Social Anxiety?

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by Bunton Guy, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,762

    I have a bad case of social anxiety which dosent help my sales...I can't go door to door or just walk into a place of business I just freeze and blank out...I could have a planned speach but I will freeze...anyway does anybody fight with social anxiety? The main problem I can't figure out is I can sell like a mad man for my dads business (furniture repair) but when it comes to my own sales like I said I freeze up. This has been a problem for many years and I dont know how to go about attacking this problem. I have tried just going at it like there isnt a problem and going door to door to sell....with no results I think some of the anxiety with sales is that I have a hard time with rejection. I havent let this hurt my company so far so im not going to give up it just has made company growth slow. I have made most of my business from sending out fliers and solicitation letters and once the customer calls inquirying about my services I have no problem meeting with them and explaining my services.
     
  2. Mowing Freak

    Mowing Freak LawnSite Senior Member
    from S.E. Ks
    Posts: 459

    I don't have this problem but just an idea. Sell your mowing business to your dad for $1. It will then belong to somebody else then drum up business as usual as you won't feel the pressure but will reap the profits. After you get your customer base up, buy the business back from your dad for $1, maybe this will help!
     
  3. ipm

    ipm LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 264

    That is not uncommon, but if it is interfering with your daily business activities, then maybe you should take a check. You need to ask yourself what the difference between furniture and landscape sales are. The answer is 'you believe in furniture, but not landscaping/ maintenance'. I am by no means a doctor.

    Maybe you should try to find a comparison with the two different types of sales. I mean furniture repair is a service just like landscape maint. 2c
     
  4. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,762

    I learned alot about the repairing process...and when with a hotel manager explaining the services if there way something I didnt know...I would kindly tell them that "My father the owner of the company would be more than happy to answer this question for you here is his card and a time to reach him thank you for your time is there anything else I can help you with?" As far as my company..I cant tell them ask my father because I am the owner I have nobody to direct them to but myself.
     
  5. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,762

    I also tend to bump into the homeowners that think they know it all....and that is about the point when my head goes blank when they try to question my ways and tell me that it should be done another way or they dont aprove of my methods....At that point I am put on the spot to explain how my services are superior my products are superior and that my knowledge has led me to beleive that this way is the best and that I have what it takes to prove it. Being put on the spot like that is difficult for me I have read many books on sales and marketing also social anxiety books but havent found anything to help solve it. Maybe some tips from landscapers will help thanks guys.
     
  6. brucec32

    brucec32 LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,403

    I congratulate you on your ability to be honest about your problem, there are a lot of folks here who couldn't do that.

    You're probably more comfortable selling your dad's services because it's not "you" you're selling, so your ego isnt' as invested. I find myself bothered more now by the rare customer problem or criticism or even someone thinking I charge too much, than I was when I ran a company with 40 employees years back, dealing with crowds and got into more situations with customers in a day than I do now in a year. I figure it's because I just didn't take it personally if they were happy with things or not. It was just business. Back then, I had people yelling at me (often drunken partiers) and it didn't phase me. Now some old lady gets cranky about something and it frosts my butt. So it has something to do with it being more personal, I guess.

    I for one am pretty unconventional, and have a really hard time with the whole concept of "sales" anyway. When someone calls on me selling something, I almost always find it annoying rather than helpfull. In this day and age of computers and information, I rarely need someone to bring something to my attention that I NEED done.

    Yes, salesmanship is effective, but I prefer to use less personal means to describe my services, then let people call if they're interested and I can give them a pitch then. It's not that I hate rejection so much as I hate the idea of pestering people to get business,and I'm also not big on small talk. Most folks you run into aren't into discussing history, lawnmowers, politics, etc. I just think that overall, a lot of money and energy is wasted making sales calls (in all businesses) , but unless everybody else stops doing it, you may have to. I've done fine just placing some adds and using word of mouth. I could have triple the business if I accepted all types of work, but even being very picky and having a narrow niche, I still have as much work as I want. I hear getting commercial accounts is more price sensitive and does take more selling, though.

    I also don't enjoy sales calls as much because I also do most of the work involved, so "making a sale" means more work. Good, but psychologically, when you're already tired, it's not as "fun" as selling someone else's labor. A 'big sale" also means a lot more hard work, unlike selling a car or house, when your work pretty much ends after the sale.

    So, I got into this biz partly because it's something that doesn't require a lot of selling. If getting business was too tough, I think I'd pick something else to do. If I wanted to walk around making cold calls, I'd do it in a business that was more lucrative and socially rewarding, and wasn't as physically taxing.

    So, maybe your problem is your mind's way of telling you selling isn't your bag. Could you afford to find someone more sales oriented to hire? Maybe someone who could fill more than one hat, if you didn't need him full time at that?
     
  7. IBGreen

    IBGreen LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 726

    I have been through that, but now I can walk into anyplace and have a go at it. Almost anyplace.
     
  8. Bunton Guy

    Bunton Guy LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,762

    I had hired last season a lady who had 7 years of experience with sales for a landscape company bringing in over 15 Mill a year. She personally brought them 1.5 million a year in sales and was miss treated and parted ways...I picked her up as luck and she did jack **** for me. She landed up getting togather with one of my friends and spending every waking hour by his side at his shop.....never the less I was paying her for work that I had no clue wasent being done she never brough it a darn customer for me. Since then she then she has been tainted and hasent been able to hold a job ( I fired her on the spot) that was a $3,000 dollar mistake hiring her. Salary+ commision she was worth if IMO....but in the end I found it was all a bad bad mistake.I plan in teh future to hire someone to do the work I dont like doing (i.e office work & sales) just for now I must grow my company on my own in order to be able to afford those type of workers.
     
  9. kppurn

    kppurn LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 426

    In the beginning I had a lot of trouble with this. To this day I really can't say exactly what caused it, but things are better now. I had difficulty with everything. It didn't matter if I was walking into an office to sell my services or someone was calling me from an ad in the paper or a flyer. It was just really uncomfortable. I would "freeze", like you described. A lot of times I would have difficulty breathing. Add to that the pressure I was putting on myself to get over it (telling myself I would never be successful because I was too afraid to talk to people) and it was a mess. You look forward to the opportunity to land a new account but you're terrified to death because you know it's hard to talk when you can't breathe. LOL

    I was prescribed medication (gabitral or gabitril I think) and that helped to reduce the anxiety a lot. When I was more comfortable with selling myself and my services I made the decision to stop the medicine and I was OK without it. I think it had a lot to do with overall confidence but to be honest I don't know. Now I need to learn to keep it short and not talk so dang much. :)

    Sorry so long. Just wanted you to know you're not alone and things can and do get better.
     
  10. Ed Ryder

    Ed Ryder LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 541

    Bunton Guy,

    It was brave of you to expose this problem with your peers here. I know exactly how you feel. Because I had this same problem.

    Here's what I suggest:

    1. Enroll in the Dale Carnegie Course. This is expensive, but it's worth it. These classes have 45 to 50 people. Each week you take baby steps toward being a better public speaker. You learn memory techniques and ways of dealing with people. They will assign a graduate assistant to you who will help you through the course. It is the kind of thing where you do things that outside of your comfort zone. In the beginning you'll feel awkward and maybe a little silly. But at the end you will realize that progress was made.

    2. Step 2 is you come back to take the course again, but this time it's for free. And you will be a graduate assistant helping new class members. You'll be giving example "talks" in front of the class and you'll be responsible for 5 to 7 students. I did this and it really helped develop leadership ability within me. I made big progress at this phase.

    3. If you still feel deficient, go for the Dale Carnegie Sales Course. Man, that is powerful stuff.

    The people that go to the Dale Carnegie Courses are professional types who need help overcoming a fear of public speaking. Usually the companies they work for pay the bill. I believe the course lasts 15 weeks and years ago when I took it the cost was $1200.

    After this you can go for a Toastmasters club. This is much cheaper, and with these you continue to refine your public speaking ability.

    Maybe something like karate lessons might help too. There's a certain confidence that comes from having some dirty tricks and knowing you can probably take somebody out if you had to.

    Also, I wouldn't feel comfortable cold calling at someone's door either. It just isn't my style. If they are warm, that's fine. But completely cold - I just don't want to do it that way.

    So go pick up the phone book and check into visiting a Dale Carnegie class. They'll let you enjoy the first one for free.

    Click on this link: www.dalecarnegie.com

    Do it right now!:gunsfirin
     

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