Stories We Tell Ourselves

As sales people we sometimes demotivate our own selves by telling bad stories. That can be paralyzing. It can also color our decisions and conversations.

Fair Warning: STOP reading here if you are a fully confident person who never doubts yourself. This will just feel like alien-speak to you!

Sale-Fears-185x300 Usually our story goes something like this ”Gosh, George seemed so interested in working with me, and now he’s not calling me back. Guess he didn’t like the price… or the timing… or, gulp, me!” Cue a bit of whiny music here. But it’s often not about us – it’s about them – shocking idea for a sales person right?? Turns out George’s mother got sick, or his prospect hit him with a hard deadline. Our job is to re-presence George to the tremendous value he’ll get, to the vision he saw about how his life could be better if he signed on with us.

I was reminded of this today when a former client called today. Guess I’d kind of given up on hearing from him. Felt a bit like a stalker. But I felt so connected to this guy, and really just wanted to find out how things had been going with him. After a few months (yes, months) of occasional calls and emails with no response I had a storyline going about how disappointed he was that he had ever worked with me, must have woken up one day and realized what a waste of money it had been, or, maybe I’d said something that last phone call that was too confrontive. Wrong wrong wrong. Happy face!! It was all about the project he’d been buried by. And the best news – because I picked up the phone with a smile on my face and banished my stories – he’s coming back as a client as soon as we can work out the details!

Watch out for those stories! Save the scary stuff for your next campfire.


Posted in: Sales, Taking Action

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Fear Gets in the Way

Overcoming-fear-255x300Fear! It had me! And I didn’t even know it. There’s a client in a situation that involves lawyers and an 800-pound gorilla corporation known for running over the little guys. I just wanted it to go away. So yesterday we strategized with the lawyer. Cleared out some cob webs. Got some ideas. But I just couldn’t settle down. Only last night did I recognize the symptoms that I’d felt during the meeting: the urge to walk away, that ugly feeling in the pit of my stomach, a whining background noise in my head “I don’t wanna!” Those are, for me, symptoms that mean I’m afraid. And fear makes it hard to think straight, to focus, to take action. It’s paralyzing. Simply recognizing it, and acknowledging that I’m not so tough, was a relief. Then up bubbled courage. And clarity. My next step: make the 4 phone calls. I can do that!

Then I realized that in a more subtle way, fear had kept me from blogging and tweeting and generally being in the online conversation. To break through that fear during yesterday morning’s workshop took several things.

  • Learned some new facts about the context (64% of adults are involved in online conversations; only 15% of them are regularly creating new content – that inspired me!)
  • Learned “tricks of the trade” and shortcuts – I was confused on some technical points that made me afraid to waste time and get nowhere – know the feeling?
  • Mistakes are good. So is taking awhile to find your voice.
  • I made a plan.
  • During moments (okay, hours) of discomfort, I just kept doing one more thing. One more thing. One more thing. And the plan began to work.

Try these at home – break through any fear that is tying you up in knots and preventing you from taking on something new in your business!  I’d love to hear what other people do to recognize and overcome fear.



Posted in: Taking Action

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