How We Exploit Anxiety in Sales

Ryan O'Hara
April 4, 2024
5 min read

Many of us people in sales are preying on people's anxiety... and we just don't realize it. Let's dive in.

Did you know that it is estimated 33% of people in the United States will suffer with some form an anxiety disorder in their lifetime? That's roughly 109 million people right now.

Some people get treatment, others live with it for decades, miserable and undiagnosed.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) says only 19% do something about it.

Anxiety isn't just worry about everything.

Bad anxiety is literally being in a constant state of equilibrium where you are having your natural flight or fright response that your body does when it gets in trouble to everything.

Your mind convinces your body it is constantly under attack.

That stress can destroy people, both mentally and physically.

Imagine feeling like you were just in car accident, but all the time. You don't even realize it because it is your normal. That's 1/3 of you reading this.

This video talks about an exploitation sellers do to get buyers to answer their cold calls.

So what's my point? As I said before, some sales people are taking advantage of this, and it needs to stop.

🔥 Salespeople... let's go through a scenario...

Let's say you have a prospect who is allergic to peanuts. You've been trying to get their time and attention for weeks, but they aren't responding.

Then you find out they are going to a conference, and you can slip some peanuts into their lunch so they have an allergic reaction.

The scheme is simple.

You give them an epipen, saving their life, and then you have a conversation with them, and give them your best elevator pitch ever.

Seems brilliant right? No one would ever do this.

We're not monsters. We're people.

Mental health can be just as serious as an allergic reaction.

Many of you are preying on people's anxiety... and you just don't realize it.

Last week, someone preyed on mine. Here's the story in this video.

We have to be better. Tricking people is a form of lying.

Ryan O'Hara

Ryan O'Hara is the founder of Pitchfire. Prior to starting Pitchfire, he has been an early employee at several startups helping them with marketing and prospecting tactics including Dyn (Acquired by Oracle 2016) and LeadIQ (first GTM employee-Series B).

He's had prospecting and marketing campaigns featured in Fortune, Mashable, and TheNextWeb. Ryan specializes in go-to-market strategy, branding, business development, prospecting, and sales training. He also mentors two accelerators, The Iron Yard and The Alpha Loft.