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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

(SALES) What's The Worst That Could Happen?


Motivational speaker Les Brown instructs his audiences, "Raise your hand if you've ever come up with an idea to do something, and before you could take one step towards it, you, yes YOU, talked yourself out of it?"  You've done it, I've done it?quite recently, in fact.

My Dad is an expert at "do-it-yourself" home improvement projects. Growing up I frequently made trips to the hardware store or lumber yard with Dad for supplies for his latest project. I was in awe of his ability to take a vision for a project and turn it into reality. A gazebo out by the pool, a new deck, or a bathroom suite in the basement, there seemed to be no limits as to what Dad could accomplish.

It wasn't until two weeks ago when Carolyn wanted a new bathroom in our basement that I first attempted to do what my Dad had been able to accomplish. Why? Fear. I was afraid there was no way I could do it as well as Dad. It was that fear that caused me to avoid home improvement projects. That meant hiring expensive contractors or simply not having the project completed.

We called a plumber and a contractor. It would cost about $5,000 to create a bathroom in our unfinished basement. $5,000 is a lot of money. I started wondering if I could do the project myself. We did a rough layout with scrap boards, we priced out materials, and we determined that if I did the project myself, we could do it for under $1,000. How hard can it be to frame up a room, hang some drywall, and put in a bathroom? Then fear kicked in: "You'll never be able to do it as well as your father," I told myself. "You'll screw it up and you'll look stupid." These were the irrational thoughts I allowed to enter my head. I kicked my fear to the curb by asking one simple question: "What's the worst that could happen?" I concluded that I could completely screw up the project five times before it would equal the cost of a contractor doing the job. True, time is money?but I viewed this as "learning time" or "recreation time." So, fear be damned, I started the project.
Fear, according to, is defined as "A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc. whether the threat is real or imagined." Fear actually changes our brain chemistry and organ function and ultimately a change in behavior such as running away, hiding, or freezing. The Psychology Today website says, "Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger -- if we didn't feel it, we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life or death, and thus we hang back or avoid things for no good reason."

What more would you do, or be able to accomplish today, if you didn't fear you'd fail? Would you make more prospect calls? Would you make larger presentations to bigger clients? In my experience, sales is not a life or death situation and the fears we have when it comes to situations in sales are largely the types of fears we would refer to as irrational -- fears that have no basis in reality; fears that hold us back from accomplishing so much more simply because we are hanging back or avoiding things we are afraid of.

Ralph Waldo Emerson says, "Knowledge is the antidote to fear." My fear of doing the bathroom project was easily squashed by learning, reading, and watching some video on how to stud and drywall.

Is fear holding you back? Learn and/or find a guide to help you. There are more experienced sellers on your team right now who are willing to help you get past your irrational fears. Too often we are embarrassed to admit our fears, or we feel that nobody else has ever dealt with this kind of problem before. That's irrational. If you're afraid of it, then someone else is afraid of it now and someone on the team has been afraid of it before and can help you through it.

I'm in the finish-sanding portion of my project. I emailed pictures to my Dad over the weekend. He called and told me how proud he was of me for my bathroom project. Now I?m ready to finish the whole basement, put on a deck, and tear down some walls, just because I can.

That's the thing about fear. Once you get past it, you'll be amazed at how motivating and liberating it can be. When you overcome your fear, you feel like nothing can stop you.

Tell someone right now what you're afraid of and see if they can't help you logically think it through. Then learn what you need to and push through it.

Radio Ink Live is a new webinar series for radio sales executives. It's excellent, low-cost, training that will give you knowledge you need to overcome your fears. For details and to sign up click HERE.

If fear is holding you back, ask yourself, "What?s the worst that could happen?"

Jeff Schmidt is EVP and Partner at Sparque, Inc. You can reach Jeff at

Twitter: @JeffreyASchmidt

(4/18/2015 10:18:00 AM)
Terrific piece, Jeff.
When you're done, could you knit me a Buick? :)

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