No wonder salespeople feel stressed out. Unrealistic deadlines, unexpected changes and competitive pressures would stress anyone out. High stress levels may undermine decision-making and problem-solving abilities, and hurt sales performance.
Salespeople must respond quickly and effectively to challenges from rapidly evolving situations. Knowing how to channel stress is the secret to peak sales performance. Here are five functions you can learn to achieve mental, emotional and physiological control necessary to perform consistently at a high level:
- Goal-setting. Having clear goals helps you stay on track even under severe pressure. Break the goal down into manageable steps. When you see your goals, you become motivated to do something to move toward them right now. Goals are more likely to be achieved if they’re specific and measurable. Try to set the goal high enough to cause you to “stretch” but low enough to be attainable. Commit yourself to making steady progress, and periodically evaluate your advancement, making adjustments to your goals when necessary.
- Positive thinking. Positive thinking supplies the groundwork for performing at your best. Negative thoughts undermine your ability to succeed. Just as negative self-talk becomes self-fulfilling, positive thinking lays the groundwork for working at your best. When you notice a negative thought, try to replace it with something positive. With a positive mind-set, you can refuse to let setbacks and annoyances affect your performance. Nothing will improve your performance more dramatically than a clear picture of where you want to go, a plan to get there, a date of completion and a willingness to overcome obstacles along the way.
- Stress management. The consequences of workplace stress include burnout, call reluctance, frustration, loss of confidence and depression. Taking control of stress allows you to reduce its effects while building up your performance. To function well in high-stress conditions, try to maintain a balance between stress and recovery. Adequate sleep, good nutrition, regular exercise and time for yourself are the best ways to recover from high-stress periods.
- Attention control. Develop your ability to identify what matters, and focus your attention on it with intensity. Maintaining focus is difficult considering the constant interruptions and problems salespeople must deal with every day. Keeping your brain focused amid constant distraction takes an extreme effort. Try to establish performance routines to keep you on track when your focus wavers.
- Imagery. Sometimes called “visualization,” imagery is the process of using your senses to mentally experience an event or activity. It produces the same emotional and biological reactions as the equivalent real-world activity. Consider the feelings you experience while imagining you’re closing a huge deal. The event is not actually happening, but you have the same physical and emotional responses as if the experience was real. Imagery may increase confidence, overcome call reluctance, improve focus and reduce stress.
Adapted from: When the Pressure’s On by Louis Csoka, the founder of the Pioneering Center for Enhanced Performance.