BARKS from the Guild September 2015

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How to Channel Sales-Related Anxiety

typical sales process which lead many a distinguished pet professional to engage in avoidance behavior

often wonder if a column As pet professionals, if we define selling about sales, as incredibly as persuading, we important as the discipline practice the sales process multiple of selling is to the health and times each day staying power of your business, might be the equivalent of trying to motivate people to read a column entitled, Your Proctologist Is Your Friend. My guess is that there is a lot of sales-related anxiety/fear behind the lack of interest in this subject. With an eye toward helping trainers hurdle this obstacle, I conducted some research about the most prevalent fears in human beings. Before I get started with the ones that apply to the sales process, here are some that jumped out at me. Hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia – fear of long words. No kidding. A word as long as the line at the motor vehicle bureau is used to label the fear of long words. Globophobia – the fear of balloons. Koumpounophobia - the fear of buttons. Omphalophobia - the fear of belly buttons. Phobophobia - the fear of everything. But the fears that most caught my attention were those that I refer to as sales-related fears (WillieLomanphobia?). They are: Anthropophobia - the fear of people. Telephonophobia – the fear of the telephone. Socialphobia - fear of being evaluated poorly by others/the fear of rejection. Achievemephobia - the fear of success. Atychiphobia - fear of failure. Xenophobia - the fear of strangers or the unknown. With all those sales-related fears at play, it is a wonder anyone has ever been able to conduct a sales call. To one degree or another, all of the above fears can be experienced during the sales process. For the purpose of this column, I would like to address how sales-related fears can lead to sales avoidance behaviors, which in turn, can lead to your potentially great dog training business becoming a hobby. On the other hand, properly channeled and managed sales-related fears can lead to great success. Fears exist in all of us. Fear can be a good thing. For all living beings, fear holds adaptive significance. It is fear that says, “Hey, maybe it’s not such a great idea to toss this Frisbee to that griz58

BARKS from the Guild/September 2015

zly bear.” Fear is an emotional response to a real or perceived threat. Fears are common and are often normal reactions to objects or events. Fears become an issue when they prevent us from doing what we need to do or when we spend an inordinate amount of time and energy engaging in avoidance behaviors. When the anxiety a stimulus produces is so strong that it interferes with quality of life and our ability to function in a productive manner, then it becomes problematic. Often, avoidance behaviors can be very subtle and difficult to detect. Let’s use fear of sales-related rejection as an example. Unlike the response one might see from a person who is snake phobic (appropriately screaming, running and relocating to a home on Mars), fear of sales-related rejection can be much more subtle. In fact, it can actually be masked in what appear to be positive behaviors which are utilized to rationalize the avoidance behaviors. In my years 20+ years as a sales consultant, I have observed salespeople engaging in some incredibly creative sales avoidance behaviors, often masquerading as positive actions. Similarly, in my sales consulting business, I frequently encounter sales avoidance behaviors practiced by trainers who contact me. As noted above, these behaviors are sometimes rationalized as being positive. It is not unusual for sales averse trainers to invest dollar after dollar into their websites hoping that as a result, the website will sell their services, allowing them to avoid direct selling. While I am not minimizing the importance of a website by any stretch, a website is not a salesperson. Websites attract prospective clients - selling converts them into customers. Thinking one’s website is going to replace person-to-person selling is like panning for gold with a Hula Hoop. I have also coached trainers who have spent substantial coinage on brochures, new logos, business cards and something © Can Stock Photo/ewastudio


John Visconti investigates the various fears and phobias inherently present in the