Anticipatory Anxiety: The Invisible Barrier in Sales Prospecting

The importance of prospecting cannot be overstated. It’s the lifeline to new opportunities, fresh leads, and potential clients. Prospecting requires salespeople to step into unpredictability – the unknown.

Many salespeople need to pay more attention to this pivotal activity. Often, the root cause is an unseen psychological barrier: Anticipatory Anxiety.

What is Anticipatory Anxiety? It is that uneasy feeling of dread or fear about a future event or situation. For salespeople, this often translates into the fear of rejection or embarrassment of reaching out to potential clients. This anxiety can manifest in various ways – from subtle procrastination to more overt avoidance behaviors.

How Does It Impact Prospecting?

When a salesperson experiences Anticipatory Anxiety, their mind is often flooded with negative scenarios:

                What if they say ‘no”?

                What if I say something stupid?

                What if they’re not interested?

                What will they think of me?

                What if they ask me a question I don’t know the answer to?

These looming questions create a mental block, deterring salespeople from making the call or doing proactive outreach. Over time, this avoidance has a snowball effect. The less frequently you prospect, the more intimidating it becomes, resulting in missed opportunities and stunted sales growth.

Sales Call Reluctance is the emotional hesitation to leverage relationships, proactively prospect and promote.  It is fear – which is a mental response to a “perceived” threat. Imagine a salesperson with a sack over their head. The sack serves as a self-protective barrier.  What are they attempting to protect?

The Power of Specialized Coaching

There is good news!  Like many challenges in sales, Anticipatory Anxiety can be overcome with the right tools and mindset. This is where a Sales Call Reluctance Coach comes into play.

Coaching to Overcome Sales Reluctance focuses on:

  1. Identifying the Root Cause: Before addressing the specific type of reluctance, it’s essential to understand its origins. Is it past rejections? Lack of confidence in the product or service? Fear of the unknown? Pinpointing the type of reluctance tailors the solution. Telephobia is one of the 16 types of Sales Reluctance. It is one of the easiest to overcome.  I did it in one morning in my office.
  2. Cultivating Curiosity is a powerful tool: Curiosity diverts attention from internal anxious thoughts to the external world.  Curiosity builds confidence to learn. When you are curious about prospects, you’re more likely to have positive and constructive conversations.
  3. Shifting Mindset: Learn to reframe your perspective. Instead of seeing prospecting as a potential threat, it’s an opportunity – a chance to learn scientifically proven techniques on how to initiate contact with potential buyers. The miracle is in changing the mindset from self-centric to value-genic.
  4. Role-playing and practice: Salespeople become comfortable and confident with the process by repeatedly simulating prospecting scenarios. Over time, this diminishes the anxiety associated with the unknown.  Chris Voss, former FBI negotiator, famously says, “When under pressure, salespeople do not rise to the occasion; they fall to the highest level of preparation.”

Anticipatory Anxiety silently hinders your performance and potential.  With awareness, understanding, and the guidance of a Master Sales Call Reluctance Coach, this invisible barrier can be dismantled. As you break free from this invisible barrier, you can unlock new levels of success, drive, and opportunity in your career.