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How to overcome the fear of selling and 18 tips to improve your sales

Why are we afraid of selling

“I’m afraid of rejection.”

“I’m not an expert.”

“Nobody will buy from a stranger.”

“Who am I to sell it?”

“I don’t want to be too pushy and too salesy.”

“I’m afraid of failure.”

“I don’t know how to speak about my products and services.”

“I’m afraid of criticism.”

“Nobody is interested in my products and services.”

“I hate selling.”

How many times did you say to yourself something like that and limited yourself with this negative self-talk?

As I mentioned before selling isn’t something we’re taught to do, so it feels alien to us. I encourage you to go and find out what is the root of your fear. It can be a combination of fears, and some fears you experience are very personal. Being aware of your fears and where they come from is the first step in overcoming them. I will list down below the most common fears you might struggle with.

Fear is nothing more than an unpleasant feeling. Thoughts play an important role in creating, maintaining, and exacerbating our fears. The best way to deal with them is to notice them, name them and neutralize them.

Maybe you will find some fears or a combination of fears that resonate with you:

Fear of being perceived as salesy and pushy.

Nobody wants to be viewed this way. And to be honest it almost seems like something criminal. “Oh my god, what if they see that I’m selling or push my products and services too hard?” So what? The truth is that if you never speak about your products and services nobody will ever buy from you and won’t even know what you offer.

If the way most business owners out there sell seems alien to you, and it’s not aligned with who you’re, you can always choose your own way of selling and speaking about your offer that feels good and authentic to you. There is no right or wrong way of doing things. There is only one way that works for you and that feels aligned with you and your business. So go ahead watch other people, try different techniques and find out what works for you and your business. If you never try, you will never know.

The fear of not being liked and accepted by everybody.

Our whole lives we were taught to fit in, not to speak up our minds, and not be different, so there is no wonder we want so desperately to be liked and accepted by everybody. It’s scary to be different, to be seen, to speak your mind openly, to express your point of view. And if you do it, most likely not everybody will like you and it’s okay.

On the other hand, it gives you the possibility to find your tribe, connect with them on a more deep level and provide value to them. You don’t need millions of people to have a successful business. And getting rid of the wrong people is the best thing that can do for yourself and your business.

The fear of rejection.

Nobody likes hearing no, it can be a scary word for many people. But the truth is that rejection is part of being human, a part of being a business owner. It’s in your power to decide how you see the rejection and whether you take it personally. Rarely rejection is about us and tells something about our skills or who we’re. There can be people who are just not the right fit for you, people who don’t need your service just yet, people who don’t know that they need your offer, or people who don’t know you good enough yet to be ready to buy from you. In rare cases it can be about you, but why take it personally?

The bottom line is when you separate yourself from rejection and don’t let it heart your ego, your life gets easier and much more full of joy. You start to handle the rejection so much easier too.

Fear of failure.

It’s similar to the fear of rejection. As much as we are taught to avoid failure at any cost. Failure is nothing more than a natural way of learning. You will experience failures in your business and it’s okay. Failure can teach you much more than success. So don’t take it personally and don’t beat yourself up. Learn from it and move on.

Just think about it, if beating yourself up was a good way to change your behaviours wouldn’t you be perfect by now? Failure can hurt, but it’s up to you to decide what to do with it next.

Fear of criticism.

Nobody likes being criticized for what they do. We can be criticized for our products or services, for the way we sell, or maybe even for our point of view. And if you have a very poor self-image, if you don’t believe in yourself and your service, criticism can hurt a lot. We give our power away to other people and let them tell us if we’re good enough, we let them define us. Remember that you’re worthy and good enough and it’s up to you to decide how you view yourself.

People with a strong sense of self-worth and self-image re-bounce from criticism so much easier. They believe in themselves and in what they do and don’t wait for external validation to make them feel good and prove their self-worth.

So if you struggle with your self-image it’s probably something that you need to work on. There are many great exercises and everyday practices there you do to help you with that.

Try not to take criticism personally. Often in any criticism, there is some part of the truth. Use it as a possibility to grow and improve. Try to learn to distinguish constrictive criticism from hate and be very aware of who you accept criticism from. Probably it’s a bad idea to take criticism from someone you wouldn’t ask for advice.

A fear that nobody will buy from you.

There can be many reasons for this fear. Maybe you don’t believe in your products or services enough, maybe you just starting out and don’t have any experience and don’t even believe that it’s possible that somebody will ever buy from you. It’s important, to be honest with yourself.

It’s indeed scary to spend a month working on some product or service and see nobody buying from you. But do you even sell it? Although, if you just starting out, probably your products or services will suck and you won’t make any sales. Use this experience to learn and improve your offer. And I’m sure that with time you will get better. You will improve your self-image, will learn to believe in yourself and in what you do, grow your community and you will see how everything will start to shift. But it takes time. Don’t wait for immediate results.

All these are important fears that need to be worked on, I get it. So don’t waste any time and get to work! Are you ready to embark on your journey and unleash the growth of your personal brand, business and build the life you have always dreamt of?

Work on overcoming your fears and limiting beliefs about selling

Too often we focus too much on improving our selling techniques and not actually facing our fears and subconscious limiting beliefs we adopted during our lives, our past experiences and our study. As much as working on your sales strategy is important it’s even more important to work on overcoming your fears and limitations. This is what will make the biggest difference.

I mentioned the most common fears and limitations above. Now you need to try to identify what’s holding you back and why? The first step is to become aware of what is actually holding you and your business back from growth. Name them, find out what is the source of your fears and find practices and techniques to work daily on overcoming these fear and limitations.

Don’t just assume that they will disappear by themselves, it’s you who should put in an effort, be patient, persistent and practice self-acceptance while you’re working on eradicating these limitations and fears if you would like to grow your business and improve your sales.

Take massive action

I will keep insisting that taking action is one of the most important things you should always focus on. Remember that until you take action everything is just a theory. When you hesitate, doubt yourself, and search for perfectionism somebody else is taking action and getting results.

Taking action means working on fears, improving your products and services and trying different selling techniques. Often in the beginning all this doesn’t come naturally and feels uncomfortable. Use this discomfort to guide you, to find the things you should work on improving the most, don’t avoid it. Learn to process complex emotions and move on.

Learning how to sell is a skill that can be learned. People aren’t born professional salespeople. They try, they make mistakes, they fail, they experience rejection and use this experience to get better every single time.

Find the selling techniques that feel authentic to you. Find out what your fears are, find your own way to deal with rejection, and delaying gratifications, and don’t take anything personally. Take action before you are sure of anything, even if you fear of unknown. Believe in yourself and your products and services and keep taking daily action.

Believe in what you offer

Self-doubt can be a huge obstacle. And it’s okay to feel it, especially if you’re just starting out. But understand that until you believe in yourself, your business, and your offer first, nobody will believe in it. People can feel when you doubt yourself when you show up with low energy.

It can be hard to start believing in yourself and your business, especially when you don’t see immediate results, and when you create a service and nobody wants to work with you just yet. It’s how things work. Be ready that it will take time to develop a really good product or service, to build community, and to connect with people authentically before they even consider buying from you.

Keep going, and believe in yourself and your abilities. You have all the answers inside, you just need to quiet the noise, follow your intuition, and find the answers for yourself.

Be enthusiastic and passionate about what you do

Everybody keeps telling that you need to focus exclusively on what the market needs, but what about your passions? If you focus only on what the market needs, but you don’t really enjoy what you do, will you be able to create something really extraordinary? I don’t think so!

As much as you need to solve the problem with your products and services for a particular group of people, make market research, and find your niche. Finding something that you’re really passionate about, that fires you inside, that pisses you off is even more important. It is what fuel you, it is what give you the energy to keep going and provide you with the energy to create something extraordinary, something that has never existed before.

Don’t sell yourself cheap, don’t focus on what everybody else is doing, and don’t believe that the market is over-saturated. It’s always possible to find a way to make a profit in every field. But do you have expertise? Did you become a master of your craft? Do you know your audience? Did you work on building a strong personal brand? If the answer is no, invest your energy and time in doing all this.

Know what problem you solve

People don’t buy to just buy something. They have a problem that they’re they want to solve. There are three levels of problems: external, internal and philosophical.  Most huge brands out there sell only the solutions to external problems, but people are actually interested in solving their internal problems more. The more you talk about the problems your potential clients have, the more they will be interested in your brand.

If you focus elusively on solving external problems, you will fail to engage in the
deeper story your potential clients actually living. But if you manage to propose a solution to clients’ external problems, by at the same time offering a solution to their deeper frustrations it’s where the magic starts to happen.

Your perfect brand promise will be a combination of solving all three levels of problems: external, internal and philosophical (why, something larger than themselves). If you manage to do that people will engage with your brand, business and story on a deeper level and will be more willing to buy from you. As daily we deal with all three levels of problems and would like to find a solution to all these problems.

Here are several powerful examples from the book Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller:

Villain: Gas guzzling, inferior technology
External: I need a car.
Internal: I want to be an early adopter of new technology.
Philosophical: My choice of car ought to help save the environment.

Villain: Coffee machines that make bad coffee
External: I want better-tasting coffee at home.
Internal: I want my home coffee machine to make me feel
Philosophical: I shouldn’t have to be a barista to make a gourmet
coffee at home.

Villain: Financial firms that don’t listen to their customers
External: I need investment help.
Internal: I’m confused about how to do this (especially with all the
tech-driven resources out there).
Philosophical: If I’m going to invest my money, I deserve an advisor
who will thoughtfully explain things in person.

Use these examples to inspire you to create a powerful brand story and brand promise for your business.

Know your audience

Know whom you would like to help with your products and services. You cannot appeal to everybody, and why on earth you would want to do that?

Most of the marketing techniques and strategies are derived directly from knowing your audience, the problems they have, and the language they use to describe themselves and their problems. The better you know your audience the better solution you can provide to their problems.

It will make your product creation and selling process so much easier. You won’t be focusing on helping every human on Earth, but just your group of people. It will also help you to get rid of people who are not your ideal clients fast and will save you time.

So spend time working on finding out and learning your audience on a very deep level. You must know them better than they know themselves. But don’t just use the generic formula to get to know your tribe, the formula most brand coaches provide like knowing their age, country, and gender. Learning about your audience is so much more than just demographics.

Shift your perspective

Rather than feeling anxious, and afraid if you sell your offer to somebody, try to shift your perspective on the benefits you provide. Be generous with the information you share. Don’t listen to scarcity mindset coaches that say that you never should be too generous. The more you give, the more you will receive in return. But when you sell from a place of scarcity it’s very hard to make any sales at all.

Shift your focus from convincing people to buy to sharing information generously, speaking about your story and sharing your passion. Don’t be afraid to be open and vulnerable. It’s what makes you relatable. Share of course the information you’re comfortable with. Start small, don’t try to push yourself too hard in the beginning.

The more you practice, the more you share what you do, and the more comfortable you will become. Especially when you will start to see people who connect with you and who are interested in your offer.

Improve your website design and copy

As soon as you complete deep work on your branding, messaging and yourself it’s time to improve your website or sales page design and copy. Don’t overestimate the importance of well-written copy and beautiful website design. They should work together if you want them to bring you the results you hope for.

I see so many very good specialists with amazing expertise, but with such a poor copy and website. It’s sad. Even if you don’t have a budget to invest in a professional copywriter or website designer yet, try to do your best to improve them by yourself. Make research, read good books, learn from people and see how successful business owners create their website design and copy. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel here, all the information you will ever need is available out there, you just need to know how to search and where to find it.

Remember that your website will be selling, connecting to your audience, and building trust even when you’re not there. I have blog posts on how to write a well-performing sales page, improve your DIY website, and how to elevate your website design, and your overall website copy. So don’t hesitate to check them out if you need any help.

When you know your audience, your offer, the problems you solve, and your brand promise, it will be easier to write the copy and create a website design that works for you and your business. So don’t neglect these steps before you create your sales or service page.

Stop selling and start building relationships

Nobody will buy from you if they don’t know you. It’s how human beings are wired. We want to know the person, we want to know her story, her why, how she can help us to solve our problems, and the exact process how she will use to do it.

Just think about it. Have you ever bought anything from somebody you don’t know? Giving somebody our hard-earned money is a commitment, and it takes time to build trust. So focus on building a community around your online business.

Engage with your audience, talk to them, have real conversations, and don’t just sell your services in the second message after saying “hi”. I personally hate when people do it, I don’t really want to talk to this person after she does something like that. Behave in the way people you would like them to behave around you.

Share your story, share your why, and your point of view, and be genuine. Speak about what you do and why you do it. Tell people how their lives will improve after working with you, and share the process of working with you, and the benefits. Create content not to sell. Create content that makes people want to buy. You’ve got this!

Build your brand

Create a brand that people cannot resist, and infuse your personality into your branding. Your personal brand is YOU first of all. Be a leader in everything you do, and guide people. Don’t just sit out there and wait until somebody tells you what you need to do. There is nobody that knows better than you what you need to do.

Listen to your intuition, and follow your values. Your values will beat the strategy every single time. What is your brand all about? Do things the way that is aligned with who you are and that feels good and fun to you. Nobody can do that at your place.

Coaches and gurus can give pieces of advice, but then it’s up to you to go and find out what works for you. Try things, and create a unique personal brand that is the reflection of you and your unique personality. Building a strong personal brand is what will create the strongest foundation for your business’s success.

People crave connection, being heard and understood. They don’t need generic products and services anymore. Use your superpower to be that unique brand that provides unique solutions to people’s problems and your success will be invertible.

Accept that not everybody will accept you and your offer

This one is very closely connected to knowing your audience and dealing with the fear of rejection. I used to dread rejection and so badly wanted to please everybody, to be liked by everybody. But I felt how I traded my authenticity for being liked by everybody and how it was eating up me inside. Honestly, it doesn’t worth it. Stay true to your authentic self, and focus on serving your people.

Be ready to get a lot of rejections in the beginning and move on. Don’t beat yourself up, and don’t let negativity drain your energy every single day. Learn from your rejections, and improve yourself and your offer. And if some people still reject you, who cares? Get as many many rejections and fail fast to approach your success faster. The best way is to use failing and rejection as a possibility to learn and grow.

Listen and engage with your audience

Nobody likes second-guessing. Creating products or services that nobody needs is probably a bad idea even if you’re passionate about it. Your offer should be a mix of your unique perspective, expertise, your passion and the solution for the problem people have. 

And if you focus from the first day of your business journey on building your community, as you should do. You will have people to talk to, to ask questions, to find out about their problems, and understand what they really need but can’t find on the market.

Use this data to your advantage. Engage with your community, have genuine conversations, emphasize with their problems and use this information to create something remarkable!

Have fun!

Stop being so serious and professional and have some fun! Seriously! We hold ourselves back so much sometimes because we have this idealized or imposed image of how we should be and the way that we should show up. When we do this, we create tension. That’s why embracing ourselves and being fully ourselves is a vibe, that helps others feel safe to do the same. It’s vital to be authentic in your business.

I said it before and will say it again! There is no right or wrong way of doing things, there is only the way that is authentic to you, and that works for you and your business.

You can use some proven selling techniques, but don’t adopt them blindly. Instead, add your own unique spin to and play. If something doesn’t bring you joy, what is the point? And test, test and test everything. Go and find the best ways that work for you and that work for your audience. 

Rather than thinking “I should do it”, “I hate selling”, or “It doesn’t feel good”, find interesting, original and unique ways to approach your sales. Have fun, throw a party, hold free workshops, and find unique ways to share your knowledge and passion with your audience. Shirt your mindset.

detach from outcome

It’s easier said than done. So often we get so hung out and attached to numbers, outcomes, and money. It prevents us from doing a great job and creating an extraordinarily offer. It can be difficult to detach from the outcome if we have the pressure of making the money or sales right always. It creates tension, it makes us follow the trends and do what other “successful people” are doing. But is it really you? Would you like to copy somebody else’s way or instead carve your own unique path?

Try to focus on becoming a master of your craft and creating great products and practice detachment from the outcome and negative thoughts and emotions. And learn to engage fully in what you do. When you’re lost in your head when you get attached to your negative emotions, you cannot really engage 100% in what you do, and get actually better. It’s hard to stay present, as you always worry about what happened in the past or what might happen in the future. The present moment is everything you have, so use it wisely.

Often when you shift your focus and start appreciating the effort itself, start believing in yourself, the outcome turns out to be better than you have ever imagined.

Focus on long-term goals and create vision

Remember that building a business and start making sales takes time. You probably expected immediate results when you started, and after months you wonder why nobody is buying from you. Be patient, persistent and have faith. Most of the immediate success you see on social media isn’t real. There is no such thing as overnight success. Don’t believe people who say you otherwise.

That’s why creating long-term goals and vision is important. It helps to sustain you on your journey when things get tough. Remind yourself daily why you do what you do, and what your values are, don’t get distracted. Vision is a mental picture of your future or some future outcome with strong emotions attached.

Having vision rewires your brain, and makes it work in a completely different way. You start to find possibilities you couldn’t even imagine before. So find some time daily to practice vision, remind yourself of your long-termed goals and keep going. It will create a lot of positive emotions that will fuel your authentic self every single day.

Start small and celebrate your small wins

Sometimes when we start complex projects we’re not capable of managing them just yet. It’s important to dream big and to leave your comfort zone. You must be really honest with yourself and admit whether you’re really capable of handling everything that you put on your shoulders. Did you become this person that runs the business of your dreams? Or maybe you’re still trapped in negative thoughts, feeling and limiting beliefs?

When you ask too much from yourself in the beginning you can give up easily. Your lizard brain might tell you something like these goals were too big for you anyway so why even bother trying? Be aware and mindful of your thoughts. Start small, and take consistent action which will move you and your business forward. Every big goal consists of small tangible goals. Don’t forget it!

Be gentle with yourself, celebrate your small wins, and appreciate your effort. It will help you to keep going, take even more action and improve your offer and selling process. It’s too easy to get caught in a never-ending marathon of constant achievements and define your success exclusively by your achievements and the money you make. You must never define your worth and success by external factors only, but learn to cultivate it inside of you.

Learn to practice gratitude daily. It fuels your authentic self and makes you keep going in a joyful and more relaxed way. You cannot create anything extraordinary from a place of lack and constant stress. I can tell you this for sure. I experienced it and it’s a very bad place to be in, it ruins your creativity.

Never stop growing and improving yourself and your offer

Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. As every time you try to create something new, do something you have never done before you will experience discomfort. Learn to be okay with being in the realm of the unknown, you cannot create anything new from the known. It’s very hard to do, but the unknown is the only place where possibilities exist.

Never stop investing in your self-growth and learning. It doesn’t mean spending thousands of dollars on coaching if you can’t afford it just now. You can connect to people, learn from others, observe what others are doing and use this knowledge to improve your business and sales.

Learn to be willing to try new things, experiment, and be a leader. Don’t sit and wait passively for things to happen by themselves. Be proactive, reach out to people first, speak about your offer, and accept constructive criticism. Work every single day to become a master of your craft. Have genuine conversations with people, and improve your offer and the process of working with clients. If you learn to listen to what your ideal clients need, you have no other choice but to create an extraordinary, and innovative solution to their problems.

keep practicing, you’ve got it!

Selling is like any other skill that can be practised and improved. It’s not rocket science, you can learn it and master it. But in order to do that, you need to practice.

So put yourself out there, show up, start small and keep practising regularly. The more you practice the better you will get, I can guarantee you that. Accept the fact that you might suck in the beginning, and most likely nobody will buy from you. But it doesn’t mean that it will be like this way forever.

If you create a vision, work daily on overcoming your fears and limiting beliefs, stay focused, patient and persistent, become the master of your craft, practice regularly, enjoy the process, believe in yourself and what you offer, build your personal brand, your success will be inevitable.

final thoughts

Sales or any other skill can be learned, but you need to practice it if you want to get better at it. It requires working through your fears, limiting beliefs and reprogramming your subconscious mind. It requires taking massive consistent action, believing in yourself and in your offer, being passionate about what you do, and knowing your audience and the problems they have.

You need to learn to be okay with rejection, constructive criticism, learn and engage with your audience, build your personal brand, improve your copy and website design, practice detachment from the outcome, and create a vision and long-term goals.

Getting better in sales demands focus, persistence, and patience. If you commit to getting a master of your craft, improving your offer, and keep practising, you will succeed.