Why Pressure is Important in Sales
Billie Jean King is a former world No. 1 tennis player who won 39 grand slam titles including 12 in singles, 16 in doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She is also a pioneer for women’s professional sports and an advocate for gender equality and social justice.
Billie Jean knows a thing or two about pressure!
Once asked how she coped with all the pressure, King answered with one of the best quotes in sports history: “Pressure is a privilege. It only comes to those who earn it.”
She understood that the only reason she was under so much pressure was because she was so successful. She found a way to make the pressure into something that gave her confidence and inspired her to keep working hard.
The same mindset can also be applied to sales. The best salespeople are usually under the most pressure because they are the ones making the most sales and the biggest deals for their companies.
Finding a way to use that pressure in a positive way – as King did – is critical if you hope to reach your full potential and maintain it for a long period of time.
Pressure Maintains Engagement to the Sales Process
The need for pressure in sales is immediately apparent when you step into the office of an unmotivated sales team. What you will likely see is people doing the bare minimum, not striving to boost their numbers or go after any whales.
For a sales team to be successful, there has to be some level of pressure to keep it engaged in the sales process. They should have something compelling them to get their work done as well as they can to boost productivity.
If you are a team leader, you need to be careful though because engineering pressure for pressure’s sake can lead to high levels of burnout and low employee retention rates. If pressure is not inherent to your sales process, try ratcheting things up a notch with competitions to get your team members competing against each other.
This can also make mundane tasks feel more rewarding as there is a reason to get them done. This will eventually have a compounding effect where the sales team becomes better at their job as competition breeds more competition. Additionally, individual team members will feel more confident and more motivated because of their success in the contests.
Side Note: You do not have to get too crazy with the rewards for these contests. You would be surprised the lengths people will go to just to get a free lunch once a month!
Separating the Best from the Mediocre
As the team environment becomes more competitive and the pressure mounts, unmotivated and mediocre members will start to fall away while high performers will continue to shine.
One thing that should be noted is that the worst members of a team might not necessarily need to be removed from the lineup. Their abilities may be better suited to sales support or marketing efforts, or they may just need a little more time to develop their skills.
The bad team members are the ones that fold under the pressure because they are unwilling to change and grow. In cases where this happens, you might want to consider cutting them loose. This also applies to people who cheat and use unscrupulous methods to be competitive.
Pressure is a great tool for promoting growth and those who are willing to grow will be the ones that persevere and enjoy success.
Ensures Critical Successes
Pressure is important in sales because it pushes salespeople to be best they can be. It increases conversion rates, boosts morale and improves companies’ bottom lines. Remember, not every team warrants the same level of pressure, and it can be a tricky thing to get it exactly right. Ask any jeweler and they will tell you; nothing produces a higher quality diamond than the right amount of pressure, so it is definitely something worth working on.