To Boost Sales, First Boost Confidence

By Heather Baldwin

Boxer Muhammad Ali had it right. Before every fight, in addition to training his body, Ali trained his mind through repetition of the mantra: I am the greatest! And, guess what? He was the greatest. You know what else? You can apply his technique – building confidence and training your subconscious to win – to sales. "To sell yourself successfully, absolute confidence in yourself is a must! Confidence, in turn, breeds courage," says Debbie Allen, founder of Debbie Allen & Associates ( and author of Skyrocketing Sales! (Dearborn, 2005), which is due out in December 2005. Allen says sales reps should take the following things to boost their confidence – and their sales.

1. Ditch your negative friends. Negative people are a huge drain on your emotions. When you’re around people who whine, gossip and blame, you’ll find yourself feeling less confident, more tired and more defeated. So avoid those people! Instead, surround yourself with people who are positive thinkers, those who view problems as opportunities and those who can support your goals and dreams wholeheartedly and help you achieve them. Negative people want to pull you down and hold you there with them; positive people will pull you up and support your success. When you choose carefully the people with whom you surround yourself, you’ll reap huge benefits in confidence and outlook.

2. Feed your subconscious. Did you know you can change your destiny simply by changing your thoughts? It’s true. When we allow ourselves to think negative thoughts – I can’t seem to get out of this slump, or I’m not good at presenting – our subconscious minds start believing these things and following those directions, thereby sabotaging our success without us realizing what’s happening. The flip side is that when we convince our subconscious minds we can do anything and that any goal is achievable, it suddenly becomes true. So from now on, when you find yourself thinking something negative about your abilities, stop yourself and think about the positive: I have all the skills, knowledge and support I need to make this sale. Or: I am going to captivate my audience from the beginning of this presentation. Furthermore, before you go to bed each night feed your subconscious with positive affirmations. You’ll be amazed how great the following day will be.

3. Set some big, crazy goals. Write out specific goals that stretch yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of doing. This does two things. First, it focuses you on achieving those goals and, second, it instills more positive messages in your subconscious that will help pave your way to success. "It’s good to set big, crazy goals that stretch you," says Allen. "All successful people were crazy at some point in their careers. Give yourself permission to create some crazy and even unrealistic goals."