How I Got Over My Anxiety Around Sales

Apr 06, 2022

Scheduling a strategy session or discovery call is usually a moment of celebration, but it can also be an anxiety-inducing moment because all of the sudden it means that somewhere in the near have to get on a sales call with a prospective client.

I used to be terrified of sales calls, to the point where I'd obsess about them in the days and hours leading up to the meeting, running through every possible worst case scenario in my mind, and turning it from a simple sales conversation into something much larger.

In this episode, I talk about how I tackled my anxiety around sales calls, including three key actions I take before every strategy session on my calendar: doing my homework, releasing physical tension in my body, and centering myself with a simple breathing exercises.

 In today's episode, we're going to be talking about how to ground yourself before a sales call. This is a really important topic because when you're at the point where you've gotten a warm prospect on your calendar, that's a moment of celebration, but it can also be a really anxiety-inducing moment. Suddenly, it means you have to conduct the sales call, and that can, for some people, sometimes be a really scary thing. 

It used to terrify me. When I knew that I had a sales call on my calendar coming up, I would get so anxious that in the hours leading up to it, all I could do was worry about that one 30- or 45-minute meeting. I would worry so much about how I was going to show up, how I was going to present myself, how I was going to talk about my offer, and how to answer their questions. I would imagine every possible worst case scenario. Ultimately, in my mind, I would turn this single sales call into something much bigger than it actually was. 

More specifically, it wasn't just a prospect who was interested in working with me; it wasn't just a conversation with them. It was a meeting where the result would, as I saw it, be a direct reflection of who I am as a person, as an entrepreneur, and as a professional. Suddenly, the stakes got a whole lot higher. It wasn't just about talking with a prospect and seeing if I can help them in presenting them with the solution. No, it became this thing about, well, if they say no, then that reflects badly on me as a person; I'm just not good enough. Obviously, it was anxiety-inducing because it was so much larger than it actually was. These days, I have much better ways of preparing for these calls. I realized that it's not actually as big as it seems; it is not actually a reflection on me as a person. 

I have three things that I make sure I do ahead of every sales call to make sure that I'm grounded and centered before I hop on that Zoom call. I want to share three of those key things with you—those three things. The first is one that I do in the day preceding a sales call because, in that day preceding it, I tend to worry about it; it's preoccupying to me. I do this first thing in the day ahead of time. Then, the second and the third thing: I do these in the minutes leading up to the sales call. I do these in the 15 minutes right before I get on the Zoom call. 

Let's go ahead and start with the first thing, the thing that I do somewhere in the 24 hours heading up to a sales call, and that is that I make sure I do my research. For me, one of the things I found out was that the big source of anxiety that I was experiencing was uncertainty, uncertainty about who I was getting on a call with exactly. In a lot of ways, usually this was the first time that I was meeting them face to face, not in person, over Zoom. Still, I didn't have clarity on what I was getting into, or I wasn't familiar with who I was about to get on a call with. So, what I started doing was my research; I started doing my research on that person. 

In my case, that often meant looking at their social profiles—their Facebook and their LinkedIn, looking at their website if they had one up and available—and just seeing what information about them was easily available online. Just by doing that, you can kind of get a sense of who is going to be on the other end. By taking just that 15 minutes or so, you get a much clearer picture. What that does is actually reduce the amount of uncertainty you have because you do get the vibe off of their profile or something, and you get that better idea. That's what reduces that uncertainty. So, if the uncertainty is what is causing a lot of the anxiety, obviously, it makes sense to get rid of that uncertainty. That is what has helped me to reduce the anxiety in the day or in the hours leading up to the sales call. 

But that didn't always address how I was feeling in the single hour heading up to the sales call or the 15 minutes heading up to the sales call. That's when I was really starting to let my mind run through these worst-case scenarios, so it's equally important to calm your nerves and ground yourself in the minutes preceding that call. There are two things in that regard that have been really, really helpful for me. 

The first is to do some quick physical activity, and I don't mean doing an entire home workout. If that works for you, then go for it. I'm sure that couldn't hurt. But rather, I mean doing one or two minutes of some sort of physical activity, really just to get your blood pumping and to release some energy. This could be doing some jumping jacks, push ups, or any other sort of brief exercise. For me, it is usually, okay, I'm going to go outside. I make sure to go outside and do this because there is something about the fresh air, and whether it is warm or cold outside, either way, it tends to be pretty invigorating. 

I go outside, I do my 15 or my 20 jumping jacks, and I come back in. When I do this, I find that I immediately feel more relaxed and more energized. And even more importantly, the tension that I've been carrying around in my body is suddenly gone. I tend to carry a lot of tension in my jaw and in my neck, and when I go do these 15 or 20 jumping jacks, then come back in, that tension is oftentimes entirely gone. 

The second thing I do in the 15 minutes preceding a sales call is breath work or doing some breathing exercise. Usually, I couple this with an audio meditation. For a long time, I subscribed to the Calm app, for example. Now I use the Apple Fitness Plus audio meditations. If you don't have either of those, you can just hop on YouTube. Personally, I've really found the 4-7-8 pattern to be useful. That's breathing in and counting to four, holding it while you count to seven in your head, and then exhaling and counting to eight. Now, for me, that usually doesn't translate into seconds, because holding on to the breath for seven seconds or exhaling it for eight seconds, that's a long time. I just normally count slowly metered. Experiment to find a pattern that works for you. The important part is to take five or 10 minutes before a call to focus on your breathing, to focus on getting oxygen in your brain and getting oxygen out of your brain. For me, that has been really, really massive. 

In conclusion, if you are feeling some anxiety around upcoming sales calls, the three things that you can do that have really worked for me and have worked for a lot of my clients is first to just prep for the call, to do your research ahead of time. Then, the second two things are to do some quick physical activity right before the call, as well as to do some breath work or breathing exercises. Those will help you address that anxiety and also feel more grounded and centered heading into a sales call. 

Thank you so much for joining me for the Client Attractor Show today. I'm your host, Jacob Ratliff, and I look forward to seeing you tomorrow for our next episode. Take care.

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