The Fearless Marketer

The fears of Selling

You know, I am not sure when I started realizing fears, but I assume it was when I was pretty young. For me, fears just

I was working as a stockbroker in downtown Toronto when I first got out of school. I remember every morning from 9:00 AM until 10:00 AM sitting in a classroom and learning how to pitch people over the phone. A fellow by the name of Bill Johnson stood up in front of the classroom, put his hand over his ear and started making imaginary phone calls. He would show how to pitch, how to answer objections and how close a sale, and close the sale hard. All with a one-sided conversation. Obviously, there was nobody on the other end of his hand. The one thing he didn’t teach was overcoming the fear of making that first phone call.

The buzzer rang at 10:00 o’clock and we all went to our desks. The only thing on the desk was a rotary dial phone, a pencil and a page out of the phone book. My hands were shaking, and my knees were quivering as all these negative thoughts kept running through my mind. Meanwhile, my Boss, at the time, Mr. Dudley, (he reminded me of a task master in ancient Egypt) was standing over me saying, get on the phone, you have a daily quota to make, and sales aren’t going to close themselves.

I remember being so scared as I made that first call, second call, third call with no answers. Then, on the 4th call, someone picked up. She seemed like such a nice lady. So I told her who I was and immediately went into my pitch. She was so nice to me that 40 years later I can still remember her voice. I didn’t try to answer her objections and I didn’t try to close her, I just thanked her for listening to me and ended the call. My boss asked me, why didn’t you try to close her, and I told him that she was just a nice lady and didn’t have any money to invest. He said you should have tried her close her anyway, something is better than nothing. Just because people are nice doesn’t mean that you have to be. I remember thinking there’s got to be a better way of doing this. Forcing someone into a sale is not the right thing to do and it made me feel sick inside.

For the next few weeks, I tried to keep myself under the radar with my Boss. I made my quota of 150 calls every day with absolutely no luck. Every day my boss would look at me with disgust in his eyes because I wasn’t closing sales. Every day the fear and anxiety kept building. It got to the point where I hated going into the office for the fear of having to get on that phone again or possibly even get fired. I had no choice; I needed this job.

Then, it hit. Four weeks later I got a gentleman on the phone who said that he was very interested. I gave him my pitch, answered a few objections, and closed a sale for $150,000. The highest single sale made by a new Sales Rep that month. Before I got off the phone, I asked him, why did you buy for me? He said, it was because he could feel the empathy and honesty in my voice. He said that I seemed like a trustworthy person. I knew then, that being in tune with my customers emotions will help me sell more. I also learned that fear, even though it feels real, is just an illusion. After making that first sale, the second sale came shortly after, and all that fear just melted away.

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