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How to sell without fear

Written by Anis Qizilbash

One time after a speaking gig, a dapperly dressed fellow with a sunbeam smile approached me from the audience. He reached for my hand, clasping it between both of his, looked me in the eye and proceeded to shower me with positive praise. I was grateful and flattered but something felt off about the whole act. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but my intuition was telling me to run.

Later that day, an email popped up from the dapperly dressed man. He thanked me again for my talk and asked me what my passion was. According to his signature, he was an account manager for an online branding company. My B.S. detector went code red. Don’t get me wrong, I love talking about passion and mission and I think kindness and curiosity are wonderful virtues, but there was something a little forced about his questioning.

I replied by thanking him for reaching out and added, “I’m quite lucky; what I do is my passion.” He responded lightning quick with the following: “That’s great. I was looking at your website. You should develop your social media presence, we can help you build your brand and reach more people. Would you like to book a call so I can show you how?”

And there it was. The sales pitch. On the surface, the words, the gestures, the follow-up, all seemed giving, but underneath it all I could sense his intention was to get something. We didn’t continue the conversation. You too can tell when a pitch is coming at you, right? We know sales is about adding value, achieving mutually beneficial outcomes and so on. Any methodology will espouse this. But how do you blend the need to give value with getting sales?

Achieve the macro in the micro

You can’t give while you’re taking. Try it. Give someone a piece of paper while taking it at the same time. It’s impossible. Your intention operates in a similar way. You can’t have benevolent outcomes when you’re solely serving your own agenda. I’m not talking about big- picture macro objectives, but rather the micro day-to-day encounters with prospective and existing clients. It’s in these micro engagements that you achieve the macro.

Survival selling

When you’re focussed on selling, you leave yourself vulnerable to fear-based survival mechanisms that are self-serving. Concerns of competition, closing and winning take precedence, resulting in selfish actions. These actions send signals to the other person, which their unconscious notices. I call this fear-based selling, because your motivation is selfish instead of selfless.

But you have quotas to reach. Your team need to make their numbers. So what do you do?  One way of bypassing fear-based selling is by focussing your attention and intention on giving value.

What do you see that you didn’t see before?

Start by redirecting your attention away from past or future concerns of hitting quotas or achieving a desperately desired outcome. Bring your attention to the here and now. What can you hear? What new thing can you notice about your surrounding? You can also listen to your breathing for one minute. Doing these things quiet the monkey mind.

Taking control

Instead of allowing your mind’s negativity bias to hijack your motivation, impose your intention. As you approach a meeting, you may default to questions like How can I win that person as a client? or How many business cards can I collect to pitch? Instead ask yourself, How can I make this experience enjoyable for every person I meet? How can I be of assistance to each person I meet?

Don’t focus on past failures or future outcomes. When you redirect your attention to the here and now and set your intention to create value, you won’t have to hide behind tinned techniques and scripted plays that send people running. Your thoughts and actions will follow.

Anis Qizilbash is a Keynote Speaker, our clients book her for Mindful Selling and Mindfulness.

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