It’s Good To Be Nervous

When I first got started in selling, I mean really started, I had a boss named Jon. Jon’s motto was that if weren’t a little nervous in a sales call you weren’t working hard enough. What he was trying to instill was the need to stretch always for the bigger deal and opportunity.

Now twenty-five years later I find that credo to be true to this day. How many of you are still nervous about a sales call? I find that when I get in front of a prospect that isn’t a stretch, where it all just seems to fall into place, that deal will have problems later.

Think about it, we are asking people to invest considerable money in our product or service. If it isn’t a little difficult it probably means that neither party is doing a very good job of due diligence.  That’s why they ask us to qualify a prospect. We want to make sure the deal we are about to pursue makes sense for everyone. (It is not just to make sure they can pay for the product or service).

I had been calling on Diane for years. We had a small piece of business that we did together. Over time, we became comfortable. Then came the chance for a big deal; millions. I got nervous. (Tony Robbins says, “Fear is just your unconscious telling you that you need to be prepared”).  There were four finalists to the RFP.

We spent weeks working on our presentation, I coached the various players on the presentation team on their roles, the personalities of the customer team and we practiced.

The presentation day came. It was nerve wracking; In part, because nobody followed the script that I had in my head. Throughout the presentation, I was worried. Even though it did not follow the script, we were prepared and as a result, we were able to manage the contingencies.  Yet we answered their questions and ultimately won the deal. It has been worth over $6 million in the last 4 years.

When I prepare for a meeting with them or any client now, I stay nervous. I want to ensure that they continue to see the value that we provide. It’s OK to be a little frightened it means you are working the right deals.

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