There is no doubt about it – working in the sales industry is stressful. Sales reps have to talk to clients and prospects on the phone, do their best to convert sales quickly, meet weekly or monthly sales goals, all while managing their pipeline. That can easily lead to feeling large amounts of stress which can affect both the professional and personal lives of sales reps.
Stress is a common problem in the workplace. According to a report on stress done by the Statistic Brain Research Institute, nearly 80 percent of people report that their biggest stressors are pressure at their job and money – both are inherent components of sales. Additionally, 77 percent of those who feel stressed due to work report that they suffer physical symptoms, and 73 percent suffer psychological symptoms because of the stress.
That said, stress can also be a motivating factor in sales jobs. When it is used productively and effectively, stress can motivate employees and drive activity. It has the potential to give sales reps the extra push they need to exceed goals and be more successful.
The tricky part is reducing the negative stress and harnessing the positive. It can be a rather delicate balancing act, but it can be done when you remember the following tips.
Tips for Reducing Negative Stress
Stress impacts each person differently, so there isn’t a universal way to solve it. However, there are some tips that seem to work for most people – especially those in sales.
- Delegate more – Learn how to prioritize, delegate, and say no when you have to. These three skills will help you work more efficiency and lower stress.
- Take breaks – According to an article posted on the Randstad Recruitment and HR Services Company website, “Stress reduction can only be accomplished when salespeople take on activities that counter it altogether. Breaks should always form a part of the working day and be taken often, as recent studies suggest productivity is maximized with shorter breaks more often, as opposed to the more traditional route of a longer break less often.” This allows sales reps to come back recharged and with a greater sense of ability.
- Let go of failures – If you are able to let go of failure, move on, and not dwell on it, you will see your stress levels decrease. Unfortunately, failure to close a sale is a part of working in the sales industry. The negative feelings that are produced when a promising lead doesn’t work out can be draining and frustrating. Try taking a few moments and actively releasing those feelings before beginning a new task.
- Limit responsibility – Don’t take on more responsibility than you can handle. Being overcommitted greatly increases stress levels, so take on only those additional obligations when you know for certain that you can deal with them.
- Stop procrastinating – For people in sales, the last week of the month is typically the most stressful – you are scrambling to meet monthly sales goals, on the phone trying to convert sales, and working on new prospects, all at the same time. Instead of allowing the last week of the month to make you crazy, try to increase production a little bit every day. That way when you get to the end of the month you will be in better shape to meet your goal.
- Use the right tools – Be sure that you are utilizing all the tools that your employer has in place for you. They likely use a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software solutions that offers sales automation for everything from importing new leads and pipeline management to email tracking and accurate metrics reporting. Use it! It is made to simplify your workload.
Tips for Harnessing Positive Stress
Using stress for your good isn’t easy, but when you get it right it will help you meet goals while maintaining a calm and unfrazzled demeanor. If you are in a leadership role, that means that goals for reps should be realistic – they should challenge, but not dishearten your sales team.
If you are a sales rep, harnessing the stress is more of an inward endeavor. Use the energy that is created by stress to be more active and productive. This takes some practice, but if you are doing the stress-relieving items above, you should be able to learn to take whatever is left and channel it into positive energy. Setting your own personal goals (daily or weekly, whatever works or you) and working toward them, is just one way to channel the stress into something productive.
The stress in sales jobs is never going to go away completely. As long as there are sales goals, there will be stress. But identifying it and working toward reduction or turning it into a positive will help you stay on task, productive, and feeling good.