Failing all the way to the bankArticle added by Steve Lewit on December 6, 2013

Steve Lewit

Buffalo Grove, IL

Joined: February 27, 2008

My Company

United Advisors

What is your worst fear when you enter into your selling process? Most professionals whom I talk to give me the same answer: losing the sale (better known as the fear of failure.)

While there are always other fears during a sales call, (e.g. not being liked; not appearing smart enough; not being able to communicate well enough, etc.), the fear of losing sales, of failing, seems to have a solid hold on the emotions of most selling professionals before, during and after the sales call.

While the fear of losing the sale is the number one fear, what I have discovered is that it is also the number one cause of most lost sales. In other words, we fail because we fear failure — a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In my world, I fail all the way to the bank. Let me show you how.

One of the core rules I adhere to is that the world works in reverse, that what we think we should do in order to excel is counterintuitive, and what we really should do to excel is exactly the opposite of what we think we should do.

So, to protect ourselves from the fear of failure, of losing the sale, we intuit that we need to get better at learning the skills of selling — finding the hot buttons, better answering objections, acquiring better closing skills, and so on. We try to eliminate our fear by eradicating it via higher levels of selling skills. What we find, however, is that trying to eradicate fear actually makes it worse. It’s like the fear fights back every time we try and eliminate it.

Instead of trying to eliminate failure, I actually try to fail. Instead of using old school selling methods to make a sale, I use a new science of selling: trying to not make a sale. I actually embrace the fear and jump into it, hook, line and sinker.

Trying to fail in selling means that instead of trying to pull your prospects towards your ultimate goal of closing the sale (old school methodology), you do the opposite; you try all the time to get your client not to buy. In short, you build failure into the formula and then try and make it happen.

Interestingly enough, by actually trying not to make sales, by reversing the psychology of what your prospect expects from you, by pushing your client away, by showing absolutely no need for business, by appearing financially independent and willing to walk away from the sale, by doing everything that is counterintuitive to what you think you should do, your fear of failure evaporates.


When it comes to selling, I try to fail every day. And some days, I don’t make sales. However, I don’t see these lost sales as failures now, because I fail on my own terms. To me, that’s a success, and so it is that I fail all the way to the bank.

See also:

The psychology of sales success

Sales success: It’s all in your head

9 cognitive biases that impede your sales — and how to overcome them

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