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Sales anxiety, 6 steps to overcome and cope with anxiety in sales

  • Nov 10, 2022
  • 6 minutes

Everyone who works in sales knows the pressures of the industry. From meeting quotas to navigating client relationships, the demands can sometimes feel overwhelming. It's a profession where success is measured not just in numbers, but in the ability to manage the ever-present spectre of sales anxiety.

The role of the salesperson is fundamental to any business. They are the driving force behind growth, constantly striving to convert leads into loyal customers. But amidst the hustle and bustle of the sales floor, anxiety and fear of failure can easily take root, casting doubt on one's capabilities and impacting performance.

Our job is full of ups and downs and filled with the fear of failing. As someone who’s familiar with the ebbs and flows of sales, I understand the toll that anxiety can take on a salesperson. With the role being incredibly measured, and performance levels being so tangible, it’s easy to feel like your abilities as a salesperson are equal to the results you’re delivering.

Shelley Lavery listening in the audience at an event

It’s easy for anxiety to manifest itself in the role on a day-to-day basis. So how do you deal with it?

I’ve always been quite an anxious person, and I’d be lying if I said I don’t feel it in my role from time to time. But through my own journey, I've discovered effective ways to confront and conquer sales anxiety, ensuring that each day on the job remains fulfilling and rewarding. From conquering call reluctance to silencing the whispers of self-doubt, we'll explore actionable strategies for reclaiming control and embracing the challenges that lie ahead for a mindset that turns anxiety into opportunity, one sales call at a time.


Contents - 6 steps to overcome and cope with anxiety in sales

1. Control the controlables

2. Keep a stable mindset

3. Take time away from your desk

4. Ask for support

5. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something 

6. Embrace rejection and failure

Extra tips for helping sales reps overcome sales anxiety

Other resources for helping with anxiety

1. Control the controlables

There are so many factors that are not in your control when selling. It’s not the right time, it’s not a problem they’re looking to solve, not the right product... these things happen, and you will come across them. 

You can’t always be everybody’s cup of tea. You can be Steve Jobs, and someone will always choose Bill Gates. 

The best thing to do is not worry about the factors that aren’t in your control and focus on what is.

I know that when it comes to demo-ing a product, showing the prospect areas of the Jiminny Conversation Intelligence platform that are relevant is the most important thing. Keeping demos fresh, and doing my best to build a rapport with the prospect and understand their needs is what I can control. This is where I place importance. 

Remember your sales techniques and processes and focus on what you can do, and not what you can’t. 


2. Keep a stable mindset

The job is full of ups and downs. Everything is so measured, targets are there to be hit after all. My advice is to take the wins, but don’t get too emotional about the ups, and the same with the downs. It’s our job to sell, and it’s great when we win a deal, but I stay calm and focused when we win, and try to apply the same mindset when we inevitably lose deals. 

In this role, it’s easy to focus on the short-term.

What’s happening next week?

Why was last week so difficult?

I try to see the bigger picture and this helps me realize the progress that I make over the months, not days. 


3. Take time away from your desk

Working from home has really blurred the lines between work and personal life. It’s easy to get consumed going back-to-back with outbound and booking inbound meetings. 

I have found it beneficial in the long-run to take time away from my desk and get my heart rate moving. Getting a sweat on, getting the endorphins flowing is what works for me. 

This isn’t for everyone - I know people who try yoga, who meditate, or go for walks, so it’s about doing what works for you. Distracting my mind from work and remembering there is life outside of the 9-5 helps me sustain myself in the long-run and not get burnt out. 

Shelley Lavery speaking onstage at an event

4. Ask for support

Don’t be afraid to admit you are struggling. These conversations can be hard, especially with your boss. But at the end of the day, we’re all human and even though they’re your boss and they manage you, they’re human.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work in very open and positive environments, but I always remember that nobody’s psychic. Unless you’re open about these things, it’s hard to deal with them. At the end of the day, people can’t know what they don’t know. 

Whenever I’ve been open about my anxieties, I’ve been seen as human and have been fortunate enough to receive a lot of help and support. This is so valuable when it comes to selling day-in, day-out. 

These feelings are normal. They make you human. 


5. Don’t be afraid to admit when you don’t know something 

Working in tech, there is always jargon or regulation you may not know or fully understand. If these questions come up and you don’t know the answer, I rarely get a negative response when I admit I don’t know something. 

I’d rather go away and get the right information than say something that’s wrong. It’s an opportunity to learn and develop, so that when the question comes up next time, I know the answer.

We’re all learning and growing. People (mostly) appreciate your honesty. 


6. Embrace rejection and failure

‍As much as I’d love to, I’ll never win every deal. That’s okay. At the end of the day, it’s business, it’s never personal. 

I always tell myself, “the sunny days are coming”. I do my best to keep my lead list updated and to keep my demos fresh. 

Some quarters will always be better than others. Whenever something goes wrong or the deal doesn’t happen, I remind myself that there’s nothing personal in it. If I did something wrong, or could have done something better, it’s a learning opportunity. 

It’s natural to feel stress in the job, and anxiety comes with the uncertainty that surrounds sales until the deal is done. These feelings are natural, and you can never fully get rid of them. 

The key is to take the steps to recognize when these feelings arise, and deal with them one step at a time. 

Whether you’re at the beginning of your career or have been doing this for decades, I hope this has been helpful. It’s never easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is!

Shelley Lavery speaking onstage at an event

Extra tips for helping sales reps overcome sales anxiety

Foster a positive environment

  • Create a vibrant sales floor environment to alleviate sales call reluctance.
  • Foster friendly competition and discourage negative attitudes.
  • Encourage phone calls over emails to maintain an active sales atmosphere.
  • Consider implementing phone booths for privacy and focus.


Equip your team with the tools & skills they need to succeed

  • Provide comprehensive sales playbooks, call blueprints, and battle cards.
  • Offer talking points to guide conversations and alleviate anxiety.
  • Encourage reps to listen to successful calls for inspiration and confidence.
  • Use software or conversation intelligence platforms like Jiminny’s sales performance features for call recording and analysis, enabling reps to review successful calls for inspiration and confidence-building. Managers can also help reps overcome objections and improve through call analysis.
  • Provide resources on objection handling and overcoming common issues



Try dialling early & schedule power hours

  • Motivate reps to start their day with prospecting calls.
  • Schedule power hours to dedicate time solely to making calls.
  • Have tools which assist such as Jiminny’s sales features


Embrace rejection and turn it into opportunity

  • Introduce Sales Performance Incentive Funds (SPIFFs) to encourage reps to embrace rejection.
  • Turn no's into a positive by rewarding reps for attempting calls.


Teach reps the art of power posing and the role of body language

  • Educate reps on the impact of body language on confidence.
  • Encourage power posing before sales calls to boost confidence.


Strong peer support and mentorship

  • Facilitate peer-to-peer coaching and mentorship.
  • Provide access to best practice and train-wreck call libraries.

Measure outcomes and activities effectively

  • Track activities and outcomes to provide clarity and motivation.
  • Help reps understand the rationale behind their targets.


Lead by example

  • Lead by example by making calls alongside your team
  • Demonstrate vulnerability and humanity as a leader.
  • Provide the sales performance coaching you’d like to receive.


Practice makes perfect

  • Encourage reps to practice conversations with friends and family.
  • Offer opportunities for reps to practice outside of the office environment.


Other resources for helping with anxiety

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): This organization provides comprehensive information on anxiety disorders, treatment options, and self-help strategies. Visit their website: ADAA.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America logo

Mind.org.uk: Mind is a mental health charity in the UK that offers valuable resources and support for managing anxiety. Explore their website for information, tips, and support: Mind.org.uk.

Mind UK logo

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI): NAMI is the largest grassroots mental health organization in the United States, providing advocacy, education, support, and public awareness for individuals and families affected by mental health conditions, including anxiety disorders. Explore their website for resources and information: NAMI.

National Alliance on Mental Illness logo

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): NIMH offers evidence-based information on anxiety disorders, including symptoms, treatments, and research updates. Access their resources here: NIMH.

National Institute of Mental Health logo


Shelley Lavery is the CRO and Co-Founder of Jiminny, the leading conversation intelligence and sales coaching platform that helps companies maximize their revenue. With over a decade of experience in coaching B2B sales teams, Shelley was previously Group SVP of Sales at Reward Gateway now leading the conversation intelligence discussion with expertise and insight.


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