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Phil Knight, the visionary behind Nike, didn’t just succeed because of the quality of his running shoes; his unshakable belief in their value truly set him apart. Instead of relying on traditional retail outlets, Phil loaded his car with shoes. He embarked on a journey to track meets, conversations with runners, coaches, and fans—essentially, anyone who would listen about his shoes. The result? Orders poured in faster than he could process them. But what made Phil’s approach stand out compared to his earlier roles as an encyclopedia and mutual fund salesman?

The answer dawned on him during one of his drives back to Portland: belief. Phil had an unswerving faith in the power of running, firmly believing that it could improve people’s lives. Most importantly, he was convinced his shoes were the best for running. This belief was so palpable that others wanted it for themselves. To quote Phil Knight, “Belief, I decided, is irresistible.”

Now, how does this relate to you? We’ve extensively discussed the sales process, but there are three critical phases: before the conversation, during it, and at the moment of truth—the point of decision. Among these, the first phase is often considered the most crucial, even surpassing the importance of the actual sales conversation. It’s the initial sale, but not to a customer; it’s a sale to yourself.

Take a moment to evaluate your own beliefs about your product or service. What’s your mindset? The sale in the heart of a salesperson significantly influences the sales conversation that follows. Do you genuinely believe what you’re offering is the best for your customers and your company?

During a sales conversation, do you see yourself as a helper or someone pushing a product? Are you a provider of value or just another features and benefits presenter? Remember, customers buy stories, not just features and benefits. How compelling are your success stories about how your customers have benefited from your product or service?

People don’t buy products and services; they buy confidence. How confident are you in the value you’re providing? Do you ever say, “I know you won’t choose this one, but I have to show it anyway”? Or are you convinced you have a genuine solution at a fair price to solve your customers’ problems?

In those moments when a customer pushes back on price, do you hesitate, equivocate, or confidently stand your ground? Confidence is key. Sales ultimately boil down to a transfer of confidence. Customers can spot a non-confident salesperson from a mile away, and it’s not just the words—it’s the body language, the apologies, the rush to offer discounts.

So, how can you channel your inner Phil Knight? Remember, belief is irresistible. Convey confidence in your company’s reputation, the top-quality products you provide, the excellence of your services, and the thousands of satisfied customers you’ve served.

Your ability to display confidence can make all the difference. So, as you embark on your next sales journey, remember Phil Knight’s lesson: belief is genuinely irresistible.