In today’s age of advanced technology, the realm of sales has become increasingly competitive. Whether you’re a field sales rep, account manager, or even a CEO, your list of responsibilities ranges from maintenance of potential and existing customer relationships to overseeing the entire sales operation. With all of these responsibilities to juggle, it’s no mystery as to why salespeople are experiencing high levels of stress. So how can sales agents rise above to persevere and optimize productivity? Here are the top stress management techniques for salespeople of all positions to handle their many duties.
Some General Tips
#1 Stay Positive
Don’t let little things get under your skin. Get tough. Understand your limits and recognize situations where you’ve done everything you can and appropriately let them go. Sometimes “it is what it is” and worrying about it is only going to suck the energy out of you. Negativity is parasitic and unproductive; let go of failures and shortcomings. It’s important to keep your head up and fixate your sights on the silver lining in every situation.
#2 Learn to Say “No”
It’s easy to be ambitious and take on more tasks than you can handle. You’re only human and there are only so many assignments you can deal with at one time. When you’re stretched for time and energy, you end up producing mediocre performances instead of crushing a few tasks.
#3 It’s All About Balance
On the other hand, don’t forget that you are juggling several clients at once, so be sure not to waste time drilling one stubborn account that is unlikely to work out in the end. You may end up investing too much time and energy in one customer and neglecting all of your others. There’s a fine line between too much and not enough. But the nature of your sales role depends on balance, so push yourself to continuously re-evaluate your priorities and create this balance.
#4 Take Some Time For Yourself
After days-on-end of interacting with people and plastering that smile on your face, it’s important you rope off a small part of your day where you can keep to yourself. Managing customers all day can be exhausting, especially when not every pitch you make ends in a sale. By allowing some time to yourself every day, you establish a social reset so that you can show up to work the next morning feeling refreshed.
#5 Accept What You Can’t Control
Oftentimes there are scenarios where you simply can’t win. But with every situation, it’s important to recognize what you can and can’t control and then focus solely on what you yourself can achieve. It’s exhausting to stress over something you have no influence over, so direct your efforts and attention on what you can control and learn to accept what you can’t.
#6 Be Flexible
The sales process is notorious for being unpredictable. Even if you make a sale, it’s likely there were many unexpected turns along the way. Over time, you’ll find that the most successful salespeople are not rigid or uncompromising. They may be adamant, but they champion the ability to operate flexibly. This allows them to strike deals with customers that are better suited to their needs, as well as their own. If you stick too closely to the books, you’ll only limit yourself and your customer outreach.
#7 Always Keep Your Radar On
It’s easy to become immersed in managing your existing customers, but it’s equally important to be hunting for potential leads whenever and wherever possible.. Keep your lines of communication open and maintain access to a pipeline of potential new leads. This reduces stress by providing you with plenty of opportunities to grow your business and immediately access new clients in the event that current accounts don’t pan out.
#8 Master the Art of Routine
Another simple stress management method is to adopt a predictable routine. Dedicating slots of time in your schedule to particular tasks throughout the day not only holds you accountable, but minimizes the anxiety of dealing with spontaneous events cropping up. This could be as simple as carving out a 45-minute block at about the same time every day for onboarding purposes. In this way, you can stabilize your schedule a little bit by giving it some predictability.
Most Effective Techniques
Telling you how to think, though, is much easier said than done. The mind is a stubborn thing and will probably be the last aspect of yourself that will conform to change. However, when provided with a concrete list of direct action that you can take, you are more likely to take that leap of faith in the hopes of lessening your load. Here are some stress management techniques you can try out starting today:
#1 Sweat It Out
Our bodies carry a lot of tension. If we let ourselves become consumed by it, it starts to carry over into our daily lives. This can be apparent by a strained voice on the phone, a perpetual scowl, or easily irritable attitude. Sometimes the only way to combat this tension is to flush it out with a little physical activity. The act of moving the body and raising your heart rate even just a little bit can help alleviate some of this pent-up stress. It may sound counter-intuitive to work out or fit in some cardio when you’re already feeling drained or exhausted. But studies show that a little regular activity can boost energy levels and activate the production of endorphins. Endorphins are the “feel good” hormones produced in the brain that induce euphoria or the feeling of being on an emotional high.
Just 20-30 minutes of moderate activity a day can achieve these beneficial perks. But the good news is, they can be done in spurts sprinkled throughout the day. Go for 5 or 10 minute walks whenever you have the time. Walk an extra block or two to scout out a better coffee stop. Take the stairs next time you have to visit a co-worker’s cubicle. Take your next phone call on foot rather than parked at your desk. Little forms of activity can help release the buried tension and keep your energy levels humming along, avoiding that mid-afternoon slump.
#2 Deep Breathing
A helpful strategy for anyone, taking deep breaths has a direct link to lowering your blood pressure and slowing your heart rate. For people with acute anxiety or panic attacks, it’s important to address them immediately head-on by taking a minute to expand your lungs and send oxygen coursing through your veins to feed your brain. This will help you clear your mind and activate your senses. Do this periodically throughout the day, in between stressful phone calls or meetings, or set aside a specific time to breathe deeply. Which brings us to...
One of the simplest methods of resetting your mind is to meditate. While the concept of meditation may turn some people off, its practice has become increasingly more popular as a form of reducing stress and the weight of your daily responsibilities. Just a few minutes a day can help you banish negative thoughts and relax . It’s as simple as sitting up straight or in some other comfortable position and closing your eyes. Focus on letting go. Some people achieve mental clarity by reciting a saying or mantra that makes them feel at peace within themselves. “I am calm” or “I love myself” are simple, but influential phrases or quotes that make you feel empowered work just as well.
Psychologist and Chicago health & wellness coach, Robbie Maller Hartman says, “Research suggests that daily meditation may alter the brain’s neural pathways, making you more resilient to stress.”
Meditation comes in many shapes and forms, and there’s no “right” way to do it. Some consider meditation as basic as lying down and closing your eyes for just a few minutes in total silence. Others put their headphones in and listen to relaxing sounds to bring their blood pressure down. In the end, it all comes down to personal preference and what works for you. Meditation doesn’t have to be hard. It simply requires finding a couple minutes to focus on yourself and let go of any needling or distracting thoughts.
There’s no denying the intricate beauty of coffee. It empowers you, gives you energy, and tastes delicious. Then there’s wine, the nectar of the gods. It winds you down, it relaxes you. Hell, it even has a kick of antioxidants to keep you healthy. (As if you needed a reason) But while both of these are great in moderation, be wary of their prominence in your daily activities. The side effects of too much caffeine and alcohol can be staggering and may actually be hindering your performance, affecting your sleep patterns, and making it harder to de-stress. Identify them as possible triggers or perpetrators of anxiety and effectively address them head-on. You don’t have to go cold turkey and cleanse them from your diet entirely. But gradually consuming a more moderate and manageable amount will improve your health and your success.
These are just general stress management strategies for anyone affiliated in sales. They apply to sales reps, trainers, and managers alike. However, if you’re interested in more position-targeted stress management tips, read on for specific information tailored to your individual needs.
Stress Management for Sales Reps
Carve Out Some “Me” Time
Out of everyone in the sales industry, sales reps have by far the most face time. Interacting with customers all day can be exhausting and going through too many long stretches without a break can suck the life out of you. Over time, this can lead to carelessness in areas that are most vital to your position. If you’re too burned out to maintain the ethics of a typical conversation - or worse, you’ve lost enthusiasm for the process in and of itself - you risk losing the sale. It may seem like a challenge to find any time for yourself, but little things go a long way.
Just a few minutes out of your day to meditate or take a hot bath can be just what you need to hit the “Refresh” button on a long day of human contact. Or maybe you would benefit from a quick visit to the gym or local park. Studies show that regular exercise not only contributes to a healthier lifestyle, but can also serve as an emotional form of release. It doesn’t have to be particularly strenuous, just something you enjoy doing. If lacing up your running shoes and hitting the pavement isn’t your game, try shooting hoops or doing yoga or Zumba. You don’t want it to become something else on your agenda that you end up dreading. It should be purely cathartic and aimed at helping you wind down. A little routine physical activity could be just what you need to blow off steam and relieve pent-up stress.
Above all, taking care of yourself should be your number one priority. It’s impossible to perform at your absolute best if you yourself aren’t feeling 100%. Balance is key here. With round-the-clock travel and communication, it’s important you take care of yourself above anything else. This goes back to focusing on what you can actually control. Prioritizing basic fundamental necessities - enough sleep, regular exercise, and diet - can make a huge impact on your mood and motivation.
Keep Things in Perspective
One of the most common challenges current and former sales reps struggle with is keeping it all in perspective. The sales process can be a long and convoluted operation. It’s easy to get caught up in each individual sale and become frustrated when things don’t always work out. Don’t get discouraged! Always keep the bigger picture in mind. The sales workflow can truly be a roller coaster ride and it can be stressful at internal sales conferences to have to present your weekly or monthly performances.
The foundation of your success as a sales rep is based on your attitude. No matter how low things may feel at times, keep your head up and stay positive. Focus on the ultimate goal and streamline your objectives. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Treat every sale like you’re on a hot streak and your confidence will shine through. Enthusiasm and self-assurance are contagious, so your customers are likely to notice as well! Humans are perceptive; you’re not going to buy a house from a depressed-looking realtor. Customers are more likely to trust you if your attitude exudes confidence.
Don’t let your setbacks derail you. Focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and celebrate every victory. Always bear in mind that it’s all part of the sales process.
Do What You Do Best
You’re only human - you have a maximum capacity of tasks you can handle. It might seem noble of you to try to impress your boss and act as the “Yes Man”, but juggling too many responsibilities at once actually compromises your performance. It’s important to challenge yourself before you think you’re ready, but it’s equally as vital to recognize when you’re stretched too thin. It’s okay to say no from time-to-time, when deemed appropriate.
The sales world is competitive, so it’s natural to feel uneasy about allowing an opportunity to be passed onto a colleague, or worse, a competitor. But realistically, you’re more likely to be successful if you focus your efforts on a few important objectives rather than half-assing a long list of commitments. In the long run, you want to be remembered as the one who always crushed the assignments they took on, rather than the one who always failed to deliver.
Earn Your Procrastination Rights
We’ve all been there. We’re all guilty of pushing out our deadlines, promising to tend to them another day. But if “tomorrow” is cropping up more and more frequently in your vocabulary, it’s probably time to reevaluate your “today”. This goes back to the effectiveness of implementing a routine in your schedule. If you are diligent about committing to the slots of time you have assigned for onboarding, maintaining, etc. then you are holding yourself accountable. In this way, you are buying yourself time down the road for when you really need it.
You know those days. You’re genuinely sick, stuck in traffic, or seriously just not feeling it. Well, here the 80/20 rule can be applied. As long as you’re good and diligent 80% of the time, then you’ve bought yourself a 20% cushion to use when you really need it. That’s much better than gradually digging yourself a hole and getting caught on a day where you’re scrambling out of it.
Stress Management for Sales Trainers
As a sales trainer not only do you deal with your own stress, but also with everyone else in the company’s stress. Balancing care for others and for yourself is not an easy task. It requires different techniques and strategies to cope with the objective of having a successful and stress-free working environment both for yourself and others. Here are a few stress management techniques for the sales trainers out there to help you get started...
Managing Others’ Stress
Your job is to make your reps more efficient. Part of this involves teaching them how to properly deal with customers, how to remain positive under pressure and how to successfully close a deal.
But a large part of your job also involves making sure your reps enjoy their work–which means you have to help mitigate not just your own stress, but theirs as well.
It’s almost impossible to be an effective salesperson when you’re constantly under stress.Your reps are likely already stressed about hitting their quotas, keeping up-to-date and informed on new product features, closing on important accounts and much much more–and you as a trainer need to set your reps up to handle this stress.,
Managing stress means overcoming our own weaknesses. Stress is caused by the fear of not to accomplish an objective and fearing something in business world is commonly considered as a weakness. However, teaching reps the right techniques to manage their stress can take your company’s revenues at a whole new level.
To help your reps cope with their seemingly overwhelming number of tasks here are a are few stress management techniques that you can teach your reps.
There’s a wide range of stress management techniques out there, but the ones proven to be most effective are simple, straightforward and applicable to everyday situations.
Teach your reps to:
- Recognize and minimize feelings right when they arise
- Take some rest between meetings
- Find the right way between a big number of clients
- Use simple relaxation techniques during their working time
- Ask for help from other colleagues
Another way to boost moral (and lower stress) is to include non-sales “trainings" to your reps scheduless. You can organize exercise classes, like a yoga or pilates session at the end of the week once a month. Or also, have a monthly TGIF “training” where everyone is required to stop working and start socializing, or any number of fun, stress-relieving activities.
As a sales trainer, it’s important to create productive trainings that set your reps up for success in the field, but it’s equally as important to teach them how to effectively manage stress. Including stress management techniques into your trainings will show your reps that the company cares about their mental and physical well being. This will provide them more incentive to sell, increasing company revenue and ultimately making you look good!
Managing Your Own Stress
Like everyone else in the company, you’re not exempt from stressful situations. Managing and creating the training for reps is difficult, finding the right strategies to make them more effective is no easy task. Constantly facing pressure from the top of the company can be tough to deal with.
Checking their performances, quotas, margin requirements and how they deal with customers is something that requires a lot of hard work and can make you feel overwhelmed.
This is why stress management is not only essential to what you teach your reps, but also how you treat yourself as a sales trainer.
Do it for yourself:
- Taking a break after implementing each step of your training program is a helpful stress management technique. These breaks will allow you to take your mind off of work and give you some space for self-reflection.
- Taking a mental break. Even for just a few minutes will help you look at the situation or problem in front of you with fresh eyes. This new perspective will allow you to solve problems faster and more effectively.
- In addition, working more slowly and carefully can reduce the amount of errors you make, reducing time and stress spent on corrections.Oftentimes taking just a few more minutes to do a good job on the front end gives you the power to be more productive in the long-run.
- When managing difficult situations, staying organized is a great way to alleviate stress. . The more organized you are, the clearer and easier your tasks will seem–helping you remain (relatively) stress-free.
- Another important stress management technique is not bottling-up what’s bothering you. When you’re able to speak with someone about a difficult situation or issue that’s adding stress to your life, you can earn priceless feedback and new perspectives on how to approach the situation. Not only will this help reduce your stress levels, but you will gain great insight into and suggestions on how to deal with whatever is on your plate.
Stress Management for Sales Managers
As a sales manager you face an incredibly high degree of stress. You have many responsibilities and duties you need to cope with and when it comes to difficult situations, stress can take over your life. Similar to sales trainers, not only must you cope with your own stress, but also manage and worry about everyone else’s stress.
Your sales reps and trainers are unlikely to tell you when and why they’re stressed. Especially if they feel like opening up may affect their performance reviews or future at the company. While you do need to make sure your reps are able to handle the inevitable stress of sales. It doesn’t make your life any easier to cultivate and encourage a culture of stress and panic.
It’s important to create an open, cohesive environment so your reps and trainers feel comfortable speaking openly with you about their own stressors and ways to improve the sales process.Avoid being judgemental and instead ask directed questions to get to the core of their stress. Once you’ve identified key stressors for you reps you can work to improve them, ultimately improving their sales results.
Establish a relationship with your reps, making it known that you are a reliable and approachable figure in the company, while still preserving your position and authority.,Ensure that people are treated fairly and that your reps feel well taken care of. It has been shown that building a support network in your organization is very effective way to increase productivity. Employees will see that company cares about them and they’ll be more incentivized to work harder and sell more.
Happy reps = More sales.
More sales = the coveted thumbs-up from your boss
It’s also important to realize that you’re not the only one who can help take care of others’ stress. HR and Trainers are also available allies and resources in helping your sales team manage their stress levels, so don’t feel like you have to manage everything on your own!
As always you cannot help others with their stress if you don’t manage your own. Schedules, goals and objectives are what worries you the most. Being in a high position in a company means lots of responsibilities and plenty to stress and worry about..
It can be difficult to manage your time as you are often multi-tasking and moving in many directions all at once. This can be a huge stress-inducer and it’s important to learn how to stay organized and calm when managing your schedule to avoid burning out.
One of the stress management techniques you can use to overcome this is a time management tool known as “block time”. This involves scheduling your day in blocks–setting aside a certain amount of time each day for various tasks. Block out some time to catch up on things that are incomplete and important. Take some time to look ahead at your next steps and, of course, some time free of meetings, calls and “duties”. It’s helpful to take some free time from all the tasks you have and focus on yourself. This can involve a wide range of relaxation, self-improvement activities. Such as running, yoga, painting, cooking, or walking through your neighborhood by yourself. Whatever your coping mechanism, allow space in your schedule to give yourself the time and love necessary to function in your job.
Badger Maps: a Relief From Your Stressful Days
We’ve mentioned a lot of techniques that you can use to help decrease the amount of stress in your workday. But, if you’re in sales, there’s one piece of the puzzle we haven’t talked about yet: technology. Lucky for you, the modern world has brought you many tools that can provide true relief from your stressful days–one of the best being Badger Maps!
#1 Driving Around Freaks You Out
How much time do you spend planning your route and trying to create the perfect schedule to get through all of your daily meetings and tasks? If you’re like the average salesperson, the answer it too much. Analyzing the distance between your appointments, figuring out the fastest way to get around, and then attempting to manually enter addresses into your phone or GPS can be really difficult and time consuming, and creates lot of unnecessary stress for you.
Driving in the traffic and pollution can be tough. As a rep your time is money and wasting it stuck in traffic costs you sales and time. This will make you nervous and stressed and will affect your ability to sell when actually visiting your clients or prospects.
But, there’s a solution to manage these stressful situations. With Badger Maps, you will be able to spend that preparation time actually selling your products, instead of planning where and when to sell them. You’ll be able to optimize any route, regardless of the distance– resulting in driving an average of 20% less and increasing your sales by about 25%. You simply add your accounts to the route, enter your start and end location, set the time you plan to spend in each meeting and optimize it. Then you can save your route, export it to your calendar and integrate it with your devices.
People using Badger have their days organized in a smarter way. But also can enjoy their time with prospects instead of losing it driving around the city. Badger helps you maximize your sales and minimize your stress.
#2 Prospecting Requires Such a Long Time
Finding new leads is a difficult task and you often, even when you’ve tracked down a potential prospect, spend time and money visiting them only to discover they’re not even qualified. This can make you nervous about future prospecting and unsatisfied with its results.
To avoid wasting your time visiting unqualified prospects, use Badger’s Lead Generation tool. By entering the keyword related to your industry, you’ll be able to find all the potential new customers within a selected area, optimizing your time and your ability to generate sales.
The Lead Generation feature is an extremely useful tool, which will reduce the time that it takes to find all new leads. As a sales manager, use the “Places” tool. Enter the keyword related to what you’re looking for (examples: “dentist”, “restaurant”, “bar”…). See the blue pins pop-up on the map showing you all your potential clients, and easily add them to your Sales Reps’ routes .
#3 Clients Cancel Meetings at The Last Minute
The customer you’re about to meet with just cancelled the appointment at the last minute. After spending an hour driving in traffic and pollution, you’re only five minutes away from the meeting location with nothing to do. You begin to get angry and think to yourself: “I’m not paid enough for this!”
Luckily, in this technology driven world you can find a solution to any problem in the palm of your hand – including how to structure your day in the event of a cancelled meeting. There are several apps out there to help the “stranded” salesperson, and Badger Maps is one of the best. Not only does Badger function as a route optimization tool, but its unique built-in lead generation functions allow you to search for potential new leads wherever you are.
With the lead generation tool you can maximize your time when clients cancel on you last minute. Through the app, search for potential customers nearby and add them to your route with just the click of a button. With this feature you’re saving yourself time and energy and ultimately growing your client base. Badger Maps is the perfect tool to relieve any stress caused by last minute schedule changes. You can also find nearby coffee shops that may provide the perfect temporary workspace with free wifi, ample pastries, relaxing music and the ever-necessary caffeine boost.
#4 Managing Priorities is Tough
You’re ready to give your spectacular sales pitch to new potential clients. Ready with your polished outfit and big genuine smile, nothing can keep you from “wowing” these new leads and selling yourself and your product. You spend countless hours working with these clients, often times letting their happiness absorb you and stressing you out in the process. At the end of the month you’re disappointed and confused because your numbers weren’t as impressive as you’d hoped. You take a step back and realize this is because you were devoting too much time and energy to low-priority clients and didn’t even realize it!
Focusing on the right accounts instead of falling into the trap of spending equal amounts of time on each client is a difficult one to escape. Prioritizing your clients is tough, especially if you’re dealing with a large pool of people all at once. Badger Maps’ account information, colorized filters and priority rankings help you keeping track of your customers, their priority rankings. This allows you to visualize where you need to spend your time and energy. With Badger see your various customers (color-coded by type) on a map and effortlessly create a schedule and route designed to maximize your productivity and revenue, avoiding the stress of bad results at the end of the month.
#5 Can’t Find The Notes You Took After Meetings
Your success in sales depends a lot on how organized you keep client data.
Let’s say that while you’re about to visit a prospect, the information you need just doesn’t come to your mind. You frantically start looking around in your car to find that tiny piece of paper on which you wrote it. After shuffling through your things, you can’t find it anywhere and you’ll be unprepared for your meeting.
Organizing all your client and prospect information in one database helps you avoid these stressful situations. You can stay organized and be prepared for your sales meetings with Badger Maps’ check-ins, reports and account details–with these features you will be able to collect the precise data you want from the field.
Instead of coming back home at night and trying to remember what happened during your meetings, you can easily add notes to Badger Maps. Right when the details of the day are fresh in your mind. Simply click on the account you just visited, record the important information and you will instantly have a full history of all your client notes and check-ins. Every Friday you will automatically receive a report that contains all of your check-ins from the week. This allows you to see who you met and what was discussed. Also, it will help ease the mental burden of trying to remember everything off the top of your head or digging through your notebook of incoherent scribbles searching for some essential account detail.
#6 Getting Lost in The Many Softwares You Use
You’re driving through the city after meeting with a client and know you have another meeting nearby. What you do is:
- Look up on your phone who you’re meeting with;
- Find the address and then copy paste it into Google Maps;
- Go back to your CRM to look through important info to know about the client;
- Try to keep all this info straight as you weave through traffic to your next meeting.
Having your different modes of data collection disconnected leads to disorganization and an unnecessarily stressful workday. Badger Maps allows you to sync all of your CRM contacts and account information in just one platform and visualize them on a map. Your many contacts and need to constantly revise your account information is made easy in Badger.
Badger Maps could be the all-in-one solution for all of your sales-software needs. Paying for expensive CRM software and expensive routing software, with the challenge of trying to integrate them, will not be your business anymore, because Badger can do it all for you.
Stress management is a broad term and there’s no fixed rule proven to be appropriate for everyone. Each person has different way to manage stress and some techniques can be perfectly suitable for one person and completely ineffective for another. We hope these stress management techniques (for the sales person, trainer and manager) prove useful in getting you started with managing your busy, stressful day. Ultimately, you need to understand what’s best for you and apply that technique on a daily basis both in and out of work.
Treat your body with respect by exercising, eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep. Treat your mind with equal respect by meditating, practicing deep breathing exercises and maybe, just maybe, by using Badger Maps to plan and organize your day.