Do you let self-doubt get in the way of your dreams and sabotage your success? We can all reply, “Who doesn’t?” at least occasionally… Right?!
I’ve had this persistent seed of an idea thats finally incubated into a full-blown passion project. I resisted it for quite a while, saying it was because I have a busy and rewarding “day job,” but the resistance was really because the monkey was sitting on my shoulder. You know what I mean…. the one clanging doubts that plague dream builders.
✅Who am I to think anyone would care to hear my thoughts about Modern Sales?
✅Who am I to say I can actually help people be more successful?
✅What will people think if I step forward and share my knowledge and experience?
Even a wizened design sales veteran like me has a monkey on her shoulder.
If I dare to try, will others reject (me!) what I’m offering?
I’m always surprised when the monkey shows up. It’s not like I’m new to advising others on how to be successful in a design sales role; I’ve been doing it for almost 20 years with hundreds of designers. Motivational speeches, coaching calls, and performance metrics have been my way of life, and I’ve led countless sales training classes, using a stuffed “monkey of doubt” as a prop in every one of them. Training day always begins with eager faces and maybe a doubter or two. The attendees have varying levels of experience and a wide range of success results, but when I ask these designers why they are there, they share a common dream that they all want their sales to improve. They also have common fears about why that may not happen. The monkey starts up. They want to thrive in a career they love and are afraid they won’t. They want to help others live better in their home with their products and ideas but have challenges getting clients to move forward. As you can see, the thoughts in a salesperson’s head can be a roller coaster of varying emotions. I know this because I spent the first half of my career selling to clients myself. I had to learn to silence the monkey then, just as they do now.
Before any new concepts or ideas are presented, I always commend these hopeful optimists for taking action and showing up to learn new skills. I share that there are high stakes in the truth we will face together in that room. Unless clients actually purchase a product or idea for transforming their home, we’ve failed them. Clang! The designer’s role is to guide their client to solutions the homeowner is actually willing to implement. Until they do, we haven’t helped much. Clang! Clang! If the client doesn’t purchase their solution, the client still faces the problems that prompted them to make an appointment in the first place. They aren’t wasting the salesperson’s time by not buying; in fact, we’ve wasted theirs. Clang! Clang!! Clang!!! The class attendees don’t like this; it is one hundred and eighty degrees from what the monkey had been chattering in their ear before they walked in the door, but once they see that when the salesperson takes accountability that the client didn’t buy, they can actually do something and work to improve their skill.
I show designers how to slow down, create genuine connections, and guide clients through a five-star purchasing experience. They learn to create a high-trust, low-resistance relationship that results in their client enjoying a comfortable, inviting home. Become highly skilled at doing that, and clients will become friends, then customers. Sales will soar, and business grow. Raving fans will repeat and recommend your service. I mince no words when I tell them it takes more time, more skill, and more practice to do this. I reassure them the journey is worth it. They begin to believe they can be the trusted guide. After our time together, I cross my fingers and send out a silent prayer that they will embrace and practice what they’ve learned and keep at it despite the pesky doubts I know will continue to plague them.
During the training, doubts always surface.
✅My clients are super busy; they don’t have time for much talk to connect genuinely.
✅Yes… but… I come up with great solutions, and sticker shock makes people in my area shop for ideas so they can buy them somewhere else for less.
✅I spend hours on design boards and quotes, only to hear, “Let me think about it and get back to you.”
✅I’m tired of wasting my time.
These are versions of the same doubts I feel about my dreams. You’ve probably felt them, too. All of them culminate in the mother of all doubts: Am I enough? If I dare to put myself out there, will others reject (me!) what I’m offering? When you hear clanging, the solution is to cover your ears and ACT. I remind myself that transforming how buyers and sellers experience design-related purchases is a much-needed, noble mission. Businesses need sales. Customers need solutions. I remind those I coach that they have nothing to lose, so go ahead and do the new thing. You can always go back and do it the way you’ve always done it if it doesn’t work.
I came upon this quote that reframed everything, providing a new perspective of what will be GAINED by acting on a dream. “No dream is as great as the person you will become for remaining true to it. Your dream come true is magnificent. The soul that emerges through your journey is greater still.”
Wow. I want that, and I think you do, too.
So dually noted, Monkey, and thank you, but we’re going to do it anyway!
Even with clanging doubts, I will ACT. I see the path forward and know what I need to do, so I (kindly) get up and do it. Along with the fantastic feeling that comes from helping others, my soul will emerge through my journey greater still.
We all have dreams incubating – big dreams and everyday dreams – that want to be brought to light, well-crafted, and then used to help ourselves and others. I dream that buyers and sellers experience fun, relaxing design sales appointments and transformed homes and businesses. Therefore, I quiet my Monkey and get on with building my dream. I help design sales professionals be more successful, one appointment at a time.
Care to join me?