Fear costs us salespeople a lot of money. Fear is the reason we don’t pick up the phone to call our customer proactively when there is nothing urgent or terrible happening. Fear is the reason we gravitate to email instead of the telephone.

Fear is the reason we don’t tell our customers and prospects what else they can buy from us. Because right now, as you read this, your customers are buying things from the competition that they could buy from you. In fact, they’d probably like to buy it from you. That’s why they’ve been with you for so many years (or decades). And, of course, you would like to sell this to them. But none of that is possible because they don’t know. Because you don’t tell them regularly and consistently what else they can buy from you. Because of fear. Fear also is the reason we don’t ask for the business with every customer we talk to. Fear is why we don’t ask consistently for referrals. Or testimonials.

What are we afraid of exactly? Rejection, mostly. What if they say no to this additional product? (I might die immediately.) What if they reject me? (I might lose my home.) The parenthetical apocalypses are absurd, of course. But these fears happen in our minds too quickly, and so automatically, that we do not even know that we are experiencing them!

They happen too quickly and automatically to think through. So we go through our days avoiding those proactive communications listed above, which, if implemented, would make our customers happy. If we implemented the communications above, we would help our customers more, which is really all they want. We would have control over our sales, creating predictable, plannable revenue growth. And, most importantly, we would take home more money for ourselves and our families. But we don’t because we tend to not communicate proactively with our customers and prospects. Because of fear. But here’s the thing: Our customers and prospects also are afraid.


In fact, they are just as afraid as we are. Their fears are equally intense and important to them. But our customers and prospects are afraid of different things:  

  • They are afraid their suppliers will let them down and make them look bad to their customers. Because it has happened before. In fact, it happens all the time.
  • They are afraid that you will hurt them with their customers and they will be yelled at by their customer, or worse, lose their customer.
  • And while our greatest fear is rejection, their greatest fear is being fired. Because of you, the supplier.


So, just as we do everything we can to avoid rejection (not call customers proactively, not ask for the business, not tell customers about what else they can buy, etc.), our customers also do everything possible to avoid their greatest fears:

  • When there are problems or urgencies with our work or product, they call us to express their displeasure.
  • They make sure to let us know when they are unhappy or when their customers are unhappy so that we can fix the problem.
  • But unless there is a problem or urgency they don’t call us. They will rarely, or never, call us, for example, to tell us what a wonderful job we’ve done.
  • That’s because they are dealing with the problems with their other suppliers.
  • Don’t forget, they deal with many suppliers like us.
  • And because they are driven by fear, like us, their go through their day to mitigate, minimize and eliminate this fear.
  • And so, always remember that the customer is afraid, too.
  • It’s not different than understanding that the person you are considering asking on a date also is afraid. That thought tends to help teenagers get over their fears!
  • The customer is afraid, too.


So make the communications, even though you feel the fear. Make the calls. Ask for the business. Tell them what else they can buy. Help them. They deserve it. And they will thank you with their money.