You're Afraid to Sell Because You Think There is Hope

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Mon, Nov 24, 2014 @ 07:11 AM


It may have been in episode 4 or 5, in season 1.  It was definitely in the HBO series Band of Brothers.  Thanks Chris, for recommending it.  I can't believe I'm a decade late watching this!

A soldier was telling an officer that after the drop into Normandy, he simply hid in a ditch.  The officer asked if he knew why and he replied, "Because I was scared!"  The officer said, "You were scared because you thought there was hope.  The sooner you can accept that you're already dead, the sooner you can function as a soldier."

Think about that statement - not just its war implications, but also its life, and of course, sales implications.

Some people worry constantly about troubled love ones until that trouble causes their death.  The worrying ends because in those cases, death eliminates the fear.

In sales, we certainly don't want salespeople to have a defeatist attitude - nothing could be worse than that.  But on an opportunity by opportunity basis, there is tremendous power in believing we have already lost, or that we cannot possibly win this deal or account.


In battle, if we believe we are already dead, then what's the worst that can happen?  If we are already living the worst that can happen - death - then we won't be afraid, we won't be tentative, and we will do not some, but all of the things we were trained to do.  We'll fight!

In sales, if we believe we have already lost, then what's the worst that can happen?  If we are already living the worst that can happen -  we lost - then we won't be afraid, we won't be tentative, and we will do not some, but all of the things we were trained to do.  We'll sell!

"We'll sell" means that we'll ask all of those good, tough, timely questions that salespeople don't always ask; qualify more thoroughly than ever before, and not give in to the pressure of an early demo, presentation or proposal until the milestones in our process tell us that it's appropriate. 

Most salespeople fail to achieve because of their fear, but if we can eliminate the fear, only a lack of selling skills would hold them back and those can be taught.  Sure it can take 8 months to a year to train and coach salespeople to master consultative selling.  But that's a hell of a lot better than the 2-3 years it can take when all of their fears still prevent them from even trying what they are being taught.

Pop culture, especially a movie that tells a true story, can provide a better context for change than when we map out steps and teach.

You won't get this deal, so stop being afraid.  Do the things you've been afraid to do because you don't have anything to lose!





Topics: Dave Kurlan, Consultative Selling, fear of failure, selling fearlessly, selling skills training, sales fears, sales qualifying

Sales Confidence - How to Ask Any Tough Question Anytime

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Wed, Jul 13, 2011 @ 20:07 PM

I'll share one of my secrets for asking any tough question, push back with confidence any time, challenge the CEO of any company, or even ask why your prospect wouldn't just make the easy decision and go with either the market leading competitor or incumbent.  Ready?  Simply keep your pipeline stuffed - busting at the seams - no place to put the next opportunity.  When you have enough opportunities in the pipeline you can say, ask or do anything - no worries.  And that's what it takes to differentiate yourself from everyone else.  But when today's opportunity is THE opportunity you'll be afraid to say "boo" without worrying that you'll mess up and lose the opportunity.

Speaking of selling fearlessly, check out Robert Terson's new book, Selling Fearlessly, and his web site and blog.  The book is one of the few sales books I have read AND liked.  I'm sure that you will like it too!

You may remember me writing about Top Sales World last year.  Well, they have continued their pursuit of being the Top Sales Portal on the planet and just last week added the Top Sales World Magazine!  I contributed one of the articles - a rebuttal to why some morons are proclaiming that consultative selling is or will be dead.  The magazine can be downloaded for free by visiting the site and clicking Download Magazine.  You'll have to register at the site before you can download the premier issue.  Full Disclosure - Objective Management Group, and my Kurlan & Associates are both sponsors and I am one of their resident experts.

Another one of Top Sales World's Sponsors, Sold Lab, has launched their sales magazine too.  Their 5th Issue - July - is available on their site now.  I have contributed articles to their site and you can read them here.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, sales management, Sales Coaching, sales tips, sold lab, robert terson, selling fearlessly, Top Sales World

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader,  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned awards for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog for eleven consecutive years and of the more than 2,000 articles Dave has published, many of the articles have also earned awards.

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