3 Hidden Sources of Sales Pressure and How Sellers Can Eliminate Them

BY Jessica Helinski
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Sales pressure can come from many sources, and while you try your best to keep it managed, you may be overlooking the most subtle causes. Advice for keeping pressure in check often covers the big culprits, like how to face tough quotas or manage time more productively. But small, “hidden” sources can also wreak big havoc on your stress levels. Ari Galper, writing for LinkedIn, emphasizes the importance of managing both big and small sources of sales pressure to maintain your emotional health. “If you're skeptical about being able to eliminate subtle sales pressure, you're holding yourself back from making a breakthrough in your sales life,” he explains. “It’s not hard to do, it just takes practice, to help you with this.”

3 ways to tackle hidden sales pressure 

One of the most important, and overlooked, sources of pressure actually come from within. Being mindful of your self-​talk can have a major impact on your mindset and the stress you feel. Many sellers brush off the importance of self-​talk, but one’s inner voice carries a lot of influence. Sales is a mental game, and you aren’t doing yourself any favors if you self-​impose too much pressure. Pay attention to your thoughts before the next sales call or meeting with your manager. How do you talk to yourself? What language do you use? Dr. Marty Seldman, in an article for Selling Power, shares some questions that sellers should ask themselves when considering their self-talk:

  • Is what I’m saying to myself and focusing on helping or hindering my sales effectiveness?
  • What could I say to myself that would be more useful and help me reach my goals?
  • How can I make this new self-​talk an established part of my inner vocabulary and an automatic mental skill?

By taking time to analyze how you speak to yourself and focusing on better practices, you can alleviate an enormous amount of sales pressure that was entirely self-imposed. 

Consider your language

Another subtle source of sales pressure also involves how you speak, but this time, it’s what you say to others. You may not even realize it, but the language you use can increase or alleviate the pressure you feel. As Galper explains, using jargon and pushy language can trigger pressure–and not just for the prospect. He recommends a more laid-​back approach to communicating.

Try to imagine that your potential client is a friend,” he writes. “How would your language change? I would bet that you’d communicate with spontaneous words and phrases that would spring out of you naturally and allow a trusting connection to emerge, in contrast to ‘me’ language designed to make the sale.”

While you’ve likely heard professional tips for adapting your language so that it’s appealing to buyers, don’t forget that it can also have an impact on you. 

Adjust your approach

The way you view and approach selling can contribute to the sales pressure you feel. If you look at sales as a game to play and win, you’re likely fueling stress without even realizing it. Sellers need to shake off the burden of the traditional stereotype of the always-​be-​closing rep of the past. This approach not only clashes with what buyers want, but it also can be a hidden source of pressure. Galper points out that once you embrace selling as helping others succeed, a sense of relief will follow once that burden is lifted. 

For inspiration on adopting this approach and selling with a buyer-​first mentality, take a listen to this episode of the Manage Smarter podcast

While it’s important to take notice of the big sources of sales pressure, don’t overlook the small contributors either. Tackling these “hidden” causes can help you cut down on the stress you’re feeling. This will inevitably improve your efforts, your interactions with prospects and your sales.

Photo by Mizuno K