You know confidence when you see it – a person who stands a little straighter, walks a little taller, boldly defends their ideas, and isn’t afraid to take chances. You can immediately name the sales reps on your team who are the most confident, and chances are their confidence is backed up with top-notch performance.
It’s a chicken and the egg conundrum really – is that rep confident because they’re great at their job, or are they great at their job because they’re confident? This is not to be confused with cockiness – the arrogance or bravado that is so common in sales. Cocky reps try too hard to convince you that they’re talented, while confident reps simply ARE great, and don’t have to tell you all about it.
If you’d like to be more confident, or worry that you come off as too cocky, it is possible to make a change. Find your inner strength and learn from the many ways that confident sales reps set themselves apart from the rest.
1. They ask for help when they need it. (Click to Tweet)
Reps that are truly confident in their abilities are comfortable admitting when they don’t know something. It’s not admitting a weakness, but rather showing strength to use all available resources. By asking for help, reps can add to their skillset and learn from an expert. People will respect you more for asking for help, than they would if you try to do something on your own and botch it. It is also a great way to create personal connections with others on your team. They’ll then feel as though they can come to you with questions in the future, making your sales team a more collaborative and cooperative place.
2. They really listen when others talk. (Click to Tweet)
Talking too much without listening often masks a lack of knowledge, rather than showing off a real depth of understanding. Confident reps don’t start off a sales conversation by telling customers what they know, but rather begin by asking pointed and intelligent questions. Knowing the right questions to ask is often a much better indication to a prospect that you understand their business and pain points. Then, step back and truly listen to what they’re saying – don’t just plan your next question. Real listening is a trait that others value, and will reward you for.
3. They’re modest and give credit to others. (Click to Tweet)
The best reps know they don’t have to take all of the credit for a win. They’re confident enough to know exactly the work they did and own their successes, but they’re also comfortable acknowledging other people’s contributions. This isn’t false modesty, but rather a true appreciation for other people’s contributions to the sales process. When the Sales VP calls you out on a big sale, be thankful and accept the acknowledgement, but don’t forget to mention the efforts of everyone else on your team. Other people will appreciate and respect you for this.
4. They stay positive. (Click to Tweet)
Confident people don’t let a lost sale or a setback affect their sense of self-worth or bring them down. Constant rejection, as is common in sales, can begin to dent your confidence and create a spiral of negativity. But no matter what happened yesterday, or how your next sales call goes, it will not affect who you are and your core sales skills. Confidence means you have bulletproof self-esteem, no matter what you’re going through. This doesn’t mean you should be unrealistic, however. You need to be aware of your shortcomings and your strengths, while always keeping an upbeat outlook.
5. They admit mistakes. (Click to Tweet)
Mistakes are not the end of the world, and great sales reps know this. Everyone will mess up now and again, but it’s how you react to that mistake that sets you apart. You’ll notice that confident sales reps don’t get angry or defensive about mistakes, but will simply apologize and make a decisive plan to do better the next time. Blaming others for your mistakes is a quick way to show everyone that you’re insecure and inexperienced. Don’t obsess over how the mistake makes you look, just learn from it and move on. You can turn a mistake into a positive experience just by your attitude.
6. They can laugh at themselves. (Click to Tweet)
Being able to laugh at yourself is a true sign of confidence. People who take themselves too seriously are not only insecure, they’re also an easy target for other people to make fun of. If you’re able to laugh when you mess up, other people on your team will laugh along and then forget about the incident quickly. Whereas if you get upset over something minor, you may become the butt of the joke later. Remind yourself that it’s just a small mistake, and have a good laugh at your own expense.
7. They’re ambitious. (Click to Tweet)
Confident sales reps are not afraid to ask for a raise or go for that big promotion. They know their worth to the company and are comfortable asking other people to recognize them for their hard work and sales knowledge. Instead of self-defeating thoughts like “I’ll never get that position” or “I’m not qualified for that”, they’ll think “I can do this.” Confident people are willing to overreach a little beyond what they think they deserve, and grab for what they want. Don’t let your concerns or fears hold you back and stop you from reaching for your goals.
8. They’re willing to share opinions and ideas. (Click to Tweet)
Everyone has opinions, but confident people are never afraid to share those opinions for fear of being wrong or looking stupid. If you have an idea, but are afraid to speak up, just consider – what’s the worst that could happen? Your boss may say no, but they could also give you the go ahead to try something different, like a creative sales pitch or new technique. Confidence allows you to go out on a limb and share your new idea, without worrying too much about being wrong or feeling rejected. Much like staying positive, real confidence allows you to worry less about other people’s opinions and be more willing to share your own.
9. They’re open minded. (Click to Tweet)
Though confident sales reps are comfortable giving an opinion, they’re also willing to consider other people’s thoughts with an open mind. Even with all of their knowledge and skills, the best reps can admit when they’re wrong and are willing to change their opinions when presented with hard facts. Being stubborn and sticking to a plan that has shown to be ineffective is not only stupid and pointless, it also shows your insecurity. Like scientists testing out a hypothesis, confidence allows you to take in the newest evidence and form your opinions based on that knowledge.
10. They look for approval from the best. (Click to Tweet)
Talented sales reps – no matter how confident – are still human beings. Everyone wants to have outside support and endorsement of their work to help bolster that inner confidence. The difference is, the best reps will seek out approval from someone who is a respected force in the industry – a thought leader, a great boss, a company leader, etc. People who are confident appreciate skills and knowledge where they see it, and always want to find ways to connect with strong leadership. Find someone that you admire and make them your sales mentor, then find ways to gain their approval for your work.
Becoming a more confident sales rep isn’t an impossible task. You can become more secure and self-assured simply by emulating the traits of confident sales reps – ask for help, give your opinions, find a mentor, and always stay positive. With a sense of newfound confidence, you will see your overall sales performance improve and gain the courage to go after that big promotion.