Fear of rejection is probably the most common disease associated with sales people. No I didn’t make a slip of the tongue. I consider fear of rejection a very deadly disease to a sales career. Fear hits a person at a very early age and if uncontested, it becomes cancerous; to the point it is such a large obstacle, it appears totally impossible to bypass. I can tell you first hand that this type of fear is real and from the onset seems insurmountable.
Let me give you a real life example of me having fear of rejection. When I got into real estate in February 1969, everything was altogether different than it is today. I don’t think the term “lead generation” had been devised at that time. Sales seminars were few and far between, and I might add, miles and miles apart. However, every seminar that I attended, the main technique taught to generate new prospective clients was simplified by using the term “Prospecting.” For the next 25 years or so, I blocked three hours every day for just prospecting.
One of the ways of prospecting was a term called “Door Knocking.” In case you aren’t familiar with it, let me share my early experience with door knocking. I attended a seminar in Atlanta and Steve W. Brown was a very dynamic and persuasive speaker who convinced me that door knocking was a very productive way to get new listings. I couldn’t wait for that weekend to pass. I had chosen a real nice subdivision that was about five years old and I just knew it was bound to have at least one owner that was interested in selling. This would be the perfect place to try my new door knocking technique.
On Monday I arrived in the subdivision about 10am, with business cards in my pocket and a listing agreement in a notebook under my arm. With all the confidence in the world I walked to the front door and as I reached to ring the door bell, suddenly a fear of not knowing exactly what to say came over me like a fog. What if they ask a question I can’t answer? What if my coming here unannounced offends them? How will I handle it if they chew me out? I rang the door bell and suddenly discerned I wasn’t ready for this so I quickly returned to my car and drove off before anyone could answer the door.
I carefully thought things through, put pencil to paper to script out exactly what I would say in response to several different scenarios. Now that I no longer have anything to fear, it’s time to ring another door bell. It’s amazing how quickly one’s attitude can change between the car and front door. I rang the door bell and suddenly fear arose from nowhere. It was even stronger than before. Once again, before anyone could come to the door, I quickly returned to my car and drove off; looking back through my rear view mirror to make sure no one was chasing me. Every day for close to two weeks I would ring door bells and run. It was like a new game and I was committed to learning how to play it. Fear had gotten so strong that my hand would quiver when I reached for the door bell. Each time I would regain my confidence by rewriting my scripts and then saying my affirmations repeatedly.
On a brand new day, and with renewed spirit I walked up the sidewalk, reached to ring the door bell and suddenly the front door flung open. I froze for a second out of total surprise, then quickly introduced myself while handing the lady a business card. The lady looked deeply into my eyes and said, “Young man, you are a God send.” My husband just got promoted and we have to move. We were talking last night about how we should market our house. Can you come back at 7pm tonight to meet with us?” It was so easy. She did all the talking for me. I had the rest of the day to plan my presentation and wasn’t worried about it at all. I met with the couple that night and when I left I had a signed listing, a key to their house, a for sale sign in their yard, and a completely new attitude about door knocking.
I had probably knocked on 18-20 doors and each time I ran like a scared dog. This time the lady beat me to the punch by opening the door before I could ring the bell. More importantly she taught me that behind closed doors are people who may need my services. Statistically speaking, I knocked on 20 doors and got one listing. That is a good ratio! How many doors can I knock in a day? This changed my career forever! I should have said it changed my life! Since that day I have never been afraid to knock on the door of a total stranger, or to call someone that I have never spoken to before. I have no fear of rejection because I realize that within every situation lies an opportunity. It is all about people talking to people and I have found the vast majority of people are respectful to other people. They are only disrespectful to those who are disrespectful.
I suppose its human nature to fear the unknown but to do so is having a negative attitude. Through the years I have learned that it is more profitable and less stressful to maintain a positive attitude by viewing the unknown as an exciting opportunity. I believe it was Franklin D. Roosevelt who said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.”
DREAM BIG & BE BOLD…….for great and mighty forces will come to your aid.
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