In his Wall Street Journal best-selling autobiography, Jack: Straight from the Gut, Jack Welch writes, “Self-confidence is what I’ve looked for and tried to build in every executive who has ever worked with me. Confidence gives you courage and extends your reach.” Our research indicates that sales managers seek professionals who are bold, influential, and proactive in taking prudent risks. Nobody wins — in sales or any other professional or competitive endeavor — by playing it safe. The most successful sales teams have a roster of highly self-confident go-getters who make things happen.
The many benefits of confidence include:
- Improved productivity
- Quick “bounce-back” & resilience
- Greater opportunities
- Faster trust-building abilities
- Stronger relationships
- More prudent risk-taking
- Enhanced learning & trying new things
- Magnetic personality
- Deeper skill development
- Greater influence
Challenges and solutions
“The financial advisors who really struggle are those who fail to persevere, and thus become complacent,” says Kerry Vetter, Portfolio Advisor at Merrill Lynch in St. Louis. “Too many professionals rest on their laurels after moderate success.” Indeed, additional challenges for sales teams include a lack of activity, getting in front of qualified prospects, and the inability to effectively manage time. Often, self-confidence is what’s lacking on behalf of the sales executive. Do you have the confidence to walk away from distraction and poor prospects? Do you have the confident presence to interact with potential clients as a peer, not a vendor? Do you have the confidence to step out of your comfort zone, not for a time, but every single day so as to improve your skills and build better relationships?
5 ways to build self-confidence
- Provide ongoing challenges and opportunities for your sales team. Top performers enjoy being stretched and the consistent “raising of the bar” will sustain high motivation.
- Encourage prudent risk-taking. You have to let go to reach out. Muhammad Ali never entered the ring with a face mask and hands tied. Enter the ring, take your punches, and employ different tactics.
- Reward your team players after success. According to Welch, it’s vital to reward your employees “in every way possible.” To do that, you must know what drives and motivates each member of the team.
- Reward the process. Effort may not pay the rent, but without it, there’s no chance for success. Not every effort will produce a sale and generate new business. In sports, an athlete can often play his best game and still come up short in the win column.
- Promote positive self-talk and communication. The Law of Concentration states that what we focus upon grows. One of the key confidence-building strategies of the high performer is to invest energy in what’s possible as opposed to what’s not possible. Sales managers who lead by example in the area of communication create a winning environment poised for further growth and success.