I get great joy out of teaching sales at the University of Texas, Dallas Campus. I teach Introduction to Professional Selling to twenty-seven students who are eager to get into the business world and pursue a career in sales.
Their enthusiasm makes my job easy!
The curriculum is designed to help students gain the skills needed to successfully role play to uncover customer needs, give value and gain commitment. While a Sales 101 course is basic, it’s also critical to any career in business, as I believe that everyone is in sales, no matter their title.
The students are required to video practice role plays. I look for their level of mastery of key skills as I’m grading them. As I watch, I look for how well they connect; how they build credibility and how they show their competence, all of which we’ve covered in previous articles.
Today, I’d like to focus on a 3rd critical attribute – confidence – a necessity to become a successful sales person. Confidence is self-assurance and arises when a person appreciates their own abilities and qualities.
But, it is not arrogance. It’s a more poised approach that helps you – the sales professional – set your prospects and customers at some level of ease. It’s one ingredient toward building trust, which is an absolute requirement in any buying and selling relationship.
Think about your own expectations when buying – don’t you want to work with someone who is confident and provides the needed information and that demonstrates that they know their product or service. Of course! Their confidence helps you feel good about your decisions.
Credibility and competence can only take you so far. If you are unsure or hesitant, those skills are greatly diminished. So, it’s the package of credibility, competence together with confidence that will provide you with the best results.
A confident sales person will more likely offer relevant and effective solutions. They are believable, another aspect of confidence.
They know their products and services so well that connecting customer needs to their solutions becomes easier. And, sometimes, a confident seller will have to walk away when they don’t have the best solution, yet certain that there are others who will absolutely benefit from their solutions.
Confident sellers also know how to pivot when the inevitable surprises come up during a meeting. Yes, good preparation can help you anticipate most of them, but an occasional curve ball comes. So, don’t let that shake your self-assurance.
Everyone wants to feel good about their decisions and to avoid making a decision that they’ll later regret. A good, strong seller will work to answer all questions without feeling intimidated insuring more ‘good decisions’ are made.
People buy from people and since people buy emotionally and back up their decision with logic, a strong connection is needed. We expect to buy from a sales person that gives us the feeling of confidence in not only buying from their company, but buying from them the sales person.
When I watch my students’ role play, I see their confidence come across in their enthusiasm, their competence and their credibility. And every time they handle a surprise, their confidence builds. Yes everyone makes mistakes, but with practice, skills improve and confidence builds.
Confidence sets the stage for new business, long term relationships and reoccurring business. Confidence helps a great sales person give the extra effort to convince the customer that their solution is the best one for them.
Your confidence helps to demonstrate how much you care – you want them to get the good results they seek and your confidence will guide the meeting toward that conclusion.
As I watch the videos, I feel great about the next generation of sales professionals. They are not only building credibility and competence, but gradually they are also building confidence.