We have a fun and relaxed environment here at the Zoho Austin office. From group lunches to inside jokes and the occasional game of ping pong, we enjoy coming to work each day and enjoy interacting with each other.
But no matter how much fun we have, there comes a time when we all have to get things done. Unfortunately, stress and work go together like pickup trucks at a gun range — especially for salespeople.
More than any other position, sales can be extremely stressful. Talking to clients or potential customers on the phone, meeting monthly or weekly goals and managing your pipeline all contribute to a large amount of stress that can have a negative impact on both your professional and personal life.
How common is stress at work? A reported 8 out of 10 people say they are stressed from their job and another study says 76 percent of all people report the top two causes of stress in the United States are job pressure and money.
One of the biggest problems with stress is how it impacts physical and psychological health. In fact, of people who feel stressed from work, 77 percent reportedly suffer physical symptoms and 73 percent suffer from psychological symptoms. Research has shown that when you suffer from stress, you are unable to utilize previous knowledge or training and instead resort to an automated response of shutting down or convincing yourself you can’t reach your goal. In sales, losing your confidence can be paralyzing.
Stress impacts everyone differently, and subsequently, there is no universal method of handling it. However, there are a few different methods salespeople here at Zoho and many professionals recommend for handling stress toward the end of the month and all year long.
Don’t Wait Till the Last Minute
The most stressful week of every month is the last one. You have calls to make, leads to follow up with, and most importantly, a number you are expected to hit. Instead of waiting to the end of the month to take care of this, do a little bit each day.
“This month I’ve been sending [the sales team] their numbers every other day so we stay on goal and alleviate the end of the month stress,” Zoho’s Manager of Sales Operations Ricky Thakrar said. “Basically planning ahead earlier.”
This can also be a daily process. Ricky also encourages his sales team to make the harder calls and do the more detailed and difficult tasks early in the day so they aren’t worrying about them later when they would rather go out to lunch with co-workers.
Find Ways to Break Up Your Day
You can’t focus on work every minute of every day. You have to take time to relax, take a deep breath and get your mind off the mile-long to-do list you have.
One of the best ways to do this is by getting up and away from your desk. Walk around, talk with a co-worker or even take a little walk around your office for 10 minutes or so. Get out of the office for lunch. Anything to get your mind off your work.
You can also do this sitting down. Take a few minutes to sit at your desk and breathe deeply and slowly. Read an article online or listen to some music. Little breaks in the day will help you handle stress like a pro.
Don’t forget that your sales manager is there to help. When you succeed, he or she succeeds and therefore, the company succeeds.
It is very rare to have success at anything in life right away without some hard work and time. Talk with your co-workers who have been selling or working at your company for a while and discuss ways they have been successful or dealt with stress in the past.
Remember that every salesperson has felt stress or pressure in his or her job. It’s not just you. Learn from them, try different methods or tips and stay at it. Eventually, you will have success.
From a sales manager perspective, be open to answer questions and do your best to offer encouragement to your sales team throughout the month. Instead of just sending emails talking about numbers, send motivational emails for positive reinforcement throughout the month.
Always Look for New Business
Working in sales is the ultimate multitasking job. At any moment you are managing existing accounts, dealing with problems, calling leads and closing with existing customers. This leaves very little time for seeking out new business.
One cause of stress in sales is the lingering threat of losing existing clients and losing a large amount of commission. That is why it is so important to always maintain a pipeline of leads and new sales opportunities. By knowing that you have leads and contacts in your sales pipeline, you should feel less pressure or stress if one of your customers drops without warning.
If you’re a sports fan like myself, you’ve probably heard the cliché about an athlete being, “cool under pressure,” or, “having ice in his or her veins,” during a big moment or a big game. You’ve most certainly heard of someone being “clutch.” The same goes for salespeople.
Remember, you don’t have to be a professional athlete or playing in the World Series or Super Bowl to handle pressure. These tips will by no means stop stressful moments in your life, but they will change the way you respond and change the way you feel. By learning to deal with your stress and adversity you can come out on top month in and month out.