Lions and Tigers and Sales, Oh My!

How do you overcome your fears as a salesperson? The life of a salesperson isn’t easy. Whether you’re cold calling, dealing with a difficult prospect, or finding yourself filling the silence in conversation, everyone encounters a situation in which they are not totally comfortable, like Dorothy and her companions entering the forest to find the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.

The sales process (much like the journey to the Emerald City) is filled with challenges. As 2019 comes to a close, many salespeople are reflecting on the year and determining how to improve in the future. It’s important that salespeople identify weaknesses or fears and address them head on.

Here are some of the most common fears among salespeople that I have found over my 25+ years of experience, and tips on how to combat them to make the most successful year possible. Just like the Cowardly Lion found courage was inside him all along, so will you – all you need is confidence in yourself.

Saying ‘I don’t know.’ Don’t ever lie and make something up. While it may be tempting to do so in a moment of uncertainty, the end result will not be in your favor. Instead, offer to follow up shortly after your conversation (“I just want to check on that and I’ll get back to you”). This builds another level of trust with your client; first, they know that everything you’ve answered thus far is accurate and correct, or else you would have said so. Second, following through quickly gains you respect and allows you to continue a relationship built off of honesty.

Not hitting a quota. Plain and simple – don’t find excuses or blame other people. Instead, pause and take a good look at your day-to-day activities. Are you doing enough to drive a sale? Do you have enough leads? Are you able to qualify those leads and pursue the strongest ones? If your metrics add up, then it might be your technique that’s off.  Play back phone calls, evaluate talk time, and review the follow up materials you send out. Identifying the underlying issue will help you correct it sooner – whether that be partaking in additional training or more networking.

Asking what you think is a “stupid” question. Just ask it! Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and ask any question you’re embarrassed to ask about their business. Don’t worry about being perceived as not smart; ego can sometimes get in the way, misaligning messaging and creating mistrust. Put your ego aside and ask the question that will give you the information you need to help the client. In the end, be authentic, always.

Hearing “no.” Don’t be afraid to make that next phone call even after you may have been rejected all day long. You won’t get 100 “no’s” before at least one “yes.” Celebrate your no’s because they mean you’re closer to a yes. So make that call that you’ve been dreading and count down to your next yes.

As the 2019 year end closes, you may be wondering what are some of the best ways to leap the hurdles that could prevent you from closing out the year on target. If so, join us for a webinar on November 13, 2019 and you can hear some tips and advice first hand from a panel of experts.


Tara Bryant is Senior Vice President of Global Sales at Pipedrive, the first CRM built from the salesperson’s point of view. With 25 years of sales experience, she drives the company’s global sales and customer support functions, and manages its strategic partnerships.

Photo by Ray Grau on Unsplash