How to Overcome Anxiety During a Sales Call

October 3, 2014 Scott Lombardi

how to overcome anxiety during a sales callAnxiety during a sales call isn't an uncommon occurrence, even for the greatest sales people in the business-keep that in mind, because acknowledging that fact goes a long way in overcoming that same anxiety. There are any number of factors that are inherently stressful in a sales call, so it's inevitable that some of them will occasionally slip over the line from 'useful stress' to 'harmful stress' and require a bit of work. The stress of making a call, the stress of trying to gauge reactions without facial expressions, the stress of an unexpected question or comment throwing you off your process, etc., etc. Fortunately, most forms of sales call stress share solutions. In this article, we'll discuss four of those solutions, so you can stop fretting over that next sales call and start selling big.

Practice. 

Above all else, you can improve your attitude heading into a sales call by practicing. The more practice you have, the less any given sales call can stress you out. If you've gone through the motions of a thousand different variations of your basic sales call process, including bad situations and atypical swerves, then there's nothing to be anxious about. It all becomes rote, or at least rote enough that you can keep yourself from getting too anxious. Roleplaying's a great way to get practice time in with zero stress, and it prepares your mentally for anxiety-free calling, but you can also get your practice with actual calls-just know that you might be burning valuable prospects in the process.

Cool Down Time. 

Cooling down between one sales call and the next, especially when one goes bad, is incredibly important. It may only be a cool down period of a minute or two, but you need to reset your anxiety between calls or it will build up until you hit a wall-and once you've hit the wall of anxiety once, it will become easier to do it in the future. You need to find your perfect 'detox' activity, whether that's sitting at your desk checking your schedule, going for a walk to the water cooler, playing a quick game of solitaire, etc. Sometimes you're on a real roll, and don't feel like taking a break-that's fine, just be aware of your limits and take the breaks WHEN YOU NEED THEM.

Preparation.

The more prepared you are for talking to a particular customer, the less anxious you'll be during the sales call. That's why cold calls are so mentally demanding-it's harder to do good prep when your company's never reached out to the prospect before. But even cold calling, you can learn a lot about a prospect and head into a sales call with an abundance of information. Prep work isn't just a good way to overcome sales call anxiety, mind-it's a great way to improve your closure rate. Even a tiny investment in prep time can have a major impact on your performance, so prep prep prep!

Control Rituals. 

There's a fine line between 'focus' and 'anxiety' that the best sales people learn to sit astride every day. You've probably felt it as a mental or even physical sensation of being 'in the zone', much like a professional athlete who can do no wrong on the field. And like those athletes, the secret lay in ritual. You need to figure out how you feel in that moment, and practice entering it with some sort of trigger. Maybe it's something as mundane as sitting down at your desk, or a quick silent prayer, or organizing your pens from largest to smallest. The point is the repetition-you establish a psychological link between an activity and a state of mind, and your body learns it like Pavlov's dog's salivating at a bell. The trick's in always aiming for that state ANY TIME you do the ritual-half measures won't cut it!

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