What are we really afraid of?

Ascending the airstairs of the jet bridge, I could feel my heart pounding. I punched in the security code for access, swung open the entry, and made my way to the door of the aircraft. A quick turn left and I found myself racing through the first-class section of this massive L-1011 airliner, ahead and a step down lay the cockpit. As I entered, the hum of avionics surrounded me as my eyes searched wildly for the aircraft’s manual. Tucked away neatly in a panel toward the rear of the cockpit, there it was, as I grabbed it and rustled through the pages. I thought that the nose gear hookup had to be in here somewhere. At last, I found it, and there it was complete with a diagram and the instruction on how to hook up the tow bar. After a few more minutes I was all set, heading back down to connect the aircraft to the push back tug, wherein about an hour I would be pushing 250 people and crew from the gate on the start of their journey to New York.


I often think about this experience years later, where I had taken a job with an Airline as I waited for a sales training class to start at a future employer. My first task, on my first night at work at the airline, was to push a plane loaded with passengers from the gate. I can still hear the supervisor say. “You know how to push a plane, right?” I answered that of course, I did when I did not have a clue. Not to worry as a pilot I knew everything was in the manual, I mean how hard could it be and what was there to be afraid of?


As sellers, we have a couple of primal fears. We fear, rejection and the dreaded no from our prospects. As a result of this, we fear failing and not making our goal and finally we fear in some cases not being liked by our customers and colleagues further adding to our sales woes. For sure as salespeople, we will face a no or two along the way, as well as a ton of rejection. It is part of the territory, and the sooner we get used to it and accept it, the better off we will be. I recall very few of the prospects I sold to in my career, saying, “We are so glad you are here; we’ve been waiting to buy from you.” Rather most sales situations are loaded with right angles from both the customer and your employer. Sometimes the internal sale is even harder than the external one. The effect of more no’s than yeses can ultimately end up in failure and the knock-on effects from that, so