. Kennedy’s creative aspiration back in 1962, to “go to the moon in this decade” motivated a nation to unprecedented levels of innovation. A far-reaching vision can compel employees to tap into their own creativity, as long as it becomes part of the DNA of a business.



 Read the full article in the Members Only section

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For more than 75 years, the North American Retail Dealers Association has been the voice of independent appliance, electronics, bedding and furniture retailers. Through education, representation and a host of benefits, NARDA has worked diligently for all retailers.

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