The five of us here at Xtra Effort speak to several thousand sales professionals each month (including Sales Engineers and Professional Services personnel).
After thirteen years and several thousand encounters we have discovered that confidence is the #1 correlation between candidates who are advanced through the interview process and demonstrate a track record of exceptional earnings history. Intelligence, manners, professionalism, skills, and experience are also important; but not as dominant as confidence.
This blog post is about:
1) How to recognize (or inversely, exhibit) confidence
2) How to build recognize
How to recognize confidence
First, what confidence is NOT:
1) Looking people eye when talking with them
2) Talking about achievements
3) Bold behavior
These attributes are by products of genuine confidence, but not its core. We speak with many people who demonstrate these behaviors but nonetheless give off a “vibe” (or explicit actions) of uncertainty, distrust/fear, directionless, excessive bravado, lack of accountability and self-awareness, narcissism, or too much dependence on others for actions and reassurance.
GENUINE Confidence is having rock solid BELIEF:
1) In your capabilities, and where and why they support your goals and objectives (and where they DO NOT)
2) In the relevance of your experience to a conversation’s topic
3) In the positive intentions of those whom you are speaking with
4) In the positive intentions of yourself
5) In the direction you have set out for yourself, including “life” as a broad arc, career, family, social activities, personal pursuits, and friends
6) In the quality of your relationships. Having deep faith that you have a sufficient # of family, friends, and professional acquaintances who “Have your back”
We have all met professionals who have reached success as defined by title and W2, etc., but are also easy to be around, at ease, not too verbose, and demonstrate expectations that are lofty but achievable. We want to support them, expect them to have continued success, and want to be part of their present and future.
This solid belief helps quiet the mind and soul, and provides for confident self talk when by yourself. You can then “be yourself” when talking with others, because you are not required to switch from a quiet internal train wreck to having composed discourse with your clients, peers, subordinates, and boss.
The bad news is that this belief system is not a quick fix and cannot be quickly developed.
The good news is that is not complicated, it just requires time and honesty.
Time is required to reflect on and appreciate your accomplishments, quality relationships, aspirations, and intentions. Writing them down often adds weight, credibility, and color to your self-concept and beliefs. The more rich in color and sturdy in weight, the deeper your GENUINE confidence will become. An investment in reflection will also create for yourself a road map as to where and how to improve.
Honesty is required to assess and admit what you are not good at, who does not have your back, and where your motivations are not your own or not worthwhile. Don’t feel bad about what you discover. Throw the bad stuff away; and keep, cherish, and grow the good.
This exercise will enable you to unconsciously and consciously put your self in situations (careers, relationships, activities, etc.) where you more naturally have a quiet mind and solid alignment (what, why, how, and who) with your aspirations. The result is more success and genuine confidence.