Overcoming Sales Anxiety Post-Social Distancing is Possible
As we return to normalcy post-COVID, many of us are giving a sigh of relief. Most of the ways that we lived pre-pandemic are again becoming our new normal, but many salespeople are dealing with some residual hurdles. One major issue seems to be sales anxiety stemming from nearly two years of social distancing.
Although social distancing was difficult, after a while, many of us got used to being with ourselves and shutting out the world. We lost a degree of comfort in being with others and engaging spontaneously with strangers. The good news is there are ways to overcome sales anxiety post-social distancing with these steps!
The Problem of Sales Anxiety Post-Social Distancing
I heard frequently from salespeople, both newbies and seasoned veterans, that they often had to push themselves to make prospecting a daily practice – even before the pandemic hit. Now it seems that sales anxiety, along with social anxiety, is at its peak. The good news is that we as humans are designed to be social. By using these practical steps, you will be able to get back out there and overcome sales anxiety post-social distancing!
Step One – Make It a Point to Talk to a Complete Stranger Once a Day
Practice might not make you perfect at it, but it will certainly help you overcome sales anxiety. The first step is to make it a point to strike up a conversation with a stranger once a day. When you are out and about, spontaneously talk with another person, whether it’s in line at the grocery store, getting gas, or to someone passing your mailbox.
Often, the hardest thing to do is to just make a connection with others. The more you put yourself outside of your social comfort zone, the more it will become a habit to talk with people you don’t know, which is the key to overcoming sales anxiety.
Step Two – Use Aspects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to Overcome Sales Anxiety
Cognitive behavioral therapy is one of the best tools to overcome sales anxiety. It involves examining your beliefs and preconceived notions about what people are thinking and the worst-case scenarios when prospecting. It is important to continually challenge the beliefs that you have in order to rationalize them.
If you anticipate the worst, you will continually focus on all the things that can go wrong. Sometimes we put roadblocks in our own way by creating unrealistic scenarios and engaging in negative self-talk. By examining what you are afraid of, you can start to eliminate those negative expectations that are likely keeping you afraid.
Step Three – Gradually Take Steps to Reintroduce Sales Into Your Routine
If you are experiencing anxiety about prospecting, the key is to take baby steps to overcome sales anxiety. It is unrealistic to think that you will be able to pick up the phone and make ten prospecting calls right from the outset. Be patient with yourself and understand that the small steps you take will soon add up.
Just like cumulative prospecting to fill your pipeline takes perseverance and small steps every day, so will overcoming your sales anxiety. Set realistic benchmarks for yourself and by reaching them, you will gain the confidence to be bolder the next time. Soon, prospecting will come naturally to you. Day one, resolve to send out an email. Day two, follow up on that email. As long as you are moving forward, you are getting one step closer to where you want to be.
Step Four – Use the Five Senses Method to Bring Yourself Back to Center
When you are prospecting and begin to feel anxious about where the conversation is going, use the five senses method. If you start to fixate on all the ways your presentation is going wrong, it can be overwhelming and interrupt your success. When you begin to feel anxiety creeping up, use the “five senses” method to bring yourself back to center.
Interrupt your negative self-talk by asking yourself these five questions: “What is the prospect saying? What is actually happening right now? What do I see? What do I hear? What do I feel?” Mindfulness is about being present. So, stop the spiral by being present in the conversation and bring yourself back to center by rebooting your brain.
Step Five – Don’t Focus on the Sale
Focusing on the sale is a surefire way to create anxiety. When you focus on the sale, you are forgetting the most important aspect of overcoming sales anxiety. If you start to think of yourself in terms of selling a product or service, you forget what your goal and intent are – to solve the prospect’s problems and make their lives easier.
When you see yourself as the solution to a problem, prospecting becomes a lot easier. If you focus on the sale or closing the sale, it can feel like you are trying to trick your prospect into buying. That can lead you to feel anxious. Remembering that you are doing your prospect a service, not the other way around, will give you the confidence to be assertive without feeling as if you are being pushy or bothersome.
You are Not Alone!
It is a great feeling to have the freedom to socialize again. But socialization is a skill that does not come naturally to many. If you are experiencing sales anxiety post-COVID, you are not alone. Getting back out there is difficult for many of us who have enjoyed being with just ourselves.
But it is time to put yourself back out there, and rejoin friends, family, and yes, even strangers. Introducing yourself a bit at a time will help inoculate you to sales anxiety. With practice, you’ll find your center to be the rockstar in sales you were before the pandemic! These five steps to overcome sales anxiety are the key to rocking it once again!
In Sales EQ, Jeb Blount takes you on an unprecedented journey into the behaviors, techniques, and secrets of the highest earning salespeople in every industry and field and teaches you how to become an Ultra-High Performer.