The Confidence Quotient

Even the most put together, self assured person can struggle with confidence. It is intimidating to make the cold-call, give the presentation and ask for the business sometimes. How can you overcome those obstacles and feel confident?

I want you to remember that you never have to be 100% prepared for anything. Part of your internal confidence quotient is your ability to connect the dots. I used to get all up in my head about an upcoming meeting if I wasn’t 100% sure of everything. Rest assured, I bet there isn’t a single person in the room that is at 100% either!

What can you do to give yourself that confidence boost?

  1. Find out what THEIR goals are. We tend to want to share our needs first, especially when time is limited. Wait on that. The best way to boost your confidence is to give a boost of confidence to the person you want to connect with. If you can validate and understand their goals, your likelihood of setting that next meeting is high.
  2. Why would (insert name) want to meet with you in the first place? I have met a lot of salespeople over the years who, when I ask them this very question, answer it with an elevator pitch of their best product or service. That’s not what they want to hear. Here’s a secret: your potential customer wants you to identify their biggest issue, problem, or success. They want to be understood and know that you know what they want. Find those common goals and interests, and make connections outside of your product or service.
  3. Bring something of value. I bet you have a pretty good handle on your industry. What is something that you have learned that could enhance their productivity, connections or profits with no sales commitment with you? I’m not saying to give away the farm with this information, but give them a taste of your value.
  4. Offer your network to others. It is one thing to ask for a referral from others, but how about offering to use your network to refer as well? This goes right along with that value add item, and can be a pretty powerful tool.
  5. Show genuine gratitude. Even after a first meeting or connection, when I hope you are sending a “thank you” note or email, thanking others for their contributions to your business and life are essential. It isn’t just a feel good, but solidifies your presence in their life and creates connections into a greater understanding of both you and them.
  6. Slow down. When we are nervous, we go fast! It’s a physical response. Our heart beat quickens, our palms (and other areas) start to sweat, we exhibit a sense of urgency. Take a deep breath, and focus on taking it slow. When I first started public speaking, I had to mentally tell myself to speak at the pace a four-year-old could follow. Slow and articulate speech shows, and builds, confidence. It allows you to annunciate your words, and carefully consider your responses and thoughts before they leave your mouth. It also allows you to focus on listening to others, when you are not in such a hurry to respond!

Confidence building is an ongoing activity. As someone who works in commission based sales, I have had my highest highs and lowest lows in the same day! You can build strength and confidence around daily practices, so the major ups and downs won’t affect you as much.

Put Your Head Down and Go!

I have always been the type of person who thrives in a crazy busy schedule.  If I don’t have a back-to-back schedule, I don’t feel productive.  Call it obsessive compulsive, or a bit neurotic, but my day from 8am to 5pm is most productive when my plate is full.

When those pockets of your day creep up when you don’t have a tight schedule, how do you get it to fill up?  Do you turn to research, prospecting, organizing, or…?  What if your calendar is light for the week?  What then?

Busywork does not always produce results.  If you choose to utilize your down time to organize your desk / briefcase / contact data base, then only commit to organizing for 15-30 minutes.  You can easily loose track of time if you allow yourself more, and your day is wasted.  If you are trying to achieve more activity, then start the activity that will get the ball rolling: cold calling.

I have learned over the years that cold calling is like public speaking.  It makes your heart beat a little faster, your palms get sweaty, and it’s so easy to ask someone else to do it.  But when you take the plunge and go for it, the adrenaline rush you can experience can push you ahead to do it again and again until you get a “yes.”  It takes time to feel comfortable with this activity, and also some planning.  I rarely make a cold call without having some background knowledge of either the individual, business, or reason for my call first.  I want to appear informed and helpful, and the ability to access requested information is key.

How do you get started? Put your head down and go for it! Don’t second guess yourself.  Don’t worry about what the person on the other end of the line / email / text / desk will think of you.  If you represent yourself in an honest, professional and sincere manner, you will achieve success.