I knew something wasn’t right. The delightful client on the other side of my desk gave me her credit card and signed the purchase agreement, but I wasn’t comfortable.
I gave the purchase order to R, my boss and mentor.
“What payment does she want on this vehicle?”, he asked.
I blushed. I didn’t know. I only knew that she had budgeted $30,000 and that she wanted a loan for some of it.
“Ok. I see she wants a three row minivan. Does she need captains chairs in the middle?”
This time I sat down, defeated. Again, I didn’t know.
R chuckled. He is always straight with me, but never mean.
“You’re so good at getting people to like and trust you that they’ll just sign the agreement without even knowing what they’re going to pay for the vehicle!”
I Know Enough to be Dangerous … to Myself
This wasn’t the first time that week that I’d been uncomfortable. In fact, I had been running around with tense shoulders and sleeping fitfully for several weeks.
If you want to be really good at something, you have to work hard at it. In this particular case, I had been focusing on the elements at the top of my priority list.
- Build good relationships
- Behave with integrity
- Be as transparent in the sales process as possible
Not only are these qualities important to me as a person, but they are also important in an industry where people have been trained to mistrust salespeople.
And I’m getting good at it. My clients like me and they trust me to do the best job for them.
Uh oh… can I do the best job for them?
I’m a broker in an industry with 1700 different car models available at any given time. Each vehicle comes in a variety of trim levels. They have hundreds of features and new ones are coming out all the time.
Not only that, but there are many financial arrangements to acquire these vehicles.
People are trusting me to do the best job for them. What if I let them down?
Sales is Very Hard, but Not the Way You Thought
The resolution to this particular problem is for me to stop thinking I am ready to do this on my own. I still need R to mentor me and catch my mistakes before they affect my clients.
This isn’t always easy for people. Grownups like to be self-sufficient. In fact, we used to have another salesperson who insisted he didn’t need to be mentored or follow the system R set out for us. That salesperson is gone, thus making my point that we cannot learn difficult skill sets on our own.
A salesperson in another industry recently said to me, “Sales makes you face every insecurity you’ve ever had a trace of,” and she is right.
If you want to be good at something, and I don’t think it’s just sales, you have to face a lot of fears. Sometimes it’s fears you didn’t even know you had. What if I am letting people down? What if I am encouraging them to trust me with all the good intentions in the world and then letting them down?
The first step is recognizing the fear. The second step is making a plan, just like my dad taught me.
The third step is consistent action. And the fourth step is repeating this process next time an uncomfortable fear comes up.
I can do this. But don’t ever try to tell me it was easy. The only people who believe it’s easy to become extraordinary are people who have never tried it.