Putting Undue Stress on Yourself is Self-destructive

Robert Terson

One of the things I’ve come to understand from conversing with the hundreds of salespeople I’ve encountered since retiring in 2010 is this: stress plays a huge role in their business lives; it’s a constant phenomenon that takes a huge toll on them, and the terrible irony is that it costs them a ton of lost sales…along with the monetary remuneration those lost sales represent.

Stress not only kills us literally, it kills our chances of success, as well. It’s a poison you must guard against, protect yourself from. It’s something you must be constantly aware of every time you open your briefcase to give a presentation.

If you go into a sales presentation with the pressure-packed mindset that you have to make the sale, if you’re fearful of not making the sale, if your worried mind is concentrating on all the negatives that might befall you if you don’t make the sale, you’re operating with a self-imposed 500-pound weight on your back that’s at best going to limit your success, at worst destroy your career, and could eventually even cost you your life.

The vast majority of us operate at peak efficiency when we’re calm and relaxed, devoid of fear, worry, apprehension. It’s the same easy-going state of mind that enables a great quarterback like Joe Montana to take his team down the field for a game-winning touchdown as the clock ticks off the final seconds of a Super Bowl.

In Selling Fearlessly I said that selling is a numbers game. I’ve always believed that. Give a requisite number of excellent presentations every week and your closing percentage will enable you to achieve the level of success you demand for yourself. That’s how I worked selling advertising to small businesses for 40 years. I went into every presentation expecting to succeed, hoping to succeed, but with the knowledge that I was not going to always succeed; that was just the way it was—no-one bats a thousand. I was going to give an Oscar-winning performance every time out, the very best I had in me (so there couldn’t be any regrets, recriminations), but that was it. There were no sweaty palms, mental gyrations about the consequences of not making the sale. Uh-uh! That was not allowed. I let the numbers take care of me; no one presentation was a live-or-die proposition, stress was not part of the deal.

I’m strongly suggesting you adopt this policy for your selling career, too. Always give it your professional best—both in preparation and execution—but never allow stress to enter the picture. You don’t have to sell them all! You’re not going to sell them all. So why drive yourself into a loony-tunes tizzy, or worse, an early grave, by demanding of yourself that you must sell them all? Why demand impossible perfection from yourself? Instead, enjoy the possibilities.

Relax. You’re going to sell your share. Relax, work hard and efficiently, and know your business backwards, forwards, and sideways, and…trust me…you’ll sell more than your share.


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