There are a lot of skills, habits and characteristics that can influence your success in sales and business. From written and verbal communication skills to sales acumen to having a strong work ethic, there are certain things that you simply have to have.
I have always been intrigued at the reasons why certain people succeed in their role, while others around them fail. There is a long list of factors, and, yes, luck and timing is certainly on that list. But there's much more to it.
There is one characteristic I believe is absolutely critical to anyone succeeding in sales and business. I'd even go as far to say that this characteristic influences the success of individuals, regardless of what career they choose. It's also something that influences your ability to persuade others and influence change. And that characteristic is self-confidence.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-confidence as "confidence in oneself and in one's powers and abilities." That's a good definition, and it speaks primarily to the inner feelings you have about yourself. But what the standard definition doesn't tell you is that the confidence you portray to others when you are interacting with them directly influences the perception people have of you.
It's a very interesting dynamic to observe and discuss, and it's critical for those in the business world to truly understand how something so simple can have such a profound impact on the success of an individual.
Self-confidence is something that develops over the course of time, and it's also something you can continually work on to improve. I think it's fair to say there are times we doubt ourselves, and that's completely normal. The key thing is how you let those doubts and negative beliefs impact the perception people have of you through your outward expressions.
Lack of self-confidence is very obvious to observe. It stands out through verbal communication and body language, and people who lack self-confidence often find themselves in situations where they succumb to the inability to control what is happening around them.
People who succeed in sales and business aren't necessarily the best at what they do. They don't always have the answers to everything. And there are certainly others who are more educated, have better skills and are more capable. The main difference is people with a high level of self-confidence think they are the best, and they truly believe in their individual skills and abilities. To put it simply, they may not be the best, but they believe without a doubt that they are.
When it comes to sales, people want to do business with confident and successful people. Nobody wants to work with someone who appears to lack confidence and be weak. If you don't believe in what you're selling and you don't believe in your own abilities, you can pretty much guarantee that your customers won't either. It will be virtually impossible for you to influence and persuade anyone, unless you fully believe in yourself, your company and whatever it is that you are selling.
Regardless of your profession, if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will. Never underestimate the impact your self-confidence has on your success.
Christopher Thompson (firstname.lastname@example.org) writes Closing the Deal weekly for the Sunday News.