Today it seems that anxiety is a part of today’s selling and business. You may be afraid of losing your job. Maybe your customers are not making purchases and that’s starting to be a concern. Perhaps your customers are buying much less from you than before and there’s nothing you can do to change that. All these situations –and more–can make someone anxious. Here is some guidance on reducing the anxiety as you sell.
Assume good news first.
Imagine your customer calls and leaves a voicemail. He says, “I need to talk with you. Please give me a call as soon as you can.” What’s your first reaction? Is it to assume that your customer is having a big problem and you are in jeopardy of losing your account? Do you think there’s a problem with your product or service? Maybe you think there’s something else wrong and you’ve got a big issue to resolve. Too many people will think the worst. Why?
There could also be nothing wrong and your customer has a question you could answer just as there could be an issue at your customer. Why not think the best first instead of the worst? I’ve seen salespeople return phone calls and start with the assumption that something is wrong. The customer then starts to think that maybe he missed something and there could be something wrong.
You do not want to plant the seeds of doubt in anyone’s mind. Assume the best instead of the worst the next time you are in a meeting and your customer has to “talk with you about something” or you get a voicemail with the same message. Calming yourself is a good exercise that will make you less anxious. And if something bad really does happen, then that’s the time to be concerned and address it, not before.
Make your own decision rules.
For some people not being able to make decisions is a source of anxiety. They go around and around with a decision to do something. Then they second guess that decision. Then they go back to their first decision and then second guess that one. This inability to decide is a big problem if you are in sales. You will be making many decisions in the course of selling: You decide who to call on and what to sell; You create and implement your sales strategy. After you ask for the order you have to determine how to deliver sales results and much more. An inability to make a decision will stop your sales process. That is a recipe for failure.
Some decisions simply require a yes or no. Here’s my simple rule if you are having a problem making a decision. My rule says that when I’m faced with a decision of should I or shouldn’t I do something, that if I can’t say yes, then the answer is no.
Think about it. You are tapping into both your conscious and unconscious memory when you have to make a major decision. Your unconscious or gut stores far more information than your conscious memory can. When you can’t say yes to something, your unconscious is signaling that there’s something else you are missing and there’s a reason not to do it. I pay attention to that gut reaction and use it in my decision making. Pay attention to your gut next time you have a difficult decision to make. If you can’t say yes, then the answer is no. You’ll be less anxious making decisions when you rely on your gut.
Learn to change the subject with negative people.
Other people can be a major source of anxiety. It’s especially true now with those who can only talk about doom and gloom. Yes, I realize that we are in the midst of a pandemic. Yes, I realize that it’s a challenge for many people. No, I’m not willing to demand that my life be 100% risk free before I live it. Life wasn’t risk free before the pandemic.
You have to take action when you are being subjected to the negative flow of depressing news from these people. Learn how to change the subject. You don’t even have to comment to them, “You know that’s really depressing and I don’t want to talk about it.” Simply say what you want to say about something else. Just change the subject. I find that these depressing types want to continue on their negative path. They don’t want to change their mind and you don’t have to listen. Change the subject and be aware that they will probably think negatively the next time you talk with them. Try to avoid them if you can.
Anxiety is a part of selling. It shouldn’t overwhelm you and immobilize you. Remember that you cannot control the world. You can only control yourself and hopefully that’s someone who is less anxious.