Suffering from Sales Performance Anxiety?

By Liz Wendling – 

What happens to you when you are knocked off your game? Do you choke in a pressure selling situation?


I forgot what I was supposed to say.

You’re in an important sales meeting or presentation. All eyes are on you. You’re discussing your features and benefits. You highlight your expertise. You showcase your value. You are on top of your game.

Then suddenly, out of right field, you are asked a question about how your services differ from your competition. Then someone else asks why your pricing is higher than others.

You were not prepared in that moment to discuss your services and discounting your pricing. You fall apart. You choke. Your emotions get the best of you. You forget everything you learned in sales training and role playing exercises.

You are suffering from sales amnesia. Sales amnesia can also be described as performance anxiety.

Emotions are powerful. Emotions control our thinking. Emotions affect behavior and actions. Many people know exactly what they need to do when they’re selling. Often in tough selling situations, salespeople let their emotions dictate their behavior. What happens to you when you are knocked off your game? Do you choke in a pressure selling situation?

Internal pressure raises stress and anxiety. Pressure and anxiety disrupts the execution of your skills.

Here is how it usually plays out.

The sales skills and techniques you practice in role play scenarios and low risk sales situations are easy to utilize and remember. When they are most needed during high risk, challenging and difficult sales situations they are not utilized and forgotten.

Despite the role playing, intense training and attending seminars/workshops, too many individuals fail to do what they know and have been trained to do. They lack the ability to perform at crucial times and sales amnesia kicks in. Gone are the techniques they trained so hard to learn.

Their emotions are triggered and their skills go out the window. Sales amnesia will result in saying, “I knew what I needed to say but I forget to say it,” or “I know what I am supposed to do but I don’t always remember to do it.”

Many times there is a big gap between knowledge and translating that knowledge into action. This is the much written about topic of the knowing-doing gap. People resolve to change their behaviors.

Quite often, little or no action is taken. They revert to their old patterns. They know what they need to do but don’t do it. It is like losing weight. Everyone on the planet knows how to lose weight. Just eat less and move more.

But few actually succeed because knowing how to eat and exercise right is much harder than taking consistent action to eat and exercise right. When knowing and doing are combined, the results are powerful.

To stop suffering from sales amnesia, I teach my clients to keep their mind in the present moment and maintain mental focus. The here and now is where you perform best. The regrets of the past and the uncertainty of the future should not interfere with the present.

Focus on what you are doing. Understand that emotions are welling up. Know what you need to do to move through a moment of amnesia. Breathe, concentrate and let your skills come back into focus.

Stay relaxed both mentally and physically. Relaxation is one of the strongest keys to unlocking the doors to peak performance. You can’t reach your performance potential when you emotions are driving your actions. Enjoy yourself. Get into the flow. Trust your skills and the process.