Have you ever felt nervous before a sales call?
While sales can be an incredibly rewarding profession, it can also be one of the most stressful and emotionally draining jobs. You must be confident and emotionally engaged, and be prepared to ask the right sales questions and know what to say on the spot.
And this is why I thought I would never be good at sales.
I've always been introverted, so I never imagined looking forward to taking calls with strangers to try to persuade them to give me money. But as a bootstrapped entrepreneur, I had to learn how to sell, and do it well, since I was going to have thousands of sales conversations if I wanted my company to succeed.
Because I'm a writer, learning what to say to persuade potential customers wasn't hard. However, getting myself to actually do it well and comfortably was hard. For years, I dreaded every sales call I had, but I would force myself to do it anyway because I knew I needed to, like going to a gym.
Selling was a torturous struggle for me, that is until I learned how to pump myself up to get excited for my calls, calming my nerves.
Here are 8 ways that you can use to get psyched up before hopping on a sales call or going to a meeting with a prospective client.
1. Take a power pose
You may have seen that TED talk about "power poses" from Harvard Business School professor, Amy Cuddy. Basically, doing a power pose for as little as two minutes can boost your confidence by stimulating testosterone and lowering your cortisol levels, which cause stress.
So if you want to feel more powerful or increase your tolerance for risk, try standing like "Wonder Woman" or "Superman" for a few minutes before your next sales call.
2. Do a victory dance
I have a secret that none of my prospective customers know: I do a little "victory dance" before almost every sales call.
It wakes me up and makes me feel alive, while also helping me get physically and emotionally "in the zone." While this may sometimes make it awkward in the office, I don't care because it helps me close deals.
3. Play your favorite song
Have you ever heard people say "music is like a drug?" Well, neuroscience has found that listening to our favorite music actually releases dopamine. Depending on what you listen to and how your tastes are, music can soothe your nerves or increase your levels of excitement and alertness.
I personally like to play songs by Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, M.I.A., and Sia before my calls because their beats and lyrics make me get in the zone and feel more confident.
4. Prepare your environment
What do you need to have around you during a sales call to be comfortable and successful?
Does your throat get dry when you talk? Do noisy coworkers stress you out?
Whether you need to get plenty of water to have on hand or lock yourself in a room with a sign to tell people to stay out and be quiet, these little rituals prep both your environment and your mind.
5. Meditate for 2 minutes
Not only does meditation help reduce stress, Harvard neuroscientists have also found that it actually changes your brain, thickening crucial regions that improve cognition and self-control.
Rather than trying to find 20 minutes to meditate, and not doing it at all, just make 2 minutes, and do it consistently. You don't have to do it before every sales call, but at least do it before your first one.
6. Do affirmations
The subconscious mind can't distinguish between what you imagine and see. That's why repeating affirmations can train your subconscious mind to believe that they are true, causing you to do things that will actually make them happen.
For example, saying to yourself, "I can close any deal," will actually make you more confident.
It's even more powerful to write affirmations down because they engage different senses.
7. Visualize the outcome you want
First, imagine what it looks like to have a productive sales conversation and how that feels. After thinking about your ideal short-term outcome, you can also think about the long-run. What will closing that deal look like? How will it feel? How big will your bonus be? What will you use the money for?
The more it seems real to you, the more your mindset will be prepared to actually win.
8. Confront rejection
The world won't end if you don't close a deal. Likewise, from a statistics perspective, there is no way you can win every time.
Yes, great salespeople must be "hungry" to succeed. However, thinking about what it's like to lose and why that might happen will help you spot potential objections better, and can also make it easier to let go of a deal when you realize someone isn't really qualified to buy from you.
What do you do to pump yourself up for sales meetings? I'd love to hear.