Monday, June 09, 2008

Jill Konrath Sales Mistake Story #1 - When paralyzed by fear, get moving

Mistake Bank member Jill Konrath has written about a few of her selling mistakes on her blog, Selling to Big Companies. She's kindly allowed us to post them here. The first story follows:

After finishing the Xerox training program, I was assigned to follow Jim Farrell for several weeks to learn the ropes. But finally the day came when I was sent out on my own.

At 9 a.m., I pulled up in front of Quality Products to begin my cold calls. But I couldn't get out. I was terrified and tongue-tied, convinced that my sales career was over before it even began.

After nearly 30 minutes of being paralyzed in my seat, a song wiggled its way into my mind: "I Have Confidence" from the movie, The Sound of Music.

I started singing to myself, quietly at first, then louder and louder. I was particularly enamored with the refrain, "I have confidence in confidence alone, and as you can see, I have confidence in me."

I really didn't believe the words, but they got me moving off my "stuckness." I pulled out my cold call plan that I'd studiously prepared the night before and reviewed it. I practiced my opening lines again and again.

Then I got out of the car and went in. By the end of the day, I'd made over 20 cold calls and uncovered some potential prospects.

Over the years, I've been confronted with many tough situations that I didn't know how to handle because I lacked the requisite knowledge or experience. I've learned that you can't know everything before you start. And I've also learned that "movement" is key to discovering the answers.

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