Winning the emotional war in sales

Let’s be real for a second: we’re all stressed. There is not a single person on earth right now who is not stressed. Some of us are facing the health crisis with valid concern for our friends and families. Some of us are looking at a completely new work situation. And it’s easy to get caught up in the panic that is circling the globe now.

For salespeople in particular, emotions are high. Sales numbers are fluctuating. The future feels uncertain. We are all at war with our emotions.

If you want to have any chance of navigating these challenging times ahead, you’ll need to be even better at managing yourself and your emotions than you have ever been.

1. Face your emotional state

Way too many people are spending too much time in a state of mind that is not productive. There are tons of opinions floating around the internet and the media about COVID-19, and whichever camp you’re, it takes a lot of mental energy to be there.

On top of that, your daily life has probably been disrupted, you may be quarantined at home with your family, and negative news is constantly bombarding all of us.

It’s time to reset your mind and deal with the stress you’re facing. One of the best things you can do is talk out your feelings with a trusted friend or write them down in an empty notebook.

Start by writing down the answers to these questions:

  • What am I feeling about this situation?
  • Where did I get my information?
  • Who in my network can I learn from and gain valuable advice from on how to continue?
  • What is the best-case/worst-case scenario of this situation?

Expressing your emotions will instantly help you to calm your anxiety, even if it’s just to yourself. This is how you start to understand and analyze what you’re feeling, and avoid the distraction of worrying about your business, your clients, your team, etc.

First, focus on your own status, then you can think about the outside world.

2. Manage your time and your habits

In a time of crisis, the way you spend your time and your good habits will instantly get thrown out the window.

However, there are certain areas of your life that you need to manage in order to stay healthy and work productively through this crisis:

Maintain healthy habits

If you feel you’ve been sleeping badly, eating more junk food, and being less physically active, you’re not alone.

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Unfortunately, all of these things lead you to become the worst version of yourself. When you eat badly, sleep badly, and don’t exercise, you’ll feel bad about yourself and you’ll end up making bad decisions that could affect you in the long-term.

Don’t let this crisis kill the good habits you’ve worked so hard to build. Click to tweet →

Focus on these three things:

  • Sleep well, and sleep enough
  • Fight the urge to pig out on junk food
  • Work out every single day

You may not win every single day, but work on the things you can and do your best to maintain good habits.

Fight social media addiction

Have you noticed that your average screen time has gone up since the outbreak started? Me too. That’s why it’s important to set a conscious goal to stop spending so much time on your phone, and especially on social media.

This bulk information consumption is not helping you to calm down: in fact, it could easily be making the situation worse by feeding your phone addiction, not your peace of mind.

So instead of checking social media every five minutes, set a goal to only check it a couple of times a day.

Set times to work and times to relax

With so many people suddenly thrown into working from home, this is an especially important point. Make sure that these two things don’t overlap.

Don’t be distracted while you work. Don’t work while you’re trying to relax. Separate work time and non-work time. Click to tweet →

It’s also essential to create time to relax during the day. This will help you decompress and calm down, allowing you to get a fresh start with work again when the time comes.

3. Expect disruptions

If you’re trying to reach for perfection during a crisis, you’re going to drown. Unfortunately, your days from here on out are not going to be perfect: there will be disruptions, breaking news, and changes that you’ll have to adapt to without warning.


This is especially true for parents with children at home. If your family is stuck at home, you’ll have to deal with children being upset and, frankly, being children. In this situation, you need to accept and adapt. Be human, be flexible.

Don’t fight reality, because you’re going to lose. Instead, be ready to adapt to it. Click to tweet →

All our lives are disrupted right now, and things won’t always go according to plan. You won’t always eat healthy food or get the energy up to do a home workout. Your kids might interrupt an important Zoom meeting. You might give in and watch TV for a couple of hours when you were supposed to be working.

None of that matters. Don’t let small disruptions ruin your day: instead of worrying about how you spent the last two hours, focus on what you can do right now. This will help you to keep moving forward.

4. Find ways to effectively combat stress at work

For salespeople, the COVID-19 outbreak has introduced new stressors into the workplace: How do I mobilize a remote sales team? How do I sell during a crisis like this? What happens if my sales numbers drop? To successfully deal with this kind of stress, you can’t ignore it: you must face it head-on and deal with it.

Here’s my simple remedy for stress: Take action.

If you don’t act, your stress levels will stay at the same frequency and you won’t be able to work effectively.

Not sure where to start?

Here are two ways you can begin to take action:

  1. Talk to someone about the problems you’re facing
  2. Formulate an immediate gameplan

First, talk to someone. While COVID-19 is something we’ve never faced before, the business struggles associated with it aren’t new. Others have survived steep economic downturns and recessions, and during those times they’ve faced the problems you’re currently facing.

If you followed the advice above, you may have written down some names of people in your network who you can learn from. If so, reach out to those people: they can provide context to the situation and help you look at the issues from a new angle.

Second, formulate an immediate game plan. Throw out your plans for Q1 and Q2: they’re worthless now. The world situation is changing by the day (or sometimes by the hour) so you can’t make long-term plans.

Instead, focus on what you need to do right now. What steps can you take right now to help your business run smoothly or to continue performing well at your job? Click to tweet →

Since you can’t control the future, don’t waste time stressing over it. Set your game plan and take immediate action on the things you can control.

5. Practice mindfulness

Tell me if this sounds familiar: you’re in the middle of a long list of prospects that you need to call, but your head just isn’t in the game. While you’re on the phone to potential customers, you’re silently worrying about the outbreak, its effect on your family, your job, and whether or not you’re going to make your quota. All of a sudden, you realize they’ve stopped talking and you weren’t listening to a word they said.

Don’t worry: they probably weren’t listening to anything you said either.


With so much stress in the world and in your mind, it may seem impossible to focus on your work. But if you’re not focused, your prospects won’t be either. You’ll each be talking, but no one will be listening. That’s bad for sales, which is bad for your quota, which creates an endless cycle of worry and stress

Stop that cycle by practicing mindfulness.

Here’s the 3-step routine I use to reduce anxiety and get my head back in the game:

  1. Relax and reset
  2. Envision your desired outcome
  3. Prime your mind

First, relax and reset. Before your next sales call, take a few deep breaths, relax the muscles in your body, and let go of whatever was on your mind before. If you’ve just been catching up on the latest news, consciously conclude that line of thought. You don’t want to carry over all that negativity into your next conversation.

Just make sure that there’s a clear break between whatever activity you were just engaged in and what the next activity is, and redirect your mind into the present moment.

Next, envision your desired outcome. How do you want this call to play out? How would you start, and how would the prospect respond? What’s the best-case scenario for this call?

Finally, prime your mind. Everyone is distracted right now, so you’ll need to make a conscious effort to be clear and intentional in your next sales conversation. Don’t let their distraction disrupt your focus. Don’t let your conversations be overshadowed by the current world situation.

The easiest way to prime your mind is to ask yourself these 3 simple questions:

  • What’s my goal?
  • What are the potential obstacles and how am I going to overcome them?
  • What do I want to learn from this call?

Then pick up the phone and make it happen. Your sense of clarity and direction will help you lead the conversation, instead of letting world events lead it for you. Click to tweet →

Being mindful isn’t just for sales calls: you can use this 3-step routine to help you focus on almost any task that you need to complete. While this won’t eliminate your stress completely, being mindful helps you exist in the present moment and relax a bit despite the circumstances. That, in turn, helps you work more efficiently, and by accomplishing the tasks you set out to do, you’ll be in a better state of mind moving forward.

Remember: learning to deal with stress now means you’ll be able to keep dealing with it in the future.

While managing your emotions in a high-pressure situation is difficult and exhausting, this is a life-lesson that will continue to serve you in the long-term.

Hopefully, COVID-19 will be reduced to a small blip in our memories soon, but the stress-management skills you learn during this time will prepare you for any new stressors that pop up in the future. Click to tweet →

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