Salespeople deal with high stress every single day. Whether it’s sky-high quotas they need to reach or rude and unresponsive customers, sales reps are consistently feeling the heat. In one Payscale survey respondents said that the position of account manager was the most stressful job. However, the best sales reps have a few great methods to de-stress.
Given that high levels of stress can lead to absenteeism and disengagement, directly affecting productivity, this certainly should be a concern for sales managers as well.
We spoke to a few sales veterans to find out a few stress-busting methods they use to get their mind off things, and here’s their take on how you can take the edge off.
Do What You Love – Love What You Do
“Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life” — this little gem of a quote is referenced in different ways across the interweb, with murky origins. Now, this might not be possible for everyone and at all times, but it helps to have a positive outlook on your profession.
“Make sure you like you what you are selling and you like your customers. In fact, the best de-stress is to LOVE both of these. This makes it more of a passion and less of a responsibility, and infinitely more fun,” said Jodi Aman, a psychotherapist and coach, author of “Anxiety 0: Win your life back from fear and panic.”
Framing Your Story in a Positive Light
If you’re having problems figuring out what the good parts of the job are, it helps to do a reframing exercise. Ask yourself– “ What do you actually do for a living?” The answer should not be a cookie-cutter response about the company you work for, or the product that you’re selling. After all, any kind of product is a solution to someone’s problem. The following story comes from XANT’s VP, Gabe Larsen, in an upcoming book on sales communication methods:
“I did door to door sales for a while. One time, I’m overseas and this man opens the door. Hewas a big old guy and he angrily says– ‘What the F*** are you doing here?’ I’m 19 and scaredout of my mind, I am thinking maybe I should run at this point. However, a kind lady comesout from behind him, taps him on the back and says: ‘He is just having a bad day, how can I help?’,” Gabe recalls.
“It was a psychological change for me to understand that they may just be having a bad day,they may be struggling, they may have an emergency — it’s never anything personal.
You really need to get into this mindset. I’m just looking for people who need help, and I canhelp them. Nobody wants to take my phone call, but the truth is they need me. If you see theplatform I am offering, you will be able to see how it can help you build more pipeline. As asalesman, I find the people who are struggling and I know I have a solution for them. It’s justwhat I do,” said Gabe Larsen VP of Growth at XANT.
Exercise – Not Extra Fries
The benefits of exercise in relieving stress are well-known by now, although few of us take the time to actually move from their desk jobs throughout the day.
“After 9 years of hard work, the best way to de-stress our sales reps is to spend an hour before lunch between 12 noon and 1 p.m. to do physical activity, for example going to the gym. This has reduced the stress on our sales team thanks to being able to divide the day in two. This allows a time of 1 hour for physical activity and 1 hour for lunch.
“We implemented this strategy 10 months ago, and our sales reps retention has improved by 33.9%, demonstrating a lower level of stress. It’s a mandatory activity and part of the workday here at MejorTrato, with the gym membership being paid by the company’ said Cristian Renella, VP of Sales and Co-founder of MejorTrato.com.
If you can’t pull off a full hour workout, or your employer doesn’t offer a gym membership, even taking a short walk can help. “Stepping out the office for a quick walking meeting with your manager is a great way to get some fresh air and pull yourself out of the sales environment,” said Jordan Wan, founder and CEO of CloserIQ.
Take the Time to Disconnect
If you spent a few hours working on your computer this 4th of July, you’re not alone. Polls consistently show americans pull a lot of overtime hours. And while we know that screen time has harmful effects, we sometimes forget to disconnect even when we are at home with the family.
“I love to de-stress by minimizing screen time when not selling. Reading paperbacks over a soothing cup of tea or just listening to music helps quiet busy thoughts,” said Kelly Ann Gonzales, sales manager for the Hotel Hayden, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts.
“It’s crucial to take 10-15 minutes out of the day and completely disconnect yourself. A lot of offices these days have recreational table games like ping pong or shuffleboard. They’re a great way to get out of the zone for a little bit and perhaps even get to know a new co-worker a little better,” said Mark Traverson, enterprise account executive at Red Points.
Find in a Hobby and Stick to It
Whether you’re an avid stamp collector or you like to learn magic tricks, having a hobby is an incredibly effective way to reduce stress levels. Now, you might not always be able to sneak in a 10-minute break during work to work on your hobbies, but make sure to keep engaged. It will certainly help you “turn off” your brain when you get home and allow you to enjoy time off without thoughts drifting back to work problems.
“One of my first sales jobs was for a startup trying to IPO so our growth goals were very aggressive which definitely made for a good amount of stress. One thing that I found useful for helping with the stress was to find an activity that was truly exciting for me, to the point that it was the only thing I concentrated on while actively participating, and would even think about when not doing it.”
“For me, that ended up being Brazilian jiu-jitsu (shout out to teacher Magno and the Gracie academy) which was something that engaged me physically as well as mentally,” said Josh Brown, from Sales & Orders.
Work on Your Focus
Sales is a fast-paced profession with a lot of responsibility, and many sales professionals feel the need to achieve high performance. But that means that sometimes, you can’t get your mind off deals that didn’t close, things you could have done better, or negative experiences in the day. Making sure you are focused on the present, and not the past, is a good way to minimize stress and be more productive.
“How we choose to feel often depends on where we focus our attention. I was working with a client in a highly-paid, 100% commission sales leadership role. He cannot afford a bad day, which is what he was having when he walked into my office. To change his state, I shifted his focus from what he had not accomplished yesterday to what he planned to accomplish today, emphasizing the benefits he would gain down the road by making the mark now. He shifted from self-deprecation to empowerment within a few minutes,” said sales consultant Nancy Cramer.
Set Expectations for Others
Sales is a fast-paced job, and this alone can contribute to high levels of stress. Making sure that everyone knows what to expect of you helps keep things manageable. Focus on one digestible opportunity at a time, shows Colin O’Neill, manager of partnerships & enterprise sales at TINYpulse.
“Some stress is avoidable if you confirm early and often with potential partners what the expectations of communication will be. You can avoid stress on lack of responses and missed deadlines if you make clear from the beginning the cadence at which you will reach out to them – and what will happen at the different points of the sales in your correspondence. Getting commitment on that cadence minimizes radio silence, and that’s what typically stresses out reps the most at the end of months, quarters, and years,” said Colin.
We’re all guilty of spending (a bit too much) time on the Internet at work, but it looks like surfing the web for just a few minutes might be a great way to de-stress. A study by the University of Warwick in the UK shows that after viewing a funny video, people actually perform 10% better on a test solving math problems.
So, take some time and check out our list of best jokes with and about sales people, they are sure to lift up your mood!