There is a big stereotype out there that links selling and the art of sales to self confidence. If I am confident, then I will sell.

Why is that? Is confidence and selling web solutions really linked?

Kind of.

A key factor in whether someone buys from you or not originates from perceived risk. If I give you $5,000 for a website project, will you actually deliver on what you have promised? If I don’t believe that you will deliver, then I am not going to take out my checkbook.

I don’t want to buy your confidence…that doesn’t add any value to my business. But I do want to buy a safe investment. If you lack confidence in what you are selling, then inherently I will perceive whatever you are offering to be risky.

Just Turn On Your Charm

It’s also hard to just “be more confident” without sounding like a complete schmuck. Common sense would urge that the more confident you are, the more deals you’ll close. But, that also doesn’t really work as I’m sure we’ve all been oversold before.

What I found that worked for me is a little closer to a Goldilocks approach: not too much, not too little.

I call this being authentic. Or just being yourself.

In other words, stop trying to think about self confidence and start focusing on what really matters: your customer.

Get Out of the Spotlight

Instead of going into your next opportunity thinking about how you are going to sell yourself, spend that time focusing on your customer. If you are going in for an hour long introductory meeting, then you should spend an hour researching your prospective customer’s business.

Develop a list of questions that you would like to ask your customer. Instead of thinking about pitching at all, make the entire first interaction dedicated to learning about them.

Here are some questions that I lead with:

“Hi [client name], I’d love for you to tell me in your own words what you do here at [company name]?”

“That is really cool. How did you get involved in this?”

“Where do you see your business in 5 years?”

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

“Have you ever hired a web professional before? How did it go?”

“What are your expectations for your online business?”

“Based on my research, it looks like your top online competitors are [company 1], [company 2], and [company 3], is that accurate?”

My goal is to make most interactions with prospective customers all about them. The less I talk, the more of the right confidence I have: the authentic, Goldilocks kind.

If you are suffering from confidence issues during your sales process, then stop thinking about selling. Spend your time learning about your prospective customer and your confidence might just make a guest appearance.