If you asked a handful of former salespeople why they left the profession, there’s little doubt you’d hear the word “stress” as part of their answer. While there are exceptions, for most people sales is stressful. That stress comes from pressure: pressure to hit your sales quota, pressure from sales managers, pressure from demanding prospects, and pressure from dealing with everything in between.
While you can’t inoculate yourself from pressure and its resulting stress, you can do something about how you deal with it. If you look at high-achieving salespeople, you’ll find most of them have learned how to manage pressure effectively without letting it affect their performance.
Here are some tips to help you keep your cool when everything seems to be spinning out of control:
1. Understand what’s happening
If you want to get better at dealing with pressure, the first thing you need to do is recognize when it’s happening and how it’s affecting you. One minute you might be on a call, the next, putting out a fire with a prospect. Before you know it, your stress is through the roof and you feel awful. But when you understand why you feel that way – and that it’s perfectly normal – you can pivot toward a solution and start to take control.
We often feel like there are a million things needing our attention on any given day, yet not all of these things require the same level of urgency. To effectively manage stress, you need to learn how to prioritize. And not only should you prioritize what you work on, you should prioritize what you think and worry about. A phone call from a prospect who is about to close is more important than finishing your continuing education training course, so make sure you’re not giving them the same level of worry.
3. Keep yourself healthy
This, of course, is not a revelation. When you feel better, you have more capacity to deal with stress. Getting enough sleep is huge. So is eating healthier, getting fresh air and exercising. Stress releases the hormone cortisol, which causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure, along with some other unpleasant things. You can minimize this impact by taking control of your health, which has the added benefit of helping you outside the workplace too.
4. Work through it
When things fall into disarray, many of us have a tendency to sit around and obsess over what’s going wrong, allowing ourselves to get overwhelmed. But instead of ruminating, the best thing to do is get to work. Put out fires one by one, and work down the list of what you need to fix. Taking action to solve your problems will not only eliminate many of the causes of your stress, it will help take your mind off those very things which are stressing you out.
5. Avoid spiraling
Our brains are hardwired for self-preservation, so when things go wrong at work, our lizard-mind starts catastrophizing, convincing us we’re going to lose our job and end up living on the streets. This, however, is exactly what you want to avoid. Imagining all the “what if” scenarios isn’t just unproductive, it’s harmful to our health. Instead, keep things in context by focusing on the problem at hand, not the nightmare scenario you just made up in your mind.
6. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It’s been proven to help reduce stress and increase focus and concentration – who wouldn’t want that? There are many resources available for anyone interested in learning about mindfulness – you can start with a basic Google search. And if, like most salespeople, you’re a busy person, you don’t have to worry. Even a few minutes of mindfulness meditation per day has been shown to have lasting effects. Just schedule an extra fifteen minutes before your morning coffee and you’ll start to see results.