By Dan St. Yves

Nothing does more to paralyze a potentially great salesperson than fear.

Well, maybe getting pinned under an asteroid, but that’s pretty rare compared to the many fears that can stand in the way of success in a sales career.

There are many common fears – fear of rejection, fear of closing, fear of sharks and fear of getting pinned under an asteroid in shallow, shark-filled waters. I won’t focus here on any of those, as there are literally thousands of motivational speakers and TED Talks to help people get past the most common of fears.

How about instead we introduce a few new ones to paralyze you? And for the record, I’m not making any of these up!

Odontophobia – fear of teeth.

Imagine you’re just about done negotiating a sale and the listing agent suddenly starts grinning like a maniac. Despite humming to yourself and closing your eyes, you can tell his big shiny teeth are practically glowing in the dark. Why you’re both in the dark is beside the point, but you may have to walk away before you succumb to this fear. Try wrapping this offer up over the phone, or by fax.

Trichophobia – fear of hair.

Sure, you’ve started to get a little testy over that hereditary male pattern balding kicking in earnestly on your noggin, but so far, you’ve been able to control your jealousy over the other agent’s retro Bay City Roller hairdo. However, when the lush and shiny follicles seem to be waving at you from behind his left ear, you may have to excuse yourself. See if your partner can negotiate the offer in your absence.

Graphophobia – fear of writing.

How you were even able to scribble together an offer is commendable, but here you are – an offer is written and you’re ready to present. As long as the offer is accepted as is, you won’t have to further adapt to overcome your Tropophobia concerns (fear of making changes).

Triskaidekaphobia – fear of the number 13.

You shouldn’t have too many worries over this fear, unless the list or offer price is $131,313.13.

Technophobia – fear of technology.

As long as you have access to a rotary dial phone, a Gestetner copier and a Model A Ford, this fear should not paralyze you one iota. Say, is “iota” a technological term?

Decidophobia – fear of making decisions.

Should you prospect this week? Take some time to make sure all the conditions are on time for removal to firm up that recent sale? Do you need to wear a red tie or a blue tie with that plaid jacket? Why can’t an asteroid come along to pin you down and remove all these dang, urgent decisions?

Meteorophobia – fear of meteors.

While technically not an asteroid, this may be the closest fear I could find to getting pinned under. Unlikely to debilitate you regarding your day-to-day fear inventory for your sales career.

Acrophobia – fear of heights, air, high places.

Easily placated fear, this one. Don’t take listing appointments with Tarzan, breathe frequently and sell your trapeze on Kijiji.

Eremophobia – fear of being alone.

Again, this fear is easily overcome. Simply do not schedule open houses during July and August long weekends, or during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Finally, maniaphobia – fear of insanity.

This fear is arguably the easiest to overcome. Simply stop reading this column and follow the proper advice given by most others on this website.


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