Nobody likes failing. Just ask any salesperson what their greatest fear on the job is; they’ll usually respond with the fear of rejection. Despite being offered the best prices on the best products, clients will still find a reason to say ‘No.’ It’s not personal, it’s business.
And yet, sales anxiety persists – and it affects everybody no matter where they are on the totem pole. But is sales anxiety the main cause of diminishing sales success?
Unfortunately, sales anxiety is often a self-fulfilling prophecy that strips individuals of a proper sales mindset. The more negatively a salesperson thinks about their chances of closing the deal, the more likely rejection will come to fruition. Once sales anxiety sets in, sales success becomes astronomically harder to achieve.
What causes sales anxiety?
What is sales anxiety, anyway? And what causes it? ImpactPlus attributes the three major causes of stress for sellers as follows:
1. Lack of prospects
Finding viable clients is difficult. Agents who continually search for prospects but have trouble getting leads soon feel the pressures of underperformance. Hubspot reports that around 40% of salespeople believe prospecting to be the most difficult part of the sales process.
2. Time pressure
As most agents earn commissions from their sales, time plays a big role in mounting pressure. Sales reps who have yet to meet their designated target numbers dread the end of the month. By the time the 30th or 31st rolls around, many struggling salespeople are kicking themselves out of disappointment and lost incentives.
3. Lack of results
The result of underperformance, whether it be due to time constraints or a lack of prospects, can destroy a salesperson’s confidence. In addition, lack of sales brings down both individual performance and team numbers. When sales rejections or cancelled appointments mount, this starts a self-sustaining cycle of depression and anxiety. This is the point when agents really start losing hope.
Sales anxiety diminishes sales success
The law of averages guarantees that even the best salesperson will experience setbacks at some point. Experienced sales agents will shrug off the occasional rejection as expected. For many, however, sales anxiety allows the feelings of rejection to linger – causing them to doubt their abilities and fear trying again.
These thoughts may present themselves as, “What if nobody wants what I’m selling?”, “Maybe I’m talking too much and not listening to my customers?”, “I’m taking too long to close the sale. Somebody probably beat me to it anyway.”, or even “I’m not a people person and I don’t think I’m cut out for sales. I should look for another job.”
Once doubt takes over, sales success becomes the furthest thing from a salesperson’s mind. All the training in the world won’t save the sale. Unaddressed, this stress will soon become the defining trait of a salesperson’s daily routine. Suddenly, the career you once loved is impeding your life rather than adding to it. Don’t worry, we’ve got your back.
Overcoming sales anxiety – what salespeople can do
To address sales anxiety and increase sales success, sales representatives need to stop to catch their breath. They should clear their heads and reassess their current situation before going down the rabbit hole. Only then can they appreciate the bigger picture and remedy their confidence.
Below are three ways to tackle sales anxiety in its tracks:
1. Step back and take a breather
Self-inflicted pressure is often the biggest source of sales anxiety. It can make employees feel inclined to work around the clock. Though it may yield short-term results, this method doesn’t guarantee success – and even if it did, it’s still highly unsustainable. Salespeople are human, believe it or not.
So, take a step back. Clock out, spend time with your family, and consider if sales are even something you want to commit 40 hours of your week to. Life doesn’t begin and end with work. Use your free time to build anew, or come back stronger than ever.
2. Learn more about sales numbers
Stepping back can also mean revisiting sales performance numbers. Apart from reporting actual sales, modern sales applications can provide specific data on how a sales rep spends the day. How many clients does the agent call in a given day? How much time do they spend with each customer? What percentage of working hours do agents spend performing administrative tasks rather than on sales calls?
Getting data on these specific processes can help sales teams evaluate their efficiency. By crunching these numbers, sales managers can intervene and suggest ways to improve.
3. Accept objections and rejections as part of sales
Another practical and effective way to address sales anxiety is for sales agents to adopt a more realistic view of their jobs. This entails accepting that sales are a performance-based profession. As a result, income from sales jobs will inherently depend on your success rate.
Furthermore, sales remain a numbers game. Yes, an individual’s performance will depend on how many clients they manage and how much revenue they can generate. But, that doesn’t paint the entire picture. According to the University of Portsmouth’s head of Marketing Subject Group, Phillip McGowan, as much as 94% of all sales efforts won’t lead to anything. Take rejections objectively, not personally.
How managers can support their sales team
The best place to start is to recognize that the problem exists. The sales manager should take the lead in acknowledging sales anxiety among members of their team.
Then, encouragement to open and honest discussion about the roadblocks to closing deals can do a lot to provide helpful insights.
Communication also means spending more time listening than talking. The objective of the discussion isn’t to coerce a sales agent into admitting they’re struggling with sales anxiety. Rather, the manager’s role is to help the agent understand the conditions that are holding them back, and offer viable solutions.
Keep your sales team connected with field sales software
Mobile sales management platforms are a great way to increase the efficiency of the entire sales team – even when they’re out in the field. Skynamo is a cloud-connected app that provides sales agents with the critical sales information they need to close the deal. Instead of going back and forth with the sales office to get the latest stock and price updates, sales reps can deal with customers directly – anytime, anywhere.
Skynamo even gives sales managers the tools to monitor their team’s whereabouts and performance in the field. Equipped with this information, managers can better serve individual reps and elevate the whole team.
Come chat with us so we can learn more about your company’s specific needs and show you how Skynamo can support your agents while optimizing your sales.