What is sales confidence?

Last month, we staged our first Sales Confidence live event in Central London. We were privileged to hear some of the best sales Founders and leaders in the SaaS industry speak. The nuggets of insight and advice we received were invaluable, and everyone left buzzing with ideas. Based on the talks at the event, we’ve put together the Sales Confidence Skills Series. Even if you couldn’t make it, you can still share in the knowledge.

Question time

After our 4 guests had done their separate talks, they got together for questions as a panel. I kicked off proceedings with a question that I like to ask every sales leader I meet.

What is sales confidence?

I have my own ideas on the answer to this question, and you can read it in this article. However, here are the panel’s thoughts on what sales confidence means to them.

Neil Ryland

Neil Ryland, CRO at Peakon, and my former boss at Huddle, went first with his answer. If you know Neil, you’ll know he’s fond of an acronym, and he had one ready for sales confidence. LAT.

L – Loyalty. A confident salesperson is loyal and dependable. They do what they say.
A – Attitude. If you have sales confidence, you have a can-do attitude. Nothing is ever someone else’s job. You just do it.
T – Tenacity. If you’re sales confident, you have an appetite for winning.

‘There are 26 letters in the alphabet. If Plan A doesn’t work, keep going.’

Andrew Gilboy

Andrew Gilboy, CRO at GoCardless, went next. He focused on belief and desire.

‘I look for people with a belief that they’re on a mission. I say that a sales team is a tribe. You’ve got to have that desire.’

Andrew also added that confident salespeople have an honest humility about their strengths and weaknesses.

‘One of the misnomers about salespeople is that they’re braggarts. The best ones are the ones that admit ‘I tried my hardest but I failed. Help me.’

Simon Kelly

Simon Kelly, who has run sales teams at Microsoft and Vodafone amongst others, echoed Andrews views on humility. He also mentioned versatility. A confident salesperson is multi-skilled, able to operate on different levels.

Simon’s main point, however, was about how a confident salesperson treats their customers.

‘It’s whether a customer, at the end of the day, would write a LinkedIn recommendation about a salesperson. That’s the litmus test. Will they say ‘This person was brilliant to work with.’? That’s a real sign that you’re dealing with a great salesperson.’

Chris Tottman

Chris Tottman, Partner at Notion Capital, talked about resilience being a trait of a confident salesperson.

However, from a Venture Capital point of view, the best salespeople he deals with complement a Founder, usually working on a different mental level.

‘We like people that are normal. Founders don’t operate with the same mental processing. It’s very difficult to nail down what we’d classify as a ‘delusional forcefield’.

At a startup, while the Founder has their head in the clouds, the salesperson needs to have their feet on the ground and their head in the game.

Components of confidence

So it’s clear that true sales confidence is a combination of a number of different traits. Nobody will be a 10 out of 10 for all of those attributes, but you can learn, practise and grow until you’re close.

Over to you now. If you were on our panel, what would you say makes sales confidence? Leave us a comment to let us know.

Become a sales leader at www.https://salesconfidence.co//blog

About the Author

James Ski works for LinkedIn and advises companies on recruitment, employer branding and how to achieve scalable, predictable sales growth.

If you would like to be first to read his published posts focused on sales confidence sign up to his blog here

You can also follow him on LinkedIn or on Twitter @jamesas

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