Sales is a stressful job. And stress can have a deleterious effect on your body. It causes heart attacks, high blood pressure, and hair loss, which can thus have an extremely negative effect on a person's psychological well-being. In a world where one is greatly (and incorrectly) admired for his or her physical appearance, getting bald at 26 and developing flabby sides by 28 can punch a gigantic hole in a salesperson’s confidence, no matter how strongly their bank balance glitters.
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However before we divulge in the solutions, let's arm ourselves with the causes that can lead to stress in a sales job.
Money is a leading cause of stress. It can have a multi-fold effect on salespeople.
According to a CNN poll, the number one reason for stress in a sales person's life is, you guessed it, money. The survey conducted by Reader’s Digest, “asked people from 16 countries one simple question: What stresses you the most? A total of 150 participants from each country chose between money, family, health, and state of the world. The result shows that most participants consider money to be the number one reason for stress.” Money is indeed the greatest stress-causing factor in the life of a salesman who eats, breathes, and lives the status of the economy.
Thomas Phelps in an article titled “Overcoming the Daily Grind in a Sales Job” boils down everyday sales work to two 'simple' tasks – "Starting new sales cycles and advancing those already started." What may sound relatively easy to non-sales people often leads to "diminished motivation levels and decreased effectiveness."
An article on zoho.com reiterates Phelps’ view, albeit with a much-needed elaboration. "Talking to clients or potential customers on the phone, meeting monthly or weekly goals and managing your pipeline all contribute to a large amount of stress that can have a negative impact on both your professional and personal life."
By underlining money and work pressure as prime reasons that cause stress in eight out of 10 sales people, one thing becomes clear that one-solution-fit-all approach is hardly going to make a difference. Primarily, as most psychologists suggest, the ability to deal with a problem or stress depends directly on the willingness of those who are suffering. Once your willingness has taken shape, here are a few solutions that can be applied to deal with stress. Please note the efficacy of these solutions depend ‘directly’ on inner discipline and self-motivation. If you don't have those, it's best to call it quits.
- Work towards the end of the month each day
According to the article on zoho.com, "The most stressful week of every month is the last one. You have calls to make, leads to follow up with, and most importantly, a number you are expected to hit. Instead of waiting to the end of the month to take care of this, do a little bit each day."
This approach is as much a mental exercise as it will prove to be a physical one. It's like cutting a pound of cake in slices, in order to make it easier to eat.
- Speak up when it gets too much‘No’ is a lost word. If you want to bust some serious stress, bring NO back. Sales job gets a bad name primarily because nobody says no even when they ought to. The fear of being tagged a failure, losing out on a lucrative deal, or being considered irresponsible are factors that deter people from saying no. This needs to change if you want to keep stress at bay.
- Using the power of analyticsAccording to Nick Hedges, "Managers should research and decide which key performance indicators are most important to their business and then plot them against each rep's past performance in those areas. The longer leaders track, the more information they'll have about how the average reps perform and which factors make the biggest impact on success."
Planning is an indelible part of sales and therefore of managing stress. If you learn how and on what basis to prioritise jobs, you will leave office with a light shoulder.
- Take a vacationAccording to an article on sellingpower.com, "Taking a break sharpens your mind emotionally and intellectually, which increases productivity and decreases tension. Explore the concept of actually leaving town to take a break. (That's right – a vacation!)"
Taking short breaks and sometimes long ones – popularly called mini-vacations – will help you relax, take you physically away from point or person of stress and if you focus just enough, it might even help you counter personal and professional stress.
- “You can only do your best”
Adopt this phrase instead of the routine – “I could only do so much.”
According to Steve Simms' article Tips to Reduce Sales Related Stress, "If you've done your best, the problem is out of your hands, so stop worrying about it. Negative feelings are draining and unproductive and frazzled nerves often have undesirable physiological effects, as well."
Stress plays a major part in a salesperson’s life. In order for a salesperson to stay focussed and motivated, it is imported to identify the type of stress and deal with it accordingly.