Friday, April 4, 2014

Week Fourteen – the fear factor!

“What is the worst thing that can happen?” this is the question we should ask ourselves when we are facing our fears.


One of the most effective techniques of a sales person is to have the ability to approach a customer and sell them anything. This is what highly skilled sale people do, they approach the customer and they won’t let go until he or she walks out of the shop with something. If you have worked in a customer service environment you will know how difficult it is to deal with people, especially difficult customers. And often, inexperienced employees find it hard to approach someone and say, “would you like another drink sir?” In the hotel industry we train employees to up sell, this is how restaurants and hotels can make money and driven their profits. Every customer is an opportunity to up sell. And believe it or not, every times you have been up sold something you didn’t know it, you put it down to excellent customer service, attentive staff that really cared and looked after you! I am not saying they didn’t care but think about it, somewhere along the line you were up sold something.

Let me give you an example; you walk into a shop looking for a new outfit for your party and the assistant is very attentive. She pays you endless complements and everything you try she is advising you and guiding you, its almost as if you have your personal shopper with you. After trying several outfits, you chose the top and trousers and the shop assistant tells you “but guess what? That bag you see there would go amazing with the outfit!” You hang it on your shoulder and you look a million dollars! The cost may be slightly more than you wanted to spend, but the shop assistant says, “it looks amazing!” You walk out of the shop and tell your friends about the excellent customer service you’ve just had in that shop, not the fact that you were just up sold a handbag you didn’t need!

That shop assistant was not frightened to try and up sell what she could. And like her, other sales people who push insurance policies, mobile phones, an expensive bottle of wine or double-glazing, they are all trained to understand that the worst thing that can happen is that the customer says no. That’s it, nothing else, they are not going to get upset and accuse you of abuse or mistreatment, they are not going to report you to the manager or to the policy, in fact they may even complement you for your great attentive service after they say no. And a good sales technique is to turn the sale into good service and not just cash on the till.

This week I had the opportunity to take this idea out of a customer service environment and apply it to every day life, which prompted me to dedicate this week’s blog to such a simple premise that can help us achieve things that otherwise we may not do because of fear, fear of failure, embarrassment or ability in things we do. Believe me I have met people who have not done something and miss out through fear of failure, when the worst thing that could have happened was not all that bad.

As you know by now, my son wants to be a basketball player and we found a club in our area that he can practice with. This week was his second week playing and he was looking forward to going again. Whilst in the car I notice he was worried, nervous and he looked anxious, so I asked him what was wrong. At first he didn’t say much but eventually he opened up and confessed he was nervous. I asked him of what? What worried him as he had been there the previous week and knew what the practice was all about? He mentioned was worried about not being good enough to play with the other kids and that he may get it wrong or he may not be able to fit in. I think we all know what he was talking about; we’ve all been there, it is a hard as a kid trying to fit in, and at this point I wasn’t sure how to answer.

I began to throw at him a few words of encouragement, as you would, and he was not having any of it. I then looked at him and said “look go in, do your best and see how it goes, I mean, what’s the worst thing that can happen?” Silence. He looked at me and said, “they may laugh at me?” Ah! Fair point, I though, I needed to turn this around so I said “and if the laugh at you, what’s the worst thing that can happen?” he thought about this for a moment and then said, “I don’t know” Bingo! I knew at this point where to go with this, so I said to him “the worst thing that can happen is you don’t come back next week, right? Not ideal but not the end of the world, we will find another basketball club” he agreed and talked about the fact that if he didn’t fit in with this team we could find another, practice with someone else, but the worst thing that could happen was actually not as bad as he thought; he fear was gone. He went in, I guess with this in mind, and did a great practice session, enjoying being part of the team.

You can apply this to all aspects of life. Of course, not always “the worst thing that can happen” may be that simple, but in general it can help you overcome your fears. Often people will not ask someone out on a date because of fear of being rejected, but hey, the worst thing that can happen is that they say no (try not to embarrassed yourself by asking in front of a crowed!) and you move on (albeit with a broken heart!) but if you don’t ask, you never know if that person may also be attracted to you and you could miss out on your soul mate! Ask your boss for a pay rise, worst thing that can happen? They say no. Jump out of an airplane, worst thing that can happen? You die! (Only kidding) As I said, you can apply this to most things in life, of course like any other theory, if you stretch it too far it breaks, so yes, if you bungee jump the worst thing that can happen is that the rope brakes and you can die, so here you also have to apply the principles of probabilities which takes the conversation to a different dimension!

I called this blog “the fear factor” because believe it or not, I have audition for the X-Factor! And I only did it because I always wanted to do it and I thought, “I’m going to enter my name, what is the worst thing that can happen? That they say no” and at least I can now say I’ve done it and will not be on my list of things I regret not doing! My point is that often we don’t do something for fear, which will result in us regretting it for the rest of our lives, but by understanding what is the worst thing that can happen, we can accomplish so much more fulfilling our lives with rich and unique experiences and you never know, you may be the next winner of the X-Factor!

No comments:

Post a Comment