Feb 28, 2022 • Podcast

How do I overcome apprehension and worry in sales?

Paul shares an experience to allay the worries from the uncertainties you face in sales.

Show Notes 

Anticipation of potential distress is often worse than the actual event.

The most repeated phrase in the best-selling book of all time is, “Don’t be afraid.” Great words to live by.

Most of the worries we anticipate don’t actually happen.

When you’re filled with worry and angst, remember, it doesn’t matter if you fail. In the grand scheme of things, losing a sale is a small blip on the radar.

Visit www.ToughTimer.com to get started on the 30-Day Tough-Timer Challenge!

Order your copy of Selling Through Tough Times from Amazon or Barnes & Noble!

Click here to purchase the latest edition of Value-Added Selling!


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And most importantly…make it a big day.

Check out this episode!

How do I overcome apprehension and worry in sales?

(Transcribed from podcast)

Today’s episode is actually—, it’s stemming from several different conversations that I’ve had with salespeople over the past several weeks. So here’s what’s going on. Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty in our world. Whether it’s geopolitical, we’ve got inflation concerns, supply shortages, all that stuff is going on. And what I’ve noticed is that salespeople are almost just waiting for something bad to happen. They’re anticipating something bad happening. And so, today’s show is all about how to overcome that apprehension, that fear that something bad is going to happen. Because we’ve got to remember, we tend to attract what we think about. So if we’re thinking that disaster is going to strike at any moment, we may inadvertently draw that to us—attract it. So, we need to talk about that today. So that’s the question: How do we overcome apprehension or fear or worry in sales?

Now, before we get into answering that question, just a reminder to visit Amazon or wherever you get your books and pick up your copy of Selling Through Tough Times. Some of the techniques we’ll talk about today, again, they are in the book—much more detail. So if you find yourself feeling anxious about the future, if you find yourself thinking something is going to happen—we’re on the verge of something negative—maybe it’s time for a mental reset. So pick up your copy of the book.

So, let’s get back to the episode. One thing I want to highlight here to kick things off is I want to remind you of an episode from a previous podcast. This is when I had Jimmy Vreeland on the show and we talked a little bit about anticipation and preparing for tough times. And, one thing Jimmy said is, and again, just a reminder, he was a captain, Army Ranger—served in Afghanistan. One thing he talked about on that episode was how the anticipation of going into battle was worse than the actual battle itself—mind boggling to me as someone who has not served or face combat or anything like that. But to hear him talk about just the anticipation of going into battle. And he shares just a riveting story about what he was facing. So I would encourage you to go back and check that out. But from his perspective, remember, anticipation is sometimes the worst part. And I’m going to give you a couple of thoughts on that as we begin this segment.

I remember talking to a, I think it was a business leader, or it may have been, it may have been a priest—either one of those two—but a leader in some way. And what he said is, most of the things that we worry about never actually happen. Most of the things we worry about never actually happen. And the suggestion was made to go back and reflect on your life, reflect on those moments where you were overcome with worry, where you were really terrified something bad was going to happen, or were just very uncertain about what the future would look like. Go back to those moments in your life and try to remember what you were worried about, and then ask yourself, ‘Okay. Did it really happen?’ And what you’re going to find out is that most of the things we worry about never actually happen.

That gives us some reassurance. When you think about what we worry about on a regular basis, we’ve got to remind ourselves that it might not actually happen, and that gives us peace of mind. So, in Selling Through Tough Times, we talk about looking at the facts and how important that is—looking back on your past, your history, and look at the facts: what actually happened versus what you thought was going to happen. What actually happened versus how you felt about what actually happened. Look at the facts. The facts will tell you, the facts will show you that most of what we worry about, most of the things that could go wrong in our life, don’t actually go wrong. So just keep that first piece in mind.

Now, another thing I wanted to share with you, and this is something I quoted in the book as well: the most repeated phrase in the best-selling book of all time is, don’t be afraid. That’s so important to remember. And I’m not going to get off on some huge religious soapbox and talk about all that, but I think it’s important to realize that, in the Bible—the best-selling book of all time—the most repeated phrase is don’t be afraid. So, I know that when we face uncertain times, I know that when we’re facing tough moments, we can rely on that. That’s going to give us peace of mind knowing that there’s a higher power in this world that is looking out for us. So keep that piece in mind.

And then finally, one last thing I wanted to share with you—one final thought. When you are facing those moments of apprehension, when you are fearful of what the future looks like—you’re fearful of what the outcomes could be from a particular situation, from a sales call, from let’s say you have a big meeting coming up with a customer and you’re nervous about the presentation and you’re worried you’re going to lose the sale—when you’re filled with all this worry and all this angst, I want you to remember something really important: it doesn’t matter if you fail. And that’s important to know. It doesn’t matter if you fail.

I share those words with you because those are the same words that one of my sales managers shared with me when I was in a terrible slump. I was in a, gosh, it was a horrific sales slump. I couldn’t get anything going. It wasn’t a lack of effort. I mean, I was working as hard as I possibly could: late into the evenings, getting up early in the morning, making as many calls as I could. But it did not have an impact on my number. The effort that I was putting in was not reflective of my performance. And so my sales manager actually came out and he spent about a week with me. And he spent a week with me to help me, to maybe give me a little more confidence, to see what was going on, to see why my performance was suffering so bad, because I was coming off several great years. And, we were getting ready to go into a meeting—and this meeting was extremely important. I was working on a piece of business that could help turn things around. It’s not going to make me hit my quota, but I’m going to get much closer. That’s going to generate momentum. It was a huge meeting. I was trying to convince this power plant to use one of our new fastening systems, so it was a big meeting.

And before this meeting, my sales manager and I were sitting around; we’re talking and we’re preparing, and we’re going through the presentation and he looked at me and he said, “Paul, you need to know something.”

I said, “Okay, what’s that?”

And he said, “It doesn’t matter if you fail.”

I said, “Eric, what are you talking about, man?” I said, “Look at my numbers. It doesn’t matter if I fail? If I fail, this is like my last shot to even come close to hitting my number. What are you talking about, it doesn’t matter if I fail?”

He said, “Paul, think about this. Let’s say we go in here and they decide to go a different route. We fail. We don’t get the sale. When you go home this afternoon, is your wife still going to love you?”

I said, “Well, yeah—yeah, she’s still going to love me.”

He said, “Are all the friends and the people that matter most in your life, are they still going to be there for you if you don’t get this sale?”

I said, “well, yeah.”

He said, “Your daughter,” (we had a newborn daughter at this point). He goes, “Is your daughter still going to love you? Is she going to still be there. Is that still going to be an important part of your life?”

I said, “Well, yeah.”

He goes, “Do you get the point?”

And I was starting to get the point. He was basically saying “Paul, in the grand scheme of things, what we’re going through right now: this one call, that one meeting, the apprehension you feel, the fear. All of that, right now, isn’t going to matter in the grand scheme of your life. This is a small blip. It doesn’t matter.” And when he shared that with me, it gave me an overwhelming sense of confidence. I went into that meeting—I went into that meeting knowing that it didn’t matter as much as I thought it did. It loosened me up. It calmed me. And by the way, we went in there and absolutely crushed the presentation and ended up making the deal. I can’t help but think that part of the reason we made that deal was because of how he shifted my mind—how he shifted my mind before we went in there.

So, salespeople, I know right now you’re facing supply shortages. I know right now that we’re facing inflation. I know right now we’re looking at the federal interest rates possibly going up a few different times this year. I know there’s a lot of anticipation of what that’s going to look like. There’s some apprehension. We’re fearful of something bad going to happen in the future. Maybe it’s a recession. Maybe we face some industry downturns. I know that there is a lot of anxiety there. But as you face these uncertain times, just remember the three things that I mentioned:

  1. Most of what you worry about never actually happens.
  2. The most repeated phrase in the best-selling book of all time is don’t be afraid. You think somebody is trying to tell us something? I think so.
  3. And finally, as you reflect on whatever, you’re, anxious over, remember what my sales manager told me: It doesn’t matter if you fail. That’s going to help give you some perspective as we go through this uncertain time.

Make it a big day.

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