Every minute of your day is booked. Every second is filled with stress. You snooze your alarm for the third time this morning only to realize you’re already late for work. You miss breakfast and grab coffee on the way - only to spill it on your nice, clean shirt.
You’re 35 minutes late to the office. Everyone you call gives you a hard time. You try your best to hook new leads, doing everything you can to keep the sale on the line, only to have that client wind up in the arms of your biggest competitor instead.
As the day drags on, only two things are on your mind - your quota and your family.
If you’re a salesperson, this probably sounds familiar, right?
Stress management is becoming increasingly important in the modern age, where sales has become much more competitive.
This post will give you a foundation you can use to manage the stress you encounter day-today. For an in-depth guide, check out the Complete Guide on Stress Management Techniques for Salespeople!
There are several reasons why stress, if not properly managed, can become a huge problem. Stress is detrimental to productivity, your relationships, and (above all) your health. If you don’t keep your anxiety under control, you risk causing damage more harmful than the stress itself. Here are the 6 main consequences of unmanaged stress:
#1 Stress makes you tired: Stress wears you out. There are a few seconds in which adrenaline drives you forward, but it simply isn’t a sustainable source of energy., Eventually, you’ll start feeling jaded and overdriven.
#2 Digestion Problems: A lot of people somatize stress and tensions in a nagging way that affects the digestion, causing stomach aches, imbalance of stomach acidity, vomiting, and gastritis.
#3 Skin Defects: Stress ages your skin and over time, you are at a higher risk of developing acne and wrinkles.
#4 Memory Dropdowns: Periods of intensive stress cause brain fatigue and cloudy memory, but also contributes to physical side effects, such as headaches and migraines. This will definitely not improve your memory - nor your ability to do your job.
#5 Weight Gainings: If you’re worried by difficult situations, you probably aren’t taking proper care of yourself. To cope with this stress, you are driven to eat more and exercise less, which eventually leads to weight gain and an overall decline in health.
#6 Lose Sleep: Insomnia is the the most common negative side effect of stress. Your mind is overwhelmed with thoughts of the previous day and the one to come, therefore your sleep schedule suffers.
You might want to avoid those situations, since they ultimately affect your capacity to sell and deal with both customers and colleagues and in the meanwhile carry over into your personal life as well.
If you want your personal and work life to run smoother, you need to follow these easy tips to manage stress.
As mentioned earlier, stress is likely to impact various parts of your life - work, health, social life - which is why you need to find adequate solutions that address each of them. Here are some specific tips that can help you avoid the noxious effects caused by stress.
Fight sales stress by having a healthy lifestyle:
Even though this may not seem like a priority to some people, exercising and taking care of your body and health is incredibly important. Not only should you exercise because you want to have a nice and fit body, but you also want to have a healthy body. A wise Latin poet once said: mens sana in corpore sano - a healthy mind in a healthy body - (Good to know that people have been dealing with stress as far back as the Latin days) Staying healthy is one of your number one priorities.
#1 You don’t have to run a marathon every week to stay healthy:
Try including a little exercise in your daily routine. For example, walk to work (which is better for the environment as well). Go get your coffee a block further (and try not to spill it on your nice, clean shirt). Try standing up when you make some of your calls or attend informal meetings. Take a 10 minute walk during those times when you feel you’re losing it. These little tricks enable you to combine work and health at the same time. So no excuses like “I can’t, I have too much work”; taking your phone call standing up is still working - you’re fooling nobody but yourself.
Another really easy tip is breathing. After all, you do it all day long anyway! Try to think about taking deeper breaths once in awhile, and particularly when you feel like the pressure is increasing. While many people don’t think about it, deep breathing really helps. It enables you to re-oxygenate your body, and allows you to hit the refresh button with a clean slate; you’re ready to get back on the horse now!
#3 Meditation - not necessarily by investing in a yoga mat and outfit:
Meditation is often wrongly viewed as an activity you need to practice in a particular environment, such as on the beach or facing the sunset at the park. Although meditation experts might not agree, you can meditate pretty much anywhere. After all, the main goals of meditation are to let go and focus on the important things - such as your health - and chase away negative thoughts. You can clear your mind with really easy little things, such as reciting a mantra. Moreover, repeating to yourself “I am calm” or “I love myself” can actually convince your brain that you are calm and at peace with yourself. Thus, reducing your stress and keeping you healthy and happy.
#4 Try reducing “bad” substances from your body:
Coffee and alcohol are great, most of us can agree on that some of us can’t even imagine giving up on them, and we are not asking you to. However, leaning back a bit and having 3 cups of coffee every day instead of 10 could be just what you need to help you get back on track. Same rule applies to wine - moderation is the key. As long as you follow that dogma, you should be fine.
Fight sales stress by having a healthier workstyle:
Working in a company is also about working together in a sane manner and where everyone - or at least most people- find cohesion. You need to be able to work with your colleagues, let them accept some of your workload and vice-versa. Teamwork is one of the keys to successful productivity and also one of the keys to letting go of stress. Indeed, knowing you are not relying solely on yourself is a very good way to counter stress, which leads us to….
#1 Learn how to say no and rely on your colleagues more
Sometimes, you just have to face the truth: there are only 24 hours in one day and sadly time is not stretchable, meaning there are times when you just can’t add anything else to your plate. Otherwise, it could result in the peril of other things. Focusing on performing well on a particular task or assignment is much better than doing/poorly on ten different tasks. Quality over quantity. But hey, that’s also what colleagues are for; when you feel like your to-do list is just unattainable, thinking of ways of making that happen is just gonna drive you crazy and cause you to waste time. This is usually when you should ask one of your peers who’s not dying under pressure if he can take part of your load. Though delegating can be a hard task, it is crucial that you work in a team.
#2 Try not to be a control freak (if you are, otherwise just skip to the next tip)
Accepting that you can’t control everything can be frustrating, but once you learn to loosen the reins a little, you’ll find that life becomes easier in various ways - in terms of work, relationships, etc. - and you might stop driving yourself crazy on things that are simply out of your reach. The key is identifying what you can control and letting go of what you can’t.
#3 Stay positive
You’ll probably agree that it’s easier said than done. Nevertheless, it makes a huge difference. Negative thoughts just plunge you into a vicious cycle that drains positivity and makes you see everything in a pessimistic way. Do it the other way around and you’ll drain negativity out of your life. Moreover, staying positive will just keep you happy and help you sort out what really matters. Getting pissed because the street light turns red when you arrive at the crosswalk is just going to generate negative thoughts for no reason. Turn your piss-mood off and start living in a teddy bear’s world - you’ll see it’s actually fun.
#4 Focus on what’s important and worth your time
As a salesman, you may find it hard to sort out the good from the bad and have a tendency to see everything as important. But beware, thinking like this might just waste time that you could have spent on things more worth your time. Don’t try to close all 15 deals, because it’s unlikely you’ll be able to effectively address your client’s needs and concerns. Identify the ones that are more likely to work out and focus on those. Better to be a 100% successful on closing 5 deals than screwing up the 15 deals, because you weren’t able to handle all of them.
#5 Best for last: Earn your procrastination right
Deadlines are one of the biggest causes of stress, especially the fear of not meeting them. It’s fine to delay things to tomorrow as long as “tomorrow” doesn’t become the most used word in your vocabulary. To manage this better, try planning i out and allocating time for specific things. Having slots saved for particular tasks will enable you to actually get the work done, know what you have to do and when to do it. That will help you be a lot more organized and hopefully replace the “I’ll get it done by tomorrow” to “I’ll get it done today.”