Overcome the Fear of Failure in Sales in 3 Steps

Overcome the Fear of Failure in Sales in 3 Steps

Sales Training for Entrepreneurs and Sales Professionals

Your ability to overcome the fear of failure in your sales career will have a significant impact on your success. If left unchallenged, it will prevent you from making necessary sales calls (a.k.a. call reluctance). The fear of failure can cause anxiety during sales opportunities. Most importantly, it can dissipate your self-esteem. To overcome the fear of failure in sales, you must first understand why you feel this emotion. Next, you must learn how you can change your thinking to reduce its intensity in three key sales arenas. Only then will you be fully equipped to overcome the fear of failure in sales!

Why You Feel the Fear of Failure

From a survival perspective, fear is a critical emotion that protects us from danger. Therefore, it is powerful in intensity, directing our behaviour without us having to think. For example, if you spotted an aggressive and vicious dog nearby, your instincts would save precious seconds causing you to run (or fight) rather than assessing the situation. Unfortunately, this same response keeps us from doing other things that our brain considers dangerous… Like making sales!

Step 1: Overcome the fear of failure: First Aid

Now that we have recognised that fear is often irrational, the first step to overcome the fear of failure in sales is to stop and breathe. Mindfulness is an extremely helpful technique to calm your nerves. My prescription for you is to practice mindfulness daily and whenever you need to regain your composure. Give it a go, the effects will surprise you!

Step 2: Overcome the fear of failure with sales calls

This is by far the most common problem I hear from entrepreneurs. Admittedly, when I need to make cold calls, I still feel anxious when picking up the phone. If you want to feel less fear, here’s the key point I want you to remember: When a person declines your invitation to meet, they are rejecting the offer, not you as a person. They simply don’t feel the need for what you’re offering. Next, I want you to reverse the rejection – if they don’t want to meet, then neither do you! In a sense, you are rejecting them because you only want to work with clients who see your value. Finally, after each call, think “What could I improve?” Every failed call is simply an opportunity to improve your initial pitch.

Step 3: Overcome the fear of failure during sales opportunities

High-stakes sales opportunities can be a major cause of anxiety. If you find yourself feeling nervous during a sales presentation, my first suggestion for you is to prepare thoroughly. Anxiety is an indicator light signalling you to know your sales process inside-out. Script, rehearse, and anticipate the meeting. The more completely you prepare, the less your nerves will get to you.

Next, I want you to shift your focus from self-interest to the client’s interests. While the sales revenue might represent a big difference for your business, focusing on that fact will only increase your anxiety and desperation during the pitch. Your mindset should be “If they say no, it will be their loss,” or “If they accept, imagine what a big difference it will make for them!” Detaching yourself from the outcome will be the single-most powerful positioning tool you can equip for the sales presentation.

Overcome the fear of failure in your sales career

Remember that fear and faith are simply two sides of the same coin. Both require belief in a future outcome without definite answers. Simply choosing to believe that good will emerge regardless of the outcome will help enormously with your morale. Remember that failure is simply a lesson to be learned, and that the only true failure is giving up. It may help to recall stories of famous failures like Bill Gates, Thomas Edison, or Michael Jordan. The recurring pattern is that successful people fail their way to success!


Fear is a necessary but potentially disastrous emotion. Once you recognise its roots, you can more effectively deal with it by applying “emotional first aid.” Further, by reframing and rethinking sales calls and opportunities, you can calm your nerves and become more resilient. Finally, by understanding that failure is a necessary part of your success, you will instead apply faith. Go ahead, overcome the fear of failure and sell, sell, sell!

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Sales Ethos is the only provider of sales training for introverts. We also provide sales coaching, sales process consulting, and sales training in Melbourne & Adelaide.

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