Nothing happens until somebody sells something.
That famous quote has been attributed to Peter Drucker, Thomas Watson and Red Motley among others; and it is so true. Whether you love or hate sales, business doesn’t exist without it.
We are all selling something: a product, service, idea and/or ourselves. Even young children pitch ideas (“we really need a dog!”). However, adults in sales can find themselves experiencing stress related to work.
I was on a sales team that received numbers every Monday morning. Some found it motivating, but the exercise was not for me. These reports could be very unsettling. Sometimes I felt pressure to fix something that didn’t even need fixing. Perhaps a top-ten customer hadn’t placed their regular order, but would make it up the following week. Ultimately I decided to review the numbers only at month’s end. This reduced my stress and enabled me to plan more effectively. It taught me that we need to find approaches that make sense to our individual situations.
Stress can be positive or negative. Positive stress is good for us, motivating us toward the finish line. It’s usually short-lived and doesn’t feel like it’s managing us. Some people thrive on the adrenaline rush.
However, you can’t afford to ignore prolonged negative stress as it can cause physical and mental side effects such as overeating, not eating, insomnia, mood swings, social withdrawal or hypertension.
- Do you recognize your triggers?
- Do you feel you can do something about it?
- Do you have regular one-on-one meetings with your manager that include discussions beyond sales quotas? Does your manager ask how YOU are doing?
You can either manage your stress, or let it manage you. These suggestions are not new. While you may have heard them before maybe today is your day to take action and do something positive about your stress levels:
- Ask your manager for help and talk to her/him.
- Plan your work; work your plan.
- Take a step back and look at the whole picture; remember and celebrate your wins.
- Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Agreed-Upon, Realistic, Target-Date).
- Make healthy food choices and don’t skip meals.
- Exercise regularly. Even a 30-minute walk three times a week is beneficial.
- Get enough sleep.
- Create a mantra, for example “I am a great salesperson and I love what I do.” Repeat it every day; believe in yourself.
While we can’t always control what is happening around us, we can control how we respond. If stress has been a liability for you, choose today to take the first step.