If you are in the business of sales, you may feel as if there are times when you’re in the business of misery.  Day to day sales pitches can leave one feeling depleted and well, miserable.  The environment at times can be stressful and competitive.  While some competition is good, it can have a negative effect on your sales team.  “In a survey by online career database PayScale, sales account manager was ranked as the second most stressful job, with 73 percent of respondents rating the role as “highly stressful.” Salespeople are under a lot of pressure to meet quota, convert quickly, and keep approval rankings high.”  (https://www.inc.com/nick-hedges/how-to-deal-with-stress-in-sales.html)  If the quote above is not enough to convince you that the life of a salesman can be stressful and difficult, check out the facts below from: https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/average-work-week-sales.

Facts regarding a day in the life of a salesman:

1) Long Hours

-28% of Sales Directors/VPs are working more than 60 hours per week

-Only 9% of Directors/VPs work 31-40 hours per week

-Only 19% of Sales Reps work 31-40 hours per week

-Only 21% of Sales Managers work 31-40 hours per week

2) Stressful and Challenging

-68% of all salespeople describe their lifestyle as challenging

-Only 7% of all salespeople describe their lifestyle as luxurious

-54% of all salespeople describe their lifestyle as stressful

3) Spare Time? What Spare Time?

-1 in 2 salespeople have been told by friends and family that they work too much (51%)

-1 in 3 salespeople say their sales job negatively impacts their personal life.

4) Say Goodbye to Free Evenings and Weekends

-72% of Sales Directors/VPs work in their evenings and weekends

-67% of Sales Directors/VPs check email as soon as they wake up

In reading the facts above, there are many employers that may be unfazed by the statistics.  After all, the stress of an individual sales professional in your office doesn’t necessarily effect your bottom line, right?  Wrong.  Stress in and around your office place can be detrimental to your pocket book.  “An article released by the Farleigh Dickinson University shows that “workplace stress costs U.S. employers an estimated $200 billion per year in absenteeism, lower productivity, staff turnover, workers’ compensation, medical insurance and other stress-related expenses.”In particular, skyrocketing stress levels have detrimental effects on a company’s sales force. According to The Oxford Handbook of Strategic Sales and Sales Management, sales reps who experience stress on a regular basis “tend to be less involved in their jobs, less committed to the organization, and to experience lower levels of work and life satisfaction. These salespeople do not perform as well and are more likely to leave the organization.” (https://www.tenfold.com/sales-performance/stress-busting-techniques-for-salespeople)  With more people leaving the organization, more money is then spent on training and staffing.  As you can see, the harmful effects of stress in sales can be catastrophic.  So how does one combat this high-stress atmosphere while optimizing sales efforts?  Developing coping skills can help many on a personal level, as well as assist your entire sales team.  

When it comes to dealing with stress, successful combat techniques are crucial to crushing this demonic and dilapidating emotion.  tenfold.com lists seven stress busting techniques that may help your salesman deal with, and essentially overcome it. 

1. Understand the 4 A’s. 

  • Alter: Sometimes changing the situation is the most promising strategy.
  • Avoid: Believe it or not, sometimes avoiding a potentially stressful situation altogether is the way to go.
  • Accept: There are things, like taxes, that we simply cannot alter or avoid.
  • Adapt: Wayne Dwyer once said “the activity of worrying keeps you immobilized”. Learn how to adapt to the situation by looking at the bigger picture.

2. Be flexible.

  • Good salespeople are resilient, in the sense that they are able to handle stressful situations, look for a silver lining and turn their mistakes into learning opportunities. 

3. Live well.

Your overall physical well-being plays a huge role in determining your capacity to beat workplace stress. 

  • Stretch your muscles when you feel tired; use your chair or desk as a prop.
  • Walk to the cafeteria instead of getting food delivered during lunch hour.
  • Limit your coffee intake to two cups a day.
  • Get enough sleep, 8 hours a day is ideal. Listen to soothing sounds or use blinds to help you fall asleep when you need to.

4. Get organized.

Chaos in your physical space can contribute to your stress. Some of the things you can do to make your workspace more productive and less stressful include:

  • Keep your desk organized.
  • Clearing up clutter on your computer.
  • Using to-do lists.

5. Learn to relax.

  • Practice breathing exercises.
  • Listen to music.
  • Simple massage techniques.  Holding a fingertip to the point of most pain or tension and pressing very hard into the offending muscle for up to a minute can avert a headache or relieve tension.

6. Take time off.

  • A vacation represents a time of well-deserved rest. 

These techniques represent a fraction of the stress defeating and coping skills available to anyone willing to take the time to put them to use.  In doing so, the over-stressed person may just be saving their life.  WebMD attributes stress to some very serious physical ailments that all too often result in death.  Taking care of oneself and your employees can help to increase profitability while ensuring the mental health of your team is top-notch.  When in doubt, remember the old Chinese proverb, “Tension is who you think you should be.  Relaxation is who you are.”