Confidence…its not a tangible skill that can be taught to someone. No, its a complicated “internal” thing that just happens to be a key contributor to your success.

I’ve  heard people mention the swag of really confident people. Those with swag walk a little taller, make more direct eye contact, have an air of confidence around them. Yes, some even see them as arrogant, but there is a difference between arrogance and confidence. Arrogance is an attitude, feeling or showing self-importance and contempt or disregard for others. Confidence is NOT about contempt or disregard for others at all.

Confidence is feeling or showing that you have belief in your own abilities and your ability to succeed.

And it matters…to your buyer and your manager.

When interviewing sales professionals, it is that hidden factor we look for. A less assured person is going to be passed over for someone that demonstrates confidence (and competence of course).

For example, last week I was interviewing a potential supplier for Sales Pro Insider. I researched and found the company that seemed to be able to deliver what we offered. In my phone meeting with the sales rep, she was pleasant, she was able to provide the information I asked for, and yet something just left me wondering whether she could deliver or not. I even asked for references, recent references, as I was struggling to figure out why I wasn’t confident in her.

Then…I happened to think of looking on LinkedIn for her background and saw another profile of someone in that business. I decided to call and what a different experience! This rep provided some of the same information, asked for the next step, and told me that she was “Confident I will be able to help you.”

Guess what? I committed on the spot!

After thinking about it, I realized that THE differentiator was confidence. I just wasn’t sure the first company would deliver – it was little things like hesitations, maybe seeming a little distracted, etc. from the first rep that made me second-guess her ability.

Where the second rep, Kimberly, had a confident tone in  her voice, words of assurance and competence and she made me confident in my decision to buy THAT day.

So, how do you build confidence to more quickly advance your sales?

  • Preparation – preparing for your sales conversation will always increase your confidence.
  • Practice – practice asking the questions you need to, practice describing your product or service (tied into value or What’s in it for Them, WiifT).
  • Keep a Smile File – what is that you wonder? It’s a file that I believe everyone should have. A place where you keep anything that reminds  you of your value to others – cards, notes, quotes, and even emails that you receive that “sing your praises” or thank you should be printed out and added to the file. Whenever you need a boost of confidence, its an effective practice to review the contents of your file and you will get a natural boost.

While I can’t teach someone the intangible factor of confidence, the ideas above are tangle actions that you can take to build yours.

How about you? What do you do (or have you) done to build YOUR confidence?