… An Ego.
If you have an ego you’re not going to get very far in sales or in life in my opinion. However, if you have confidence you can achieve almost anything. People gravitate towards confidence and want to be a part of it. This is true in all aspects of life and especially in sales. You could know every aspect of your product or solution but if you’re not confident in how it’s delivered or in the true value it provides then you’re going to have a hard time convincing anyone to buy it. Even more importantly, if you don’t have confidence in your own abilities (and yourself) you’re not going to be too convincing, regardless of what you’re selling.
You can gain confidence in a lot of ways but it’s mostly a mindset. When I ran sales in a prior role I had a bunch of inside sales professionals reporting to me. One of them came into my office one day and told me they couldn’t get any meetings no matter what they tried. So, I took their list of leads and started making calls with them.
After about the 10th call I ended up talking to a CEO of a financial firm and getting a meeting with him. When I got off the phone the rep said to me, “Well, you’re the VP of Sales, of course people are going to listen to you and want to meet with you. I’m just an inside sales rep.” I knew it was more of a confidence issue than anything else so I said to him, “Is that all it takes? Being the VP of Sales? Well then, congratulations, you’re the VP of Sales (without the salary).” I then reminded him that at no point during the call did I identify myself as the VP of Sales.
Ben Affleck in Boiler Room (one of his best roles) says “act as if.” That always resonated with me. Act as if you’ve been there before. When you meet with a CEO: act as if. When you’re presenting to a group: act as if. When you’re closing a deal: act as if.
I’ll end with a story that proved to me confidence will get you almost anywhere you want to go. A few years back I drove across country with a friend of mine. Long story short: we got to Vegas and dressed up in our black leisure suits (which we bought at a consignment shop), butterfly collar shirts, gold chains and sunglasses, and hit the town. We walked up to Rain, the hottest club in Vegas at the time, on a Saturday night and went straight to the front of the line – acting as if. Without saying a word they opened up the velvet rope and let us walk right in. When we got in there a guy who was taking photos for the club immediately grabbed us and started posing us with models and celebrities. We spent the rest of the night in the VIP section hanging out with Brooke Burke and IceT (for proof see the picture above). No joke. We barely said a word the entire night but we “acted as if” and had the time of our lives.
Figure out a way to become more confident but never get an ego.
Make It Happen.