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How to Overcome Fear and Harness Belief in Sales: Insights from Best Selling Book "The Four Pillars of Sales"

Updated: 24 hours ago


I’ve spent a considerable portion of my life in sales, facing countless challenges that initially seemed insurmountable. From my humble beginnings fresh out of the Marine Corps to becoming an accomplished salesman, my journey has been profoundly shaped by the beliefs I held, both about myself and the world of sales. Drawing from Gerry Savage’s insightful chapter on beliefs in his book, "The Four Pillars of Sales," I want to share how these beliefs have not only dictated my actions but also helped me navigate through fears and uncertainties.

Early Challenges in Sales

Facing Fear and Doubt

I vividly remember my early days, right after leaving the military, when I started working at my father’s orthopedic distributorship. Back then, business was scarce in New Hampshire and Vermont, but I did what I could to get involved in occasional trauma cases.

My most distinct memory is driving to a doctor’s office in Keene, New Hampshire. Despite making it all the way there, fear paralyzed me, and I couldn’t bring myself to step out of the car. At 24, facing seasoned surgeons who seemed like demigods was daunting. I felt utterly unprepared to discuss something as complex as joint replacements, having only observed a few surgeries.

The Paralysis of Call Reluctance

This incident was a classic case of "Call Reluctance" — a term that perfectly encapsulates the dread of reaching out to potential clients. My reluctance wasn’t rooted in a lack of faith in the product or the fear of rejection by others, but in a profound disbelief in my own abilities.

Turning Point: Embracing Personal Power

Influence of Tony Robbins

A turning point came when I stumbled upon Tony Robbins' "Personal Power" program. Robbins taught me that inaction is often due to associating more pain with action than pleasure. This perspective was transformative. For instance, a smoker derives immediate pleasure from smoking, disregarding long-term health risks — a similar mechanism was at play with my sales calls. I focused more on the potential negatives than the positives of successful engagement.

Building Self-Belief

Emboldened by these lessons, I started to believe in my capability to succeed in sales truly. I realized that the root of success in any field lies in the conviction that you can achieve your goals. This belief doesn’t just influence your actions; it can empower you to overcome significant fears and challenges.

Reframing Beliefs: The Core of Sales Success

The Power of Positive Beliefs

Beliefs are powerful. They can make us act in fear or propel us forward. For instance, believing that "people are generally good" can lead us to approach interactions with openness and trust. In contrast, a belief rooted in suspicion, like "caveat emptor" (let the buyer beware), can make us guarded and skeptical, especially in transactions.

Childhood Events Shaping Beliefs

A childhood incident that profoundly shaped my beliefs was a near-drowning experience when I was four years old. I was left momentarily unattended with older kids at a family friend's pool. When they left the pool, I tried to follow, but my inner tube flipped, and I found myself submerged, unable to reach the surface. Panic set in as the water over my head blurred my vision and muffled my cries. Just as I felt the most helpless, my mother, sensing something was amiss, called out my name from a distance. Her instincts led her to the pool, where she found me struggling, and she immediately pulled me to safety. This terrifying moment has left a lasting imprint, instilling a deep caution around water that still persists, influencing how I supervise children near water despite being a proficient swimmer now. This event underscores how deep-seated beliefs, whether accurate reflections of reality or not, shape our perceptions and actions significantly.

Harnessing Belief in Professional Life

Belief in Selling

In sales, the belief in the value of your product and your role as a salesperson is crucial. When I finally embraced the belief that I was not just selling but genuinely helping people by offering valuable solutions, my approach to sales transformed. I began to see myself as a facilitator rather than just a salesman.

Overcoming Negative Perceptions

The stigma around selling can be daunting. Many perceive salespeople as inherently dishonest or manipulative, and this negative image can be a significant barrier. However, changing this perception starts with oneself. If you believe in your actions' honesty, integrity, and value, it reflects in your interactions and can significantly alter how potential clients perceive you.

Lessons from Sterling Boyington

Mastery of Simplicity and Belief

Sterling Boyington, a seasoned car salesman I worked with in the mid-1980s, exemplified how simplicity and belief in one’s abilities and product can lead to success. Operating with a philosophy that "It’s not the deal you get, but the deal you think you get," Sterling consistently outsold his colleagues. He believed deeply in his ability to help customers and never let the fear of rejection or negative opinions hold him back. He was a small man, standing just 5'7" and weighing 150 pounds, but his presence was large. His approach to selling was straightforward, and he believed that selling was as simple as presenting a product you believe in at a fair price. Sterling's career trajectory, from a top salesman to a successful owner of a used car business, highlighted his effective and genuine approach to sales.


Embracing the Belief in Your Product and Yourself

As I reflect on my sales career and the insights from my sales career,r it’s clear that the beliefs we hold are fundamental to our success. By aligning our beliefs with our actions, we not only improve our professional outcomes but also find personal fulfillment.

Writing the Next Chapters

Remember, your life is your story, and you are its author. What you believe shapes the narrative of your life, and you have the power to write the next scene. Keep believing, keep striving, and let your beliefs lead you to the success you deserve.

Reach out to Gerry Savage and The Four Pillars Consulting Group

If you want a coach who understands what sales and leadership are really like, someone who has experience in the trenches, please feel free to reach out. My one—and two-day seminars and individual coaching will empower you or your team and provide lasting insight that will last beyond a classroom experience.

By Gerry Savage

Cell: (717) 514-1523

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