What if they say ‘No?'
What if the deal falls through the cracks?
What if they don’t react well to my call?
What if I fail to meet my daily/monthly targets?
This and a lot more is what’s always running in any sales rep’s mind. WHAT IF - a simple statement that can wreck a rep’s confidence and make them question their hard work.
While racing against time - trying to beat the odds by crushing their monthly targets, sales reps fight through a lot of obstacles which gives rise to a good deal of pressure and anxiety.
While it is exciting to deal with the adrenaline rush when you’re about to close a deal, at the same time the amount of panic and stress that comes with it, shouldn’t be ignored AT ALL.
To understand how reps across regions and companies tackle anxiety while trying to maintain their quota, we speak to 4 sales reps who are strong believers in recognizing, speaking up, and managing anxiety in sales.
Q. Do you think mental health is often discussed in sales or is it sidelined?
EVAN PATTERSON(EP): There’s a mental health crisis in the sales community. Too many people often see discussing one’s mental health as an indicator of being weak, sloppy, or inefficient. However, sustainable success in sales is truly attainable when mental health is discussed openly and actively prioritized. It’s good for people and it’s equally good for their business.
SHEFALI JAIN(SJ): Yes, actually. It is often sidelined. Everyone is busy chasing targets because of which you don't realize that you're stressed or going through something.
ELLIOTT GARCIA(EG): I think it’s often discussed, not as frequently though. But it’s brought up.
MANTHAN GUPTA(MG): I personally feel that because of the pandemic and isolation, mental health has become a widely discussed topic. People who weren’t talking about it before, are talking about it now. So comparatively it has changed a lot. Pre-covid I’ve seen that people didn’t discuss it that openly. We still have a long way to go, but I’m glad that sales leaders now have started to speak about it.
Q. Do you think people around you are open to talking about anxiety? If not - why do you think so?
SJ: Yes absolutely! We do talk about it to make each other feel comfortable. This has now become a post-work regime.
EG: They do, yes. I’m glad that my peers are ready to talk about it freely.
MG: I think there are very few folks who are open to talking about it. But I know that almost everyone in sales goes through it, people don’t know how to broach the subject or express what they’re going through to someone else. But at the same time, I’ve had an open conversation about this with some of my colleagues.
Q. Do you experience anxiety while handling activities in sales - If yes, then what activity in sales makes you feel more uneasy/nervous?
SJ: Actually, no activity makes ME uneasy. But the fact that you're in the middle of the month and haven't hit 50% of your targets yet - this is something every sales rep goes through and most of us face anxiety here.
EG: Interesting, I think I would have to say reaching past 100 dials every time, and if I’m still at 75 or at 80, I guess that adds some amount of pressure/stress.
MG: Everybody feels the anxiety and awkwardness in sales. For me, I feel cold calling makes me very anxious because you don’t know how the responses will be on the other end. Or even when you’re just waiting for a prospect to respond! A lot of practice/research will help you submerge a bit of anxiety, but even if you do practice a thousand times, you’re still going to feel a little anxious - this happens to sales leaders too.
Q. How do you calm yourself or deal with anxiety regularly?
SJ: Music helps a lot. Plus, I have a couple of colleagues that I connect with on a daily, post-work basis - so that helps. It's also important to have an empathizing work culture/boss. My boss is the best human I've met (quite literally) and he ensures that I'm fine; if I express that I'm not. Apart from this, I also work out when I'm anxious. Breathing exercises, getting some air helps too!
EG: Well, I work out 5 days a week - so exercise helps me keep my anxiety at a distance. Other than that, I make sure I never miss a few sips of tea in the night. This helps me fall asleep easily.
MG: I love tea! At night, I’m all about green tea and in the morning I start my day with a bit of milk in my tea. The second would be music - listening to it and also playing it(love playing my uke or guitar)! Oh not to forget meditation. Because of the lockdown, I started meditating as well. It’s a really good way to deal with stress or any ups and downs.
Q. What can a poor state of mental health lead to?
EP: Well, poor mental health is bad for your own bottom line as well as your businesses. At the end of the day, investment and discussion surrounding mental health are absolutely necessary. Prioritizing your physical surroundings, having a good hold on your time management skills, taking a break when you can, or even focusing on activities like music, diet, and exercise will help you take your mind off stress-filled tasks. Whatever you do with your body and free time has a massive impact on your work life too!
Q. Would you agree that having colleagues/bosses who understand your feelings is very important to tame your stress/anxiety level? Or is dealing with anxiety more of an inner fight than having the right people around you?
SJ: It is both this and that, I believe. You might feel okay when you talk to someone but it creeps back in. It just helps when you know you can talk to someone, be it, friends or colleagues. Feels good to know that someone’s out there who can understand almost every bit of what you’re going through. But again, it’s an inner fight in the end.
Q. How often do you keep thinking about the numbers to meet, etc? And how do you unwind, or tell your mind to stop focussing on your work/ targets?
MG: Very frequently. You’re always thinking about prospects - what you spoke on a call or you always end up thinking that you could have handled something differently. You must focus on something else. You need one or two different addictions, like photography, music (for me) to get away from sales. I love editing on lightroom, taking pictures, playing my instruments! Everyone should have one thing that they love doing other than sales.
Recognizing what you’re feeling and giving it a tag is very important in managing any stress or anxiety. In a field where numbers are almost everything and time is of the essence, taking care of yourself as well as your peer’s stress levels will only help you move forward.
Let’s show love and care to each other! 💖
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