If you’re in sales, you know how rewarding it can be. But if you’ve earned a big win, you’ve also felt some losses.
It’s no secret that sales is one of the most stressful careers you can pursue. Long hours, rejection, and a quota make it difficult to stay calm on the job. If you’re serious about your sales career, consider stress your biggest opponent.
You have more freedom and responsibility than other people, and stress will pop up in surprising ways to throw you off balance. It can ruin sleep, productivity, and even cost you deals.
For successful salespeople; staying calm under pressure isn’t an option, it’s part of the job. Here are 10 tools you can use to stay calm under pressure.
1. Know Yourself
“Tough times never last, but tough people do.” –Robert Schuller
Selling is exhausting. Forcing yourself to operate at a professional level nearly 24/7 takes a toll on anyone.
In fact, sales people are more likely to burnout due to their high stress and emotional environment.
So how do you respond under pressure?
Feeling anxious, ineffective, or burnt out is completely normal.But what’s important is acknowledging these emotions. Pay attention to the things you do in response to negative emotions. How do you try and distract yourself? It’s dangerous to repress how you feel, stress will build-up and erupt at the worst possible moment. So instead of ignoring your feelings...
Face them! Take a moment and think about how you feel. What’s causing you to feel this way? How is your body responding to your emotions?
The more you practice being aware of your feelings, the easier it will become to manage them, and your stress, in a natural way.
Give yourself 15 minutes at the end of the day to sit with your thoughts. No screens, work, or distractions. You’ll be amazed how much better you feel when you give yourself time to think about your day.
2. Listen Actively
“Most people think ‘selling’ is the same as ‘talking.’ But the most effective salespeople know that listening is the most important part of their job.” –Roy Bartell
Listening is great, but understanding is profitable. Sales conversations tend to take longer than they need to when one side is listening without actually understanding.
Active listening (mixed with a few probing questions) prevents misunderstanding and cures most sluggish, stressful, sales situations.
Salespeople, especially if they’ve been around the block a few times, tend to go on autopilot mode when listening to a prospect, acting like a robot rather than actively listening to what he has to say.
The salesperson is simply waiting for the signal, that’s when the individual stop talking, to start giving their pitch. This can be a drawback for the salesperson as he can miss some key points.
You may have heard it all before, but there’s always a new context to consider. Active listening sharpens your sales instincts and helps you avoid stressful missteps during sales conversations.
When the client has finished speaking, it is helpful to summarize their thoughts. By doing this, you show that you’ve been listening and have their best interests.
3. Be Realistic
“To build a long-term, successful enterprise, when you don’t close a sale, open a relationship.” – Patricia Fripp
Sales can be very ego-driven. Closing a big deal makes you feel like a champion, but losing one makes you feel like a failure. If you plan on making sales a long-term career, you need to avoid slipping into this cycle.
A healthy dose of reality will keep you grounded, humble, and hustling. Enjoying a win is one thing, but letting it get to your head can hurt future wins. Ditto for losses, you can’t afford to let a loss throw you off your game.
Controlling your ego isn’t easy, but with practice you’ll decrease how reactive you are to emotional situations. Practicing in everyday scenarios will prepare you for the real tests.
For instance, don’t make any assumptions about your buyers. Even if a lead is “qualified,” don’t act like they already signed the check.
Think of every conversation as an opportunity to grow your relationship with your client. Selling them a solution to their problem is a natural part of that. Taking yourself out of a one-sided sales mindset helps put sales interactions in perspective.
Building relationships will create better results than pitching blindly. You’ll never hit a home run every time, but your batting average will increase if you make each swing count. Staying grounded forces you to give each prospect your best, a win for everyone involved.
Think of the relationships you’ve built with your clients so far. What are their expectations? How can you over-deliver on your next interaction? Focus on the process instead of the outcome to improve both.
4. Always be Flexible
“Resilience is not what happens to you. It’s how you react to, respond to, and recover from what happens to you.” –Jeffrey Gitomer
You’re going to get thrown off balance every once in a while. Unpredictable situations are part of life, and they’ll derail your progress if you aren’t prepared for them.
Clients cancel meetings when you’re 10 miles away, contracts need to be renegotiated, and deals fall-through at the end of the quarter. Sales is an unpredictable game, you have to play smart to win.
Successful salespeople are always ready to adapt to new situations. By controlling as many variables as possible you’ll avoid the stress of surprise set-backs.
Transportation is one of the most unpredictable variables in your day. Traffic, car trouble, and poor route planning can create unexpected emergencies quickly. Avoid this by maintaining your vehicle and planning your trips with Badger.
You can also use Badger to see nearby accounts in the area. When meetings are cancelled last minute you can still be productive by following up on existing accounts or dropping in on leads.
In negotiation, consider multiple offers that will work for your buyer. You don’t have to present all of them at once, but you’ll have alternatives to fall back on if your first offer is refused.
Treat your objections, or any unexpected change, as simply a request for more information or more work. For example, if someone writes you off because they decided your offer is too expensive, show them value.
5. Be Organized
“Saying, ‘I don’t have time for a CRM.’ is like saying, ‘I don’t have time to look at my GPS because I am too busy trying to figure out the best way to get from here to there.” –Bobby Darnell
Sometimes it is simply the anticipation of work that causes stress. If you have a lot on your plate, It can be helpful to put your goals into a tangible form, like a list. If you take a moment to organize the chaos and compile your tasks, your work will seem less daunting.
This way, you will have an easier time prioritizing what you need to get done and you can avoid multitasking. Essentially, your life will become less stressful and your work will be enhanced. Another trick to stay especially organized is to use a mapping software application.
For example, Badger Maps allows you to compile your CRM information onto a map, and then provides you with route optimizations. With Badger, you are also prompted to log information about your client immediately after a meeting, so you can avoid procrastination.
Make of list of the variables in your life. What regular, everyday, situations do you find yourself in where things could go wrong and create stress for you? How can you prepare beforehand to avoid the negative effects?
6. Rely on your Network
“Humor can give you the edge you are looking for” –Jeffrey Gitomer
Who doesn’t need a good joke every once in a while? As you approach more difficult situations, you should create symbols and signs that are just between you and your network. These inside jokes will lighten the mood, and remove the stressful intensity of the situation.
Not only should you rely on your network for some comic relief, but also you should use them as a support system.
Try to seek help from your network; get insight about how other sales reps deal with similar issues to you. Don’t be afraid to admit you don’t know something, because chances are your network will have their own questions as well. Their advice will hopefully make you feel better. And also, building relationships with others will foster better work.
Whenever you have a spare moment, reach out to someone you haven’t connected with in a while. Taking this time to seek advice, bond over common issues, or just to joke around will be helpful.
7. Treat Each Client as an Individual
“It is not your customer’s job to remember you. It is your obligation and responsibility to make sure they don’t have the chance to forget you.” -Patricia Fripp
Sometimes sales interactions can make people seem robotic. Always remember that your clients are people – and everyone is different, so it’s important empathize and be able to put yourself in their shoes.
When you are dealing with an angry person, speak with an even tone. Remember this client is angry at the situation, not you. Make them feel like you are on their side by expressing sympathy and summarizing their points. And try to make them happy by giving them options, offering a refund, or compliment them.
Overall, these tactics will soothe the tension in these situations. And ultimately, you will feel better.
Learn and remember a few personal facts about each client. Referencing an anniversary or big trip will help you maintain rapport in your relationships.
Look for details to remember – not only will your client appreciate it, but you’ll stay engaged too.
8. Stay Positive
“There’s no lotion or potion that will make sales faster and easier for you – unless your potion is hard work.” –Jeffrey Gitomer
It’s easy to obsess over lost deals you almost won, but don’t fixate on failure. Instead, remember what went well and what you should improve next time. Your worst days aren’t so bad if you learn from them.
This mindset will help you close future deals too. Imagine all of the things that will go great, not what could go wrong. You’ll naturally focus on the things you can control instead of worrying about the things you can’t.
Your positivity should shine during client meetings. Show interest for your client’s problems and excitement for their potential solution. They’ll feel your excitement and be much more likely to buy.
If you believe that your solution is the best one for your buyer, your attitude will seem authentic. Stay honest. Integrity, ideas, and solutions sell themselves.
If you find yourself fixating on negative thoughts, stop what you’re doing. Take a quick break to get coffee, go on a walk, or listen to some music.
Giving yourself a chance to take a step back from the situation is key. You can examine your negative thoughts and make them positive more easily.
If you’re with a client, take a few deep breaths and try to remember this advice. Even if you’re upset or disappointed, try not to reveal these emotions. Your client will only appreciate your positivity.
9. Think Ahead
“In sales, every prospect is a potential customer.” -unknown
Putting all of your eggs in one basket is a surefire recipe for stress.
When you focus on your existing deals and forget about the rest of your pipeline, you’re forcing yourself to be reactive and focus all of your energy on stressful, last-minute prospecting later on.
Balance the time you spend between active deals and generating new ones. Keep your opportunities in the back of your mind, even when you don’t need any.
Essentially, creating this safety net will foster your work. You will be less likely to ambush your current prospects. With this back up line up of prospects, you will feel less pressure to close a deal immediately. Instead, you can take your time and be patient with these clients. And as a result, you can stay calm and confident.
“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not.” – Denis Waitley
Remember that you have your job for a reason. Remind yourself that you are good at what you do. As you already know, confidence is key to being a good salesperson. So even if your life feels messy one day, fake it until you make it.
The stress is normal, but remember that you can conquer it. When you feel overwhelmed, try to take a few moments to gain control of your emotions and empower yourself.
This confident attitude is important when you’re with a client – try not to seem nervous. If you fidget, touch your face, or look away, you will seem anxious and insecure.
Instead, stand up tall, widen your shoulders, and make sure your nose is pointed up. These mannerisms will communicate power. And if you convey this confidence, you are more likely to feel it.