4 Ways to Manage Your Stress in Sales


The complex business environment with escalating demands and expectations, sales professionals are often expected to be enthusiastic at all time because ‘hunters’ are energised by rejection – not true! Stress will affect us all in many different ways, but it is often the case that we start to lose all reason and humour and act-out and the things that caused the stress in the first place. A usually calm and pleasant person becomes rude and unpleasant.

My sister is a Realtor in Baltimore/Washington area east coast USA. I speak to her regularly here in the UK, and I know when she is stressed! Her voice becomes a few octaves higher, and I say, ‘take a break’. She becomes irritated by the many unimportant things that would not rattle her normally; I say, ‘you need to get out and have a break’. If she loses all perspective and her English politeness goes on holiday without her and starts scenario playing the world coming to an end, I say ‘when are you going away on holiday?’

With the growing list of responsibilities and the pressure to hit quota, the sales process can all take its toll, leading to more stress and fewer sales. Increasing stress levels have a detrimental effect on your company sales force. According to The Oxford Handbook of Strategic Sales and Sales Management, sales reps who experience stress on a regular basis “tend to be less involved in their jobs, less committed to the organisation, and to experience lower levels of work and life satisfaction. These salespeople do not perform as well and are more likely to leave the organisation.”

It is in the company’s interest to maintain a conducive stress-reducing environment. Eliminating stress in most sales organisations may be unfeasible, impractical, or even undesirable, (the school of thought being that stress is motivating), the many adverse effects of stress require s leadership initiatives to gain a reasonable level of control over the environment.

High-stress levels among your sales team can lead to unmet targets and decreasing sales figures, triggering further stress leading to burn-out and a company struggling to survive.

“Success favours the brave, not the stressed!”

Changing and uncertain economic challenges increase stress. Stress stems from feeling de-motivated, out of control and then self-doubt creeps-in, this leads to sales rep shying away from going for it.

Of course, you become anxious and stressed, having to hit quota targets demand that you do go for it, ask for the sale and be bold.

4 Ways How to Manage Stress in Sales

  1. Develop Resilience

Great sales professionals are problem solvers. Able to manage stressful situations, by looking for a silver lining, learning from their mistakes and creating opportunities. This is one main element of developing resilience, learning to be adaptable to stressful situation creating opportunity and competitive advantage.

  1. Let your Team decide

It may not be possible to eliminate stress, why not let your sales team or each professional determine what is harmful stress and what is positive pressure? Empower your team to determine the strategy and intensity of competitions, teamwork, peer mentoring, team meeting and sharing best practice. Cultivating a sense of solidarity and cooperation among team members and colleagues.

  1. Continually do what Works

I worked as an IFA in the 1990’s and received a £20k cheque from a client. Having several files open on my desk, I lost the cheque for three days. I stripped my office and filing cabinet and eventually found the cheque in a customer file that was previously checked several times. Now 20 years later I still have a clear desk policy as few tabs open on my computer, and I work on one thing at a time. Find and use productivity strategies and applications that work for you. Chaos in your physical and emotional space will contribute to your stress levels.

  1. Find ways to Chillout

You may not be able to go on four holidays a year, but you can plan to take a break, whether a day in the spa or on the golf course, weekends away doing something different or longer holidays. The simplest way to kick out stress is to take time-out, chill-out and relax. Meditate and Breathing exercises help according to psychologist Judith Tutin, “Deep breathing works by slowing the heart rate and lowering blood pressure.” It also increases your creativity and problem-solving skills. How can you create space on your head?

I meditate and practice yoga four times a week and exercise regularly. What is your environment stresses you out? Do you have someone to tell you when it is time to take a break or an extended holiday?

If you want continued sales success – then reduce the stress in your environment or take a break from it before it breaks you.

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