It’s no secret that sales can be an incredibly challenging role and anxiety in sales is an unfortunate cost of doing business. Sales professionals regularly find themselves in situations where they feel like they’re battling against all odds.
It doesn’t matter how much time, effort and research you put into each pitch; there will always be some prospective clients who won’t be interested in what you have to offer. While this is a normal part of sales, it can make anyone question their own abilities as a salesperson.
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Many top performers in the field experience what’s commonly known as “sales anxiety” at some point. The good news is that it doesn’t have to hold you back from further success if you know how to manage these feelings effectively.
Overcoming sales anxiety doesn't have to be an impossible task. Here are nine tips you can use to eliminate your sales anxiety and close more deals.
Be honest about what is causing your sales anxiety
You may not realize it, but the feelings of anxiety you experience before a sales pitch may actually be coming from an entirely different place. Anxious feelings may be rooted in your own self-doubt, uncertainty or fear of failure.
If you’re not honest with yourself about where these feelings are coming from, you may try to address them in an ineffective way. If you have a clear idea of what’s really causing your anxiety in sales, you may be able to create a plan to address each of those particular feelings.
Once you have them under control, you’ll find that your sales anxiety is much easier to manage. If you’re not sure what’s causing the anxiety, it’s a good idea to do some self reflection.
Get quiet and try to put yourself back in the moment of your last pitch that ended badly.
- What were you feeling?
- What were you thinking?
- What were the other people in the room feeling?
Often, we get so wrapped up in our own thoughts that we don’t even notice what the other people in the room are experiencing. Once you’ve identified what’s causing your nervousness, you can work on discovering the best way to completely eliminate your sales anxiety.
Eliminate your sales anxiety by knowing your value and communicating it
Arguably the best way to overcome sales anxiety is by really knowing your value. The truth is, we all have value to offer our clients, but if you’re too focused on your own insecurities to express it, no one will ever know.
If you can learn to address your sales anxiety by reminding yourself of your value, then you’ll be able to present that to your clients with much more confidence.
If you’re not sure where to start, it can be helpful to think about times when your value was recognized in other areas of your life. Maybe you’ve received excellent reviews at work or you’ve been recognized for your volunteer work.
These are all areas where you’ve shown your value to others in the past, so why not apply that to your sales approach as well?
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Overcoming sales anxiety by building Confidence
Simply put, confidence in sales comes from knowing your product. If you don’t know what you’re selling inside and out, you’re going to struggle to convey confidence. You may feel like you’re faking it and your clients will likely be able to tell.
When you know your product like the back of your hand, you’ll also be able to address any questions your clients have about it with ease. If you’re struggling to feel confident in your product or you’re just not sure what you’re selling, it’s a good idea to go back to the drawing board.
Take the time to review the product or service that your company offers. Make sure you understand the benefits it offers and how it helps solve your clients’ problems. The more you know about your product, the more confidence you will demonstrate.
Set clear expectations before every meeting to get over sales anxiety
You never know what might come up during a sales meeting that could throw you off your game. If you don’t set clear expectations before every meeting, you may not be able to regain your focus.
This can be incredibly frustrating and can cause you to feel even more anxiety the next time you have a client meeting. To set clear expectations, ask and align with your client around the primary reasons for the meeting. Setting clear expectations around the agenda decreases sales anxiety.
You can also use that agenda as an opportunity to remind your client of your value proposition. If you’re ever thrown off course during the meeting, you can always refer back to the agenda. This helps you stay focused on the most important items and helps you regain your momentum after any unexpected distractions.
Find your comfort zone and embrace it
Some salespeople thrive when they’re always on the go and never in one place for too long. Others may feel more comfortable taking their time and getting to know prospective clients.
No matter what type of salesperson you are, you’ll need to find your comfort zone and embrace it. If you’re always pushing yourself to do things that don’t come naturally, you’ll never be able to perform at your best.
Once you’ve identified the aspects of your role that make you most comfortable, you can use them as a source of strength. For example, if you feel most comfortable taking your time getting to know prospective clients, you can use that as motivation to slow things down even more. You likely have a few different strategies that you can use to overcome sales anxiety.
One of the best ways to address it is to find ways to stay focused on your own strengths. If you’re too focused on overcoming your weaknesses, you’ll never be able to perform at your best. Once you’ve identified your strengths, use them as a source of motivation to keep fighting through your sales anxiety and closing more deals.
Commit to continuous learning and growth
Being a salesperson is a process of constant learning and growth. If you’re not actively trying to improve your skills and knowledge, you’ll find it incredibly difficult to stay on top of your game. This is even more important in times of high sales anxiety.
Find ways to actively take your mind off the challenges you’re experiencing. This could be something as simple as reading up on some new sales techniques, scheduling time to go out and network with people in your industry, participating in sales training, or even working to improve your emotional intelligence.
Regardless of what it is, make a conscious effort to spend time on continuous learning and growth throughout your career. This will help you to avoid getting too stuck in a rut when sales anxiety is particularly challenging.
Develop a Morning Ritual to overcome sales anxiety
Research has shown that changing up your morning routine can have a significant effect on how you feel about your day. By creating regular rhythms you can take much of the guesswork out of your day.
"Carrying out routine activities reduces stress by making the situation appear more controllable and predictable," says Dr. Indumathi Bendi, M.D. "Preparedness is a key way to prevent stress."
Additionally, it can help you to feel more confident when you’re going into meetings or pitching customers.
It’s worth spending time to come up with a morning ritual that works for you. It can be as simple as taking some deep breaths and visualizing yourself succeeding during the day, or writing down your top 3 accomplishments for the day.
A morning ritual can and will help you feel more prepared and confident when you’re engaging with potential customers. It also helps you to avoid spiraling into self-doubt and anxiety when the going gets tough.
Take Care of Yourself Physically and Mentally
One of the biggest contributors to sales anxiety is a lack of sleep. If you’re constantly getting by on a couple of hours of sleep per night, it’s going to be incredibly challenging to remain confident and focused throughout the day.
It’s worth considering visiting a doctor if you’re struggling with sleep, as there are a number of different things that may be impacting it. In the meantime, try to implement some healthier habits into your daily routine.
This could be as simple as turning your phone off a couple of hours before you go to sleep or reducing the amount of caffeine you consume during the day.
Additionally, avoid actively comparing yourself mentally to other salespeople. It’s easy to get wrapped up in how everyone else is performing, but this is a destructive habit.
There will always be people who perform better than you and people who perform worse than you. Instead of worrying about other people, it’s worth focusing your attention on yourself and your own performance.
Conquer Your Fear of Failure
While sales and anxiety seem to naturally go hand-in-hand, one of the main reasons people suffer such nervousness in sales is due to their overwhelming fear of failure.
Sales professionals are under a lot of pressure to consistently perform, and this can lead to worry – worry about losing the sale, not making the numbers, looking foolish in front of a potential customer, or just not living up to expectations.
On top of that, people tend to blame themselves wholeheartedly for failure instead of realizing there are often many external factors that come into play when something doesn't work out as expected.
No one is perfect. Even the best top producers experience setbacks, lost deals, and even make poor decisions from time to time.
When you can accept that occasional failure is a natural part of the growth process, and that learning from these setbacks will make you a more resilient sales professional, you will be on the path to reducing your sales anxiety. Focus on progress, not perfection.
No salesperson is going to win every single deal they go after. This is a normal part of the sales process, and it’s important to understand it. If you want to avoid becoming overly anxious during your sales career, it’s important to understand the difference between a lost deal and poor performance.
It’s normal for some deals to fall through the cracks, but if you’re pitching every single customer you come across, you’re likely putting too much pressure on yourself.
It’s important to remember that you are likely to go through ups and downs as a salesperson. You’re going to have times where you feel confident and prepared and times where you feel overwhelmed and unsure of yourself.
The most important thing is to stay focused on what you can control.