How To Deal With Stress As a Salesperson: 3 Tips & Tricks to Reducing Stress

Sales podcast ep 41 The Slow Pitch stress salesperson
Sales Podcast, The Slow Pitch
The Slow Pitch Sales Podcast
How To Deal With Stress As a Salesperson: 3 Tips & Tricks to Reducing Stress


Someone asked us how to deal with stress as a salesperson. We answered!

We’ve all felt the stress of sales from time to time, but in this episode we had someone ask how to deal with being stressed out all the time when working on sales. The key question is: Where is this stress coming from? We talk about how to deal with stress as a salesperson and offer some insights, tips, and tricks to overcoming the stress of sales.

Stress! The Pressure of Selling Is Too Great!

If you’ve ever felt pressure to close a sale, worry that if you don’t close the sale you will be in trouble, or if you are concerned about your mental well-being because of your ability to sell, this episode is for you. The stress a salesperson feels can greatly inhibit the amount of money he or she can make. It’s time to deal with stress head-on without messing up your sales process. We take a question from a listener in this episode. It’s time to reduce your stress and become a solid salesperson.

Lane and Rob talk through the stress you feel as a salesperson while selling. How does one deal with stress as a salesperson? What are some effective ways reduce stress and how does a good salesperson prevent the stress from showing during a sales call or meeting?

We’ve been through it before and have experienced the same pressures and concerns. There isn’t a salesperson around who hasn’t agonized over what they should say or what should have been said. It’s ok, we’ll break down all the do’s and don’ts of dealing with stressful situations.

We also talk about managing up…managing your boss. This is a concept from a long time ago. In fact the book Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship With Those Above You by Rosanne Bodowski shares several great examples of how and why you should do this. By managing up, you are reducing the stress you carry by maintaining control of expectations.

If you feel that pressure, you feel the stress as a salesperson, you’ll want to listen in to these thoughts. Remember, you control your future, no one else!


We talk refer back to a few other episodes. Here are the links to those:


Music: "Clydesdale Funk" by Cast of Characters, written by: Dustin Ransom.

The Episode

Rob  00:08

All right, welcome back, everybody to The Slow Pitch. And I see Lane on the other side what’s happening?

Lane  00:13

I don’t even know how to answer that one Rob… too much and not enough.

Rob  00:17

Too much and not enough. Well, that’s a good thing. So, I know we got an email today. What do we got? What is what is it about?

Lane  00:23

Yeah, Rob. So Monica reached out she’s a relatively new salesperson and suffering with quite a bit of stress from her role. And she’s wondering if this is going to be her life.

Rob  00:33

It’s probably well, but so you’re saying she’s getting a little bit of pressure, she feels the pressure of the job.

Lane  00:38

She’s feeling some pressure with a little.

Rob  00:42

I’m sure she’s not the only one out there that has that. Let’s talk about it.

V/O  00:45

You’re listening to The Slow Pitch Podcast, a podcast about selling less and closing more.

Rob  00:52

All right, Lane, you want to talk about pressure.

Lane  00:55

So Monica, contact us she says she’s a an inside sales rep for an electronics manufacturer. And she’s just started her second year in the job. No previous sales experience. But she got into sales because, shocker, her friend was making a lot of money. And she wanted to make that money too.

Rob  01:11

Well, you listen, you can make a lot of money in sales. That’s true.

Lane  01:14

You definitely can. She’s having a real hard time with a mental aspect of the job, though. She says she gets really stressed out about quotas, and putting out different fires all the time, that she’s actually having physical panic attacks, resorting to self-medicating, just to keep functioning and doing her job. No fun. No. So while she says she’s enjoying the benefits of making good money going on trips, and then in the like, she still just feels buried by the pressure all the time and worried that she’s not going to hit her goals, and he’s going to get fired. She’s wanting to know how we can help her deal with the constant pressure. And if this is going to be the rest of her life, because if it is, she’s probably not sticking around in sales.

Rob  01:50

Well, that is an interesting question. And what are your initial thoughts after reading all of that just basic? What’s your reaction?

Lane  01:58

I really feel for her, man… I… you know, you want to do a good job, you want to close the deal, the sales, you want to make the money… I definitely a lot of pressure. But I’m wondering what’s going on as to why she’s feeling so much pressure just getting into panic attacks. Something’s not right there.

Rob  02:18

Definitely not right. And you know, what, I think the… my initial feeling of hearing this was, first of all, what’s causing that? Like, why is there so much pressure? Is it from her work, like being from her boss from somebody else internally in the in the business? Yeah. Is it in her own head? Like, if it’s in her own head, that’s one thing, like, and I don’t mean to sound insensitive, but if it’s in your head, there’s, there’s things you can do to deal with that. That’s one thing. If it’s external, meaning somebody is doing that to you, there are some things you can do to alleviate that as well. So, let’s talk about both of those to me. What do you think? Yeah, sounds good. So, I think internally if you’re dealing with us internally, and let’s start there, because to me, that’s the most likely culprit, I think. I think if I think back to my beginning of sales days, I felt pressure to, you know, all the business has to come from me if there’s no buddy else selling, right? I’m the only one, right? There’s nobody else out there who’s making this happen. So now I got to I’ve got to perform. And one way or the other, you get this pressure feeling of what do I do? What if I don’t sell this? And guess what, when you’re sitting in a sales meeting, and you’re feeling well, if I what happens if I don’t sell this? Yeah, I bet the potential buyer knows that you’re under pressure. They can feel it, they can feel it. Yep. Yeah. Because you will you start to say things that you don’t really want to say you don’t want to come across a certain way. But you do whether you like it or not, right. So that’s one thing I think, is when you walk into a sales meeting, if you have these pressure feelings, ask yourself number one, why is why is it that I’m feeling this way? Is it because I’m the only one bringing businesses or I have to hit a number for myself, in order to make ends meet for my own life, my lifestyle, just to pay the bills, whatever it might be? That’s, that’s a little bit of a problem. Because you know, that’s a pressure that’s real. It’s not like you can just forget it, you know, just like, yeah, it’s not a big deal. It’s a real pressure, right? So, I think in but if you’re walking into a business, the issue becomes having that feeling when you walk into that business, you’re going to want to make sure that that that feeling doesn’t get brought out in your meeting. So, there’s a couple little things you need to probably do before you walk into a meeting, sit in your car, or before you hop on a call before you do anything with that meeting. Just beforehand. I think it’s really helpful to sit quietly and think to yourself, I would love to have this sale. But if I don’t get it, what happens. If I don’t get this one sale, I’ve got other sale possibilities. If you don’t get this one sale, what’s the big deal? Right? It’s in the big grand scheme of thing. It’s not right. You could probably say, there’s other leads that you’re working towards. That’s, that’s fine. I’ve got others. So, build on that a little bit. And that other question might be, what does your pipeline look like? If your pipeline is really thin, that pressure grows quickly, it’s almost exponential. Yep, you have 100 leads, you have 10 leads, there’s quite a difference. And that’s where the problem is think starts to show up. So, if you’re not getting the leads, if you’re not finding your leads, that’s one other area you can start to focus on. The other thing is, I think, if you’re, you know, sit there quietly thinking to yourself, if I’d love to have this, but it’s not that important if I do, because if I miss it, I miss it. I’ve got other possible leaves that I could close. Think about that and just know that it’s going to be okay. Second thing is, is what’s the worst case in the grand scheme of things any day of the week where you feel that pressure? If I miss a sale, is it a big deal? If I miss two sales? Is it a big deal? If I miss three sales, and keep counting until it makes where it is a big deal? That number is probably pretty high, because you’re having meetings and leads and all these other things happening? It’s more than you think that if you miss one sale, it’s probably not that big of a deal. If it’s a huge sale, sure. Okay, fine. But even that, you have to think to yourself, alright, if I don’t get this one big sale, let’s break it down. What if I had three third sized sales? Is that good? Yeah, that’s just as good, right. So, there’s, there’s different ways to look at it. And it just… dice it up to yourself that way, right. But let’s go back to the then to the bigger problem, which is, you’re feeling this because I feel like because you don’t have enough of a pipeline. And a little bit goes to having a plan. I know we put out an episode not too long ago, and we put out an episode last year, about the 12-week year, and measuring all of the pieces and all of the things you’re supposed to be doing on a monthly, weekly and daily basis, that is going to get you where you need to be. So, if I’m my assumption is that Monica has not created a, here’s what I need for the year, I need to hit this number for the year, let’s just make it a round number to 100. Let’s make it $100 or $100,000. Doesn’t matter. I don’t care if it’s $100. And I know I’m going to break it into four quarters, I need $25 every quarter, right? And then what does that break down per day, or per week, and now it’s a little bit more manageable. It’s bite size, and what’s the average sale size that you need to have per sale. So, if you have one that’s bigger, you actually get to get less sales. Yeah, quantity number, right, versus the dollar might be. So, if you sell a good-sized sale, you just knocked off a couple of smaller sales, if you if you only sell really small stuff, and then you have to get more bigger ones to offset that. That’s where there’s a little more pressure. So sometimes it’s easier going after the low hanging fruit, sometimes it’s not. But make sure that you’re focused on quantity of sales, not the dollar amount, and then make sure that they all add up together. And then the other piece of that is, is just knowing what you’re supposed to be doing every day to get you a lead. And to get you a sale. You know, it goes back to some of the stuff we talked about 12-week year, is it networking that you have to do to get your leads? Or the leads fed to you? Can you get leads outside of that? Can you get referrals? What are the ways that you’re going to bring in leads, so that you can multiply the number of leads you actually have coming in and make it so that it’s worth you looking at saying I got a I got a whole bunch of stuff going on here… Something’s going to close. I mean, it’s not that nothing will ever close, it’s going to relieve a little bit of pressure, because at some point, you’re going to be running so fast going meeting, meeting, meeting, meeting, and then you’ll find some people that actually have the pain and actually have the need. And you’ll be able to close those a lot easier than the rest of them. Right? Yep. If you think about measuring numbers, what are your thoughts about some of the more important numbers that she should be kind of going after or measuring? What do you think some of those are?

Lane  09:08

I’m wondering if she’s tracking how many other companies she’s talking to on a weekly or monthly bases, that are also talking to her clients to try to come up with some partnerships.

Rob  09:18

Yeah, that’s actually a really good one. Because if you if you think about it, anytime you’re partnering with somebody who sees the same types of clients, you do, there’s just a natural fit. So, what we know if she’s an electrical engineer, manufacturing companies, that’s seeing a certain type of client, and that could be construction companies that could be who knows what that kind of I mean, it’s kind of a generic statement of what she does, or what she’s selling. But when she gets into conversations with companies that also see those same types of buyers, there’s almost always referrals that go on, it happens all day, every day. And if she is not having those phone calls, those meetings every week, then she’s missing the opportunity to be laying some groundwork. The one thing that I think a lot of people don’t understand is sales is not an immediate thing. It’s not what you see is the sale happening. Right. But they don’t a lot of people don’t see the all the stuff that goes in before the sale. It’s like…

Lane  10:13

Yeah, there’s a lot of work.

Rob  10:14

Yeah, there’s tons and we’re all the stuff happens on behind the background and behind the scenes in the background. And nobody even recognizes nobody knows that that’s happening. And by the time the sale happens, it’s like, oh, wow, look at that. Look at that. They just happen to walk at the right time. No, no, they worked harder. It’s been, it’s been months and maybe years to get there, right? Yep. So that’s the kind of stuff what I will be looking at and measuring. Because if you’re looking at it from a 12-week year, or just a daily grind of what you need to be doing, then figure out those things that make you more effective at getting in front of the right people. And sometimes it’s not the actual customer or client that you want to talk to, it’s people that are related to and who talk to those people that will get you that. But really what you’re doing by setting up this plan of daily, weekly, monthly, for the quarter, you end up with really no surprises. So, her pressure of that she’s having a feeling of I’m going to miss my sales goal for the month, you should know that by seven days in or the end of the first week, you’ll know Yeah, right. And guess what, you got three weeks left, I mean, nothing better than I have three weeks behind now. But I got three, three weeks is a long time, you could do a lot of cold calling, you can do a lot of meetings in three weeks, you can make a lot of things happen in three weeks. And guess what, if you do that, and you’re good at it, and you start putting those three weeks together and making that happen, guess what happens the next month is even better, because you’ve done way more stuff already, than you used to. And the next month, obviously, you’re going to have all these meetings, and you’re not going to know what to do with yourself. That’s the key is getting ahead of it, rather than just doing things every day that you think you’re supposed to be doing. That’s not really driving you the numbers, if you’re not measuring and knowing that this is what’s causing it, you’re not going to you’re not going to get the sale. Yeah.

Lane  12:01

And you may end up down a little bit one month, but the next month with all the efforts you put in last month, may suddenly pay off and then you’ve got you end up two months ahead, based on what you close next month.

Rob  12:11

Yeah, yeah, that’s exactly what ends up happening. So, I just think it has to do with your own internal attitude. And I don’t mean that in a negative way, I just mean that and then like, I don’t really need this sale, there’s all these other leads going on. And you fix that by doing these measurement pieces along the way. And all these tasks are all these things that you end up doing along the way that gets you in front of all the people that you need to get in front of. So that you don’t have to be scrambling all the time, every week or every month or every quarter or whatever that might be. That’s internal. Let’s talk about external. What how do you how do you manage your boss barking down your neck all the time?

Lane  12:49

Yeah, that’s, that’s a little more difficult.

Rob  12:52

It can be. Have you ever had a boss that’s micromanage you? I know I have.

Lane  12:56

Yeah, I’ve had boss I’ve have, you know, you get clients to try to micromanager. You get? Yeah, yeah. So it’s, you’ve always you always have that it’s always I don’t know, for me, it’s usually gently telling them to back off and, and I’ve let me do my job. But yeah, that’s easier said than done sometimes.

Rob  13:14

So, yeah, sometimes, especially when you’re dealing with a boss. One time I had a boss, tell me more, I would say let me rephrase that. He taught me how to manage up. And he gave me a glimpse of it, it was a little bit weird, because he was teaching me this. And I was like, why is he telling me this? And then I realized, oh, first of all, I’m not doing that for him. So that he knows. But second, he ended up getting moved to another area in the company. And so he was telling me this, because he’s like, Hey, listen, you’re going to need some help with this, if you don’t do this next time, you’re going to be in trouble. So, I listened to what he said. And basically, what he said was, is, if you’re going to manage up, what you need to do is get ahead of your boss. And by doing that, it is things like, you know, for example, if it’s Monica and her boss comes in and says, where are we at with sales? What are where the, where are you at with your numbers? Where are you at, instead of waiting for your boss to come to you. Maybe there’s a time for you to come to her or him and say, alright, my goal today is to make this many calls have this many meetings with, or whatever that might be right. And by the end of this week, I should have this many. And if I can’t get that to happen, I’ll know that I’m just about even where I should be. If I… if I… if I hit that goal, I’m going to be ahead of for the month, for what I’m sure we going to be able to get to sale at the end of the month for whatever that number is. Or it could be the quarter whatever. However, you want to phrase that that makes sense for your numbers. But basically, what you’re telling your boss is, here’s my plan. Here’s what I think will happen if I hit my plan. Here’s what happens if I’m short and make sure that if you’re short of the plan, what your plan is you’re still hitting the goal that they’re expecting you to hit right. Like that’s so if you’re supposed to hit 10 sales for the week or the month or whatever it is. And your conversation says listen, if I hit my goal that I think I’m supposed to be hitting, I should be a little bit above goal. If I just miss it, I’m still going to be okay. I’m going to hit the goal. Okay, now, that’s good conversation, you actually have to do it. Yeah, absolutely, that’s the piece. But if you’re, if you’re serious about being in sales, that grind is not so hard. If you know that this is just the things you have to do every day, it’s going to be a lot of talking to people, a lot of getting meetings set up. And a lot of time spent doing these meetings. But when you start doing all those things, everything starts to happen, everything starts to move quickly. And when times are really good, it’s really easy. When times are tough, it’s a little more difficult. But once you identify who has, here’s the other key, I will say this, once you start to line up meetings, and you start to pre-qualify, so to speak, whether or not they’re really going to be a good meeting or not find out how much pain if they have any, because if they have any pain, great if they don’t have any pain, why meet? Why don’t you just make it a conversation. And let me check back with you in six months and see how things are going. Because you know, it sounds you guys are fine. And you do that with your 30-Second commercial. And that was one of our first episodes was how to do a 32nd commercial. And by the way, that is probably one of our most listened to episode, because a lot of people need help with that. And they’re all looking for how do I do this the right way. And to recap it, and I would suggest going back to it. But to recap it, it really comes down to finding out if they have a need based on what pain you share. So in your commercial, you’re going to talk about a pain that’s possible for them. One, two or three, I talked to people that have pain X, pain y, pain Z, and you’re going to phrase it in such a way that’s, you know, they’re frustrated with this, and they’re struggling with that or angry because whatever that might be, that might spark something with them to go tell me more… Yeah, we should probably talk, you got somebody, then that’s at least somewhat interested. Now it’s, you’re going to vet it some more. But that was what the conversation was like in that first episode. And you have to do that all the time, when you’re reaching out to these new people, once you find that they have the pain, you start to have those meetings, you’ll start to line up your pipeline so full, you’re going to try to eliminate some people I have, trust me on this, if you do this right, and you do this grind every day, after a while, you have to stop doing some of the grind, because you have too much. And at some point, you’re going to have to eliminate some people in your in your pipeline sooner. And sometimes you’re going to have to eliminate people as you get going… And if they’re in the pipeline you’re going to go, “this one is not serious.” They’re just, they’re just pulling me along. It is hard, because you got to figure out is this an S pulling me along? And they’re actually going to buy? Or is this and for those of you don’t know where an S is go back to one of our “How To Sell To An S Personality on the DISC.” You know, is that what that is? Or not? And or is this a real person that’s just pulling me along? For no reason. Right? So any other thoughts on external from your boss? Is there anything else that we could cover?

Lane  17:57

Rob, what if your sales goal is just playing too high? It’s unattainable?

Rob  18:03

Well says you.

Lane  18:06

Says I, not my boss. Yes.

Rob  18:09

Yeah, I listen, that happens. And sometimes they are a little high. I mean, we’ve all been there where they where you’ve got goals, they’re like, okay, this was a little bit ridiculous. But maybe there’s a reason. So how do you deal with your boss? Again, this goes back to managing up. So, what would be an think of it in terms of sales? Sell them by selling them by asking the questions. So, what questions would you ask if your boss said, “Here’s your goal?” And you think that’s way too high after spending some time doing it?

Lane  18:38

What… Why? Why is the how did you come up with that number?

Rob  18:42

Yeah, I’m curious how where did this number come from? Just because I have no idea. I’m newer here… Help me… help me so that I can get to feel what that’s like and what that’s from? I mean, there must be a reason. And the boss may say, I have no idea. That’s just the number they gave me. It could happen.

Lane  18:57

Suddenly, that’s the number we need to make to hit our revenue targets.

Rob  19:01

Yeah. And that’s more than likely the answer, right? So, they might listen, this is what it takes, we have to have this number from you, every person has their number. And again, it’s based on past performance, but also on where you should be based on what you’re as a new person could be able to do or should be able to do. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, okay? If that’s the case, and that’s what they set for a new person in that role, then you need to think about I’m a new person, I should be able to hit this what do I need to do and back it all up to the numbers? And then I would ask your boss, how many calls just helped me work through this because I don’t want to take a lot of time. So make sure how many how many of these how many of those how many that how many calls, how many meetings how many, whatever that might be to back into to get to that number just so I can start to plan based on your numbers in this organization and what you’ve heard and seen because I think I know the number but I don’t have the experience that you guys have you guys have datasets that I can I have no access to.

Lane  19:52

I’m thinking maybe where are all these leads going to come from? What’s the company doing to help me get these leads? The company has it expecting a huge pipeline, they’ve got to help you find someone who’s willing to fill that pipeline.

Rob  20:04

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And that’s the other thing is, okay, you’ve given me this number, how are you guys helping me get there? Because it’s if it’s just me having to go get it. All right, I need some help trying to figure that out. I know I got the job, because I’ve had some experience. But this is a different product is something I’m not quite understanding where and how this process works with you guys. As a result, everything’s a little just walk me through it. So, I get it. And they may give you a bunch of information that’s helpful, or they may not. And if they don’t, okay, you need to probably talk to one of your co-workers and say, this is what you guys have gotten for… I don’t know what your number is but doesn’t really matter. My goal is at a number. Where do you get all these leads? How does this work? Help me here…

Lane  20:44

Yeah, what’s marketing doing to bring the leads in?

Rob  20:45

Yeah, yeah, whatever that is, and start working through that and asking those questions, because that’ll make a big difference for you to understand it. And half the time understanding where the numbers came from is one thing. And then if your boss knows that you’re asking those questions, it shows that you have an interest in making sure that you’re doing your part. And I think that’s the managing part and that you’re trying to be proactive, you’re trying to make sure that you learn all the aspects of the business and why you’re doing what you’re doing. I think any good manager or leader would understand and knows that that’s the right thing, that somebody who cares about the business should be doing right. So that hopefully, that would help people who are running into that number where the number feels too high. The other thing to know is that sometimes when you’re new, it’s just a guess, you know, based on data, and you may not be able to do that, I think I would go back to I’ve heard of salespeople who, you know, hit a sales number, and they like, I can’t believe I hit this number. And there’s a self-limiting piece that goes into play, which is like, I can never sell a million dollars’ worth of worth of business. And the reality is, yeah, you can but you’re telling yourself, you can’t and or I could never sell this product, the service for $20,000. It’s not worth it. Well, yes, you can. If the pain is there, the need is there. And it’s worth the value of what you’re selling. You’re not scamming people, it’s the real value of this. And when you turn around, and they use what you’ve sold them for $20,000. And they can make money and make $200,000 every year on that $20,000 purchase. It’s worth the $20,000, you shouldn’t be ashamed of it. But sometimes there’s that self-limiting piece. So, there’s a lot of aspects that go into this thing with Monica, that we could dive into one thing after another. But I think the piece that we should all remember is one, is it internal? Is it between your two ears? Is it… is it just in your head? Because if it is, that’s okay, there’s things you can do to get around that. I think you need to work with your manager. And I think you should ask yourself the question, what happens if I miss a sale? What’s the worst case? How many times can I miss it? And what’s my plan? How am I planning my workload to get to where I can be not worrying about daily or weekly numbers? It’s just stuff coming at me all the time. And then the other thing is, if it’s external, how do you deal with that. And if you’re not sure how to deal with some of your external stuff, your boss managing up and those kinds of things, start to do some research on that just you know, there’s audio podcasts on managing up I know, there’s whether it’s audio books or books that you can look at and read. And listen to that just you know, the help you understand how to manage up, those types of things are very valuable when you’re in a corporation. If you’re a small business, and you’re like I got a daily grind of trying to get new business and stuff. That’s… welcome to the real world, right? That’s the way it is all day long. But it’s the same. It’s the same set your daily, weekly, monthly goals, make it happen. And it’s not the sale that’s the goal. It’s the activities that are the goal. Any other comments from you Lane,

Lane  23:45

Nothing else from the peanut gallery.

Rob  23:47

All right. Well, hopefully that helps everybody and until next time, Slow Down and Close More.

V/O  23:55

Thank you for listening to The Slow Pitch. Do you have a question about sales? Call or text your question at (608) 708-SLOW. That (608) 708-7569. Or you can email them to Slow Down and Close More.

Rob  24:44

Thanks as always for listening today. If you liked this podcast, please subscribe, and leave us a review. We really appreciate it. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook at The Slow Pitch. We were mixed today as always by Johnny Polakis. And we were produced by High Gravity Studios. Music credits and other notes are in the show notes section on And we’ll be back with another episode soon.

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