If someone asks me the toughest jobs out there, i will definitely nominate sales as one of the top 10 toughest jobs. The reason is simple – because of the sales pressure a sales person faces day in and day out.
However, it is important to note that if you asked the experienced sales person, they will always say that sales pressure comes in phases. There are phases when sales pressure is very high whereas there are times when sales pressure is low. The one who is able to adapt to the tide, can survive easily in sales. In fact, when a sales man is performing, there is no one as motivated or happy as a sales man who has achieved his targets.
There are many reasons for this sales pressure, which are discussed point by point in this article. We will also guide you on how
Here are 9 reasons for Sales pressure and tips to manage sales pressure
1) Sales Targets
The number 1 reason for sales pressure is the target given to you as a salesman. For some sales people, suddenly having monthly targets is difficult. Achieving targets sounds a mammoth task especially when you are new to sales. Even experienced people experience huge sales pressure when they are not achieving their targets.
How to manage sales pressure of targets – It is quite simple. The first thing you have to do is understand the concept of sales pipeline. The one who has the strongest sales pipeline is the one who will achieve his targets regularly. As a result, you should focus completely on adding more prospects in your sales pipeline. This will help you in achieving your targets. You can even talk openly to your seniors that you are not getting prospects and they might help you with the same.
Alternatively, divide the sales target into weeks or even days. If you have to achieve 30 sales a month, then target 1 sale a day. Some days you may get 0 but other days you might get 2 or even 4. Learn to adjust your sales pressure of target achievements.
2) Behavior of sales person
Another reason if you feel an increase in sales pressure is due to the fact that your own personality is not made for sale. If you see yourself saying a huge YES, then you know the reason why you are not able to manage sales pressure. It is possible that you have a HUGE expectation from yourself and you are demotivating yourself by expecting too much.
It is also possible that you are not an extrovert and meeting and interacting with other people is getting you down. You are just not good at it. Thus, your behavior and personality traits do matter a lot. If you take stress easily, if you expect too much of yourself or you dont want to work under target pressures, then these are personality traits which are difficult to change.
How to manage behavioral sales pressure – The number 1 thing you have to learn is to manage your own expectations from yourself or from others. If you are not achieving targets, then there might be many reasons for it. Blaming yourself or keeping high expectations won’t help.
Instead try to wait some more time for the targets to be achieved or your personality to adjust. Once that is done, you can re assess whether sales pressure has gone down. Give it a couple of months. If you still feel that your personality is not able to manage sales pressure, then it is time to give another career a go. Preferably one with low pressure or one where you have good confidence.
3) Internal politics
Let’s face it, because of their aggressive nature and because of the sales pressure, some of the worst politics are played in the sales department. Everyone wants to achieve their targets and just like a bad fish spoils the whole pond, there will definitely be some extrovert, over confident sales people in your department who are heavily involved in office politics, snatching leads or licking the boss’s ass.
Because of this internal politics, you feel that you are being sidelined or that you are not being given enough attention. Or worse, these office politics are being played on you. This results in you being distracted and giving in to sales pressure.
How to manage sales pressure due to internal politics – I will tell you three words to manage this sales pressure – IGNORE IT ALL. Internal politics wont make a difference if you are hard working and if you have the right sales pipeline. Get the pipeline right and all those politicians will shut up. If you have to, plan some aggressive measures to convert clients. But the more you focus on your customers and not on these politicians, the better it will be for you. It is better if you be neutral and not try to be friends or enemies with the office politicians.
4) External competition
One of the reasons you find it difficult to achieve sales targets is because of external competition. If you are a top brand in your industry, then it is easy to achieve targets. But even then, the expectations keep growing year on year. It is worse when you are NOT the top brand of your industry and there are other strong external competitors.
How to manage this type of sales pressure? Gain some sales skills. Two of the best sales skill which will help you is knowledge of your own product and communications. With knowledge of your product, you can defeat competitors by telling your customers of your value additions to the product. This is especially useful if your product has technical advantages over competitors.
Besides this, use the right communication to communicate all the advantages of your products. Follow up, convince and convert the customer. External competitors will always be a source of sales pressure and the only way you can beat them is by being a better sales force then the competitor’s.
5) Are products and brand saleable?
Only external competition does not matter. What matters is the strength of your own brand and product. As discussed before, if your brand or product is not standing strong in your industry, sales will become very difficult and you will find an insurmountable sales pressure. You might give your best, but if the product is flawed, then the sales will not happen and you will drown in sales pressure.
How to manage sales pressure due to poor products? Well, to be frank, the only option in such cases is to give feedback to the management and tell them that the product is facing huge odds against competition. It is not a matter of just reaching customers. You might reach 1000’s of customers, but if the product itself does not have value, then the customer will not buy.
You can also trust your management (especially if they are new) that they will come up with better products down the line. If the management agrees that the product is poor in quality, then there will not be much sales pressure because they know that the products are poor. However, if the management turns a deaf ear to your request, then unfortunately it is time to jump ship. This is the only scenario where i will advice a sales person to shift to better pastures and to a company which understands the industry they are in and wants to do better.
6) Customer rejection and Perceived low status
One of the toughest jobs a sales man has to do is cold calling. Time and time again you find clients hanging the cell phone out right or slamming the door in your face. Sales people have to consistently go through sales rejections. But not only are they rejected outright, they have to go through “Ego punishments” because this rejection hurts the ego of any human being.
The power in sales lies with the customer and not the seller. The customer can any time choose to cancel the meeting or he can choose to reject the product. There is no power in the hand of the sales person. As a result, there is a perceived low status of sales and they have to face ignorance and rejection time and time again.
Managing sales pressure at such times – The best thing to do is to stop taking rejections personally. The customer is not rejecting you. He does not even know you. He is just rejecting the company you are representing. And he has the right to do that. Even if your company is the best, it will be rejected 50% of the times or more.
You just have to manage the customers perception and try to reach the customer at the best time possible. In digital sales, a lot of science is gone in the study of the best time to drop an email to a customer or to call him for a pitch. Similarly, there is a lot of science on customer rejection but the bottomline is – All this is business and not personal. So there is no point in taking sales pressures due to rejection.
7) Working alone and traveling
A sales job is not an office job. As a result, you find that sales people are most of the time traveling from one place to another. Many times this travel turns hectic thereby causing a resulting sales pressure. Alternate times, a sales person is not able to manage sales pressure of working alone. He wants to work more in comfort levels with other people in a team.
How to manage this – The job is as per the preference of the sales person and you should just your learning levels. If you are learning a lot because of the traveling you are doing, then you need to understand that there are pros and cons of each job profile out there. However, if the stress (mentally or physically) is too much, then you can approach the management for an in house sales profile or some other profile which suits you.
8) Change is consistent
One of the most consistent thing in sales is change. Its a paradox isn’t it? Your clients and customers keep changing. Your team members keep changing from time to time as attrition is quite high in sales. You might be shifted to work in a different geography. Company might bring in more products or different product line to sell. Overall, there are lot of changes for which the sales person has to adapt.
How to manage sales pressure due to changes – We again go back to the basics of managing sales pressure – Focus on your clients, maintain a sales pipeline and have a holistic viewpoint. These things will help you adapt regardless of the changes going around you. And all changes are not bad. You might have been promoted as a team leader and you have a new team. In such cases, the change is positive. Look at the positive side of the change to keep yourself motivated.
The one tip to manage sales pressure
The best tip i can tell you to manage sales pressure is to adapt to the tide. Be like a boat. A boat adapts even if the tide is huge or small. However, it can adapt only to certain levels of a tide. Beyond that it is not the capability of the boat to adjust.
Similarly, if you are just facing a bit larger tide, then instead of wilting to the pressure, try to adapt to this tide. There will be a time when the tied is small and you can sail ahead.
However, if you feel the tide is too big for you, then by all means, try for something different in life. But ultimately, if you are able to adapt to the tide, then sales has a lot of money and incentives to pay you – something most other jobs won’t be able to give.