Fear — It Will Sabotage Your Success
The fear of failure is the greatest single obstacle to success in adult life. Our fears make us reluctant and anxious and they well up inside us whenever we are faced with risk or with doing anything new and different. This is especially true when it involves selling a major lifetime investment, such as a home.
During the sales process, your prospect will experience tensions and negative emotions. This is known as “buyer’s remorse in advance.” She can experience this even if you have transferred 100 percent of your enthusiasm and confident expectations. Whenever your prospect reaches the crossroads of decision, the point where she must commit to either a yes or a no to your community, and she is not 100 percent certain she is making the right choice, she will experience her greatest fear — the fear of failure.
When “buyer’s remorse in advance” overwhelms your prospect during the sales process, she will procrastinate and vacillate rather than commit and make the decision to proceed. She makes predictable statements such as, “I’m just looking,” or “I need to think it over,” or “I need to discuss this with my banker, accountant, attorney or family.” But what the prospect is truly saying to you is, “I’m experiencing buyer’s remorse in advance and am afraid of making a mistake.”
As if the buyer’s fear isn’t enough to prohibit the home sale, there is also the salesperson’s fear of rejection and hearing the work “NO” during the sales process.
More than anything else, it is probably this fear of rejection that is holding you, as a salesperson back. It is the fear of rejection that causes you to withdraw from your prospect. And it is this fear of rejection that you must overcome.
The fear of failure, or of making a mistake, literally has the power to drive both you and the prospect into a safer harbor. For the prospect, that protection is provided by saying “NO.” For you, the salesperson, that safety comes by avoiding rejection by not asking for the sale.
By the way, if as a salesperson, you fear hearing the word “NO,” you have placed yourself in an interesting profession. The potential of a sale and the possibility of rejection are “joined at the hip.” If your closing ratios are 10 percent, you will see 100 walk-in prospects with only ten becoming owners. That means 90 prospects reject your proposals. When the economy is down and competition is keen, you may experience rejection from as many as 95 out of 100 prospects.
So accept it: You will hear “NO” many more time than you hear “YES.” The top community sales professional expects, it prepares for it and is able to continue forward by possessing a sound sales process and system.
The final point about rejection is that you cannot take it personally. Realize when people say “NO” to you, there are just offering an automatic response. They aren’t rejecting you as a person. They are merely saying “NO” to the conditions of the offering, such as the location of your community, your designs, the delivery schedules, and a host of situations surrounding your community and homes, but not you personally.
Fear can percolate your thinking and make you the landlord of a terrible tenant. It’s like a virus, permeating your body, breeding in your mind, eating away your spirit. But fear can be the first step to something better. With a little more courage and a little more effort, you can have victory.
Here are some suggestions to help you overcome the fear of rejection:
1. Don’t take rejection personally. Understand it is the prospect’s fear of failure, of making a mistake that prompts the rejection. When you get a “NO,” don’t be shocked by it. Don’t disbelieve it or blame the competition. Instead, accept it, analyze it, and learn from it, then move on — either with that prospect or with another. But don’t internalize rejection. It isn’t, as the expression goes, “all about you.”
2. Expect rejection. This doesn’t mean for you to be negative. It doesn’t contradict the need for confident expectations. It is just reality. Recognize that a sales conversation will usually end with the prospect’s refusal or semi refusal. What is a semi refusal? When you are offered objections such as: “I’m just beginning to shop.” Or “I’ll get back to you later.” or “I need to think about it.”
3. Confront your fears. Confront your fears. Control your fears. But do not take counsel with them. Fear should not dictate your responses. If you face the obstacles, fear fades. You can fear rejection, or have faith in yourself. The emotion you cultivate — faith or fear — is the one that grows.
Avoid being too hard on yourself while you are working to improve. Expect to feel uncomfortable as you approach the sales process and develop new skills. It is natural to feel uneasy doing something you have not mastered. Through repetitiveness and experience, you will gain the strength, courage and confidence to face and conquer your fear of rejection.
Do what you fear most and the death of fear is certain.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Next installment: Urgency: Inducing Your Prospect To Take Action
Myers Barnes Associates, Inc.