How to Overcome a Fear of Sales to Succeed in Business

How to Overcome a Fear of Sales to Succeed in Business

There’s no escaping it. Sales are a necessary part of every business. After all, the very act of running a business requires goods or services to be sold in order to generate revenue and profit.

Some people embrace the buzz of selling and positively thrive on closing deals. Others shy away in horror. Why? What is it about selling that wields such an emotional response?

“The fear comes from focusing on the word ‘sell’,” says Sharon Cawley from Conexus Tuition, a Warrington-based educational programme.

“It’s all about linguistics. When we focus on the term ‘sales’ we become very British and awkward. If you re-assess that word and change it to educate, or inform, it shifts what you are doing.”

Image: Sharon Cawley speaking at UBC's Rutherford House, Warrington.

Sharon founded Conexus Tuition in 2013 after spending nearly two decades as an English teacher. In 2013 a series of life-changing events led to Sharon leaving her teaching position and setting up her own one-to-one tuition service for GCSE English pupils, which was the early foundation of Conexus Tuition.

Turning fear on its head

As a new business owner with very little entrepreneurial knowledge or experience, she found that she had to overcome her own fear of sales in order to progress her business.

Sharon spoke about her experiences and the reason behind her fear of sales during a business seminar at UBC’s Rutherford House in Warrington, where Conexus Tuition is now based.

“When I was a child my mother was constantly selling. She sold everything! Car boots, garage sales, you name it, she sold it. I felt mortified when she was haggling, I hated it.

“When I first started in business, that fear came back. I hated talking about money and price - it was very awkward because I always had this mental image of selling junk.”

The mind shift for Sharon came when she recognised the value of her product. She knew that she could improve a child’s grades and she was able to explain the process behind it.

“I know the worth of what we do and I always price fairly. It’s not about selling - it’s about exposing people to what we do. And because it’s so good, people sell it for us. We have trailblazers, people who spread the word because they’re happy about what we have done for them.”

Sharon was able to let go of the mental images of “selling junk” and overcome her fear of sales by appreciating the worth of her service and standing proudly behind it.

To accomplish this, Sharon recommends four steps:

  1. Become the authority: Master your product or service to the point where nobody can touch you on it. Become the authority on what you are doing.
  2. Price fairly. You can become an authority on anything, but if you’re eye-wateringly expensive, you will only be able to attract a small minority of buyers.
  3. Know your buyers. Take your business to the heart of the community you’re selling to. Understand what they need and finetune your product or service accordingly.
  4. Encourage trailblazers. Stay in touch with people who have bought your service. These are the people who understand your product, value its worth, and will champion it for you.

“When you’re in conversation with a potential buyer, really focus on the outcome - not the sale. Think about how that person’s life or career is going to be improved with the help of your product. That’s the enthusiasm - it’s your motivation behind the sale.”

Conexus Tuition is now a successful ‘business in a box’ franchise that provides exam-focused educational programmes across the North West and the Midlands. Sharon has grown the business from the ground up, and now manages a team of people at UBC’s Rutherford House in Birchwood, Warrington. She is living proof that a mind-over-matter approach really does work.

“When I’m talking to people about the franchise, I know that I’m going to give them a lifestyle that they are going to love. You can’t put a price on that, and I know that the impact it will have is priceless. It’s not fear anymore - it’s my motivation.”

Learn more about Sharon and Conexus Tuition at