Sales Is A Confidence Sport

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If you’re reading this, you’ve probably made an outbound sales call. You’ve probably made thousands. Stop and think for a second just how many things about this take guts – it takes sales confidence. Calling a stranger not expecting your call and essentially asking them for money. Betting a chunk of your family’s income on your abilities. Try to pretend you’ve never done it before. Can you remember your initial hesitance? The questions you had? The doubts and fears?

This is how our new hires and yet-to-be-hired people feel. We forget that sometimes. This is scary stuff.

It takes confidence in yourself, your ability to connect, to think on your feet, to pull the right phrase, the right answer, the right joke.

Not all of us are born with this kind of confidence – the deep knowing, the foundation, the deep belief in one’s own abilities. And many of those people are in sales.

How do we do it? With another word called bravery. Bravery isn’t the same as confidence.

bravery inside sales

I describe bravery to my kids as feeling scared and doing it anyway. “I know the hallway is dark honey. I know you feel scared. That’s why they call it being brave. It wouldn’t be bravery if you weren’t scared. You’ll be ok.” Bravery is suiting up! Putting on the superhero cape and facing the bad guys.

We know this as “fake it till you make it.”

I grew up in a very unstable home life. We moved so much that every 2 years was a new school for me.

New girl.
New school.
New classroom.
New teacher.
22 pairs of eyes turn and stare at the new girl.
So I guess I know something about bravery.

I think that is why I’m drawn to sales. We push bravery in sales. Bravery is being a little terrified they’ll hang up or say no and doing it anyway. But confidence is being absolutely sure they shouldn’t. Really knowing and believing the value of my product and service, plus the value of me.

Which do you think sounds better on the phone? Confidence or bravery?

Confidence. Sure! Confidence is what sells. It’s what permits the deeper questions, the customer education, and the ability to challenge. It makes the extra dials, keeps customers on the phone, and overcomes objections. Confidence asks for referrals. And then does it again. And again. For years.

Confidence doesn’t burn out after a year and a half. (the average lifespan of an inside sales rep). But bravery sure does. There are only so many days we can put on that cape and that mask and pick up that phone. Suit up. Dial. Ask.

New girl. New school. New classroom. New teacher. 22 pairs of eyes…

Bravery is not a recipe for long-term success. And I assert that our sport of sales can benefit from going beyond bravery…to confidence.

But there’s a step between bravery and confidence and it’s called courage.

Courage isn’t “fake it till you make it”. Courage is the “making it”. And to make it, we have to go through the fear. Not over the fear, not around the fear, through the fear. We have to stand in it.


And it’s terrifying.

courage bravery confidence inside sales

Courage is facing your fears. Naming them and then tackling them with an open mind and heart. It’s being vulnerable, being honest, and being open. It’s considering the rejection, the loss, or the humiliation and being OK with it and being you – a stronger you – on the other side. It’s letting others in to see.

It’s standing in the darkness. Until you are not scared anymore.

Like many, I have buckets of bravery, but not nearly enough confidence. And two things dawned on me recently:

  1. Admitting this out loud and actively learning about confidence and how we get it, how we lose it, how we can grow it is my path. It’s what I do – I find things that are hard to do, where we have a gap in public knowledge or ability, and I figure out a way to teach it. It’s my path to learn this, to share this, to teach this.
  2. I started 10+ years ago and didn’t know it. The reason Factor 8 is the most referred sales training company in the world isn’t just because of our curriculum. It’s our model. When we get on the phones and do what we teach, we’re not just applying skills, we’re growing confidence.

We’re asking a room full of strangers to pick up the phone and try something they learned 20 minutes ago. And we do it, together. And our facilitators stand with them in the dark. We listen, we encourage, we coach. We show everyone in the room that it’s OK to fail, it’s fun to mess up, and they don’t have to be perfect. In fact, we REWARD imperfection and risk-taking and we shine a little light into the dark room of courage. And you’ll never guess what comes out on the other side…


We’re in the business of teaching sales confidence. Our loyal clients and students probably already knew this. It feels like such a big revelation that it’s almost silly it took me ten years to figure it out. But now that I’m here? I’m immensely proud. I’ve always been proud of our model, our results, and the feedback we get that we change lives. But now I see how aligned Factor 8 is with my own path, my personal passions – and fears, and I’ve fallen in love with this little company all over again.

My challenge to you: Ask yourself if you’re pushing bravery at work or instilling confidence. Remember that bravery burns out and confidence is what sells. If you can help your teams grow the confidence, you’ll grow your results, you’ll keep your team longer, and you’ll all grow as humans. And isn’t that what it’s really all about?

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