Customer Experience News & Trends

5 ways to turn stress into increased sales

Most health experts preach that stress is dangerous, leading to heart disease and depression. But recent research also shows that stress can make you smarter, more confident and more empathetic. 

It suggests that the best way to manage stress is not to fight it, but to embrace it. You’ll see stress as a sign of failure only when you avoid it, not when you use it.

Important situations

Stress arises only in situations that involve something that is important to you. Every salesperson encounters stress. Don’t interpret stress as a sign that something is wrong. You wouldn’t expect to reach a major goal, such as a dramatic increase in sales, without encountering stress.

Salespeople with a positive view of stress are happier, healthier, more productive and more confident.  They use stress as a valuable resource in difficult moments, since the stress response enhances performance. Under stress, salespeople hold more successful negotiations, make more cold calls and resolve customer problems more effectively.

Avoid avoidance

Research also suggests that trying to avoid stress may be more harmful than stress itself. Salespeople who try to avoid stress may concentrate on dulling the discomfort rather than dealing with the source of the stress. They might use unhealthy means of escape, such as call avoidance or eliminating cold calls to avoid the pressure.

Learn from it

Every time you face up to a stressful experience, you learn from it. You subtly rewire your brain so you know how to handle similar situations in the future.

Imagine you’re about to make a presentation to a difficult customer. You may experience the physical symptoms of dry mouth, sweaty palms and an accelerated heartbeat. Conventional wisdom says you won’t perform well unless you find a way to calm down and tame that anxiety.

The reality is, if you dampen that stress, you’re cutting yourself off from a powerful ally.

Challenge response

The symptoms you interpret as anxiety are actually the result of a challenge response. You may feel more focused. Your brain processes information faster. You may find new courage to defend your products or your prices, or to conquer your fear of closing the sale.

Whatever the sensations of stress are, worry less about trying to make them go away, and focus more on what you’re going to do with the energy, strength and drive that stress gives you. In many ways, the stress response is your best ally during difficult moments, a resource to rely on rather than an enemy to vanquish.

Adapted from: The Upside of Stress by Kelly McGonigal, an expert on street management. She teaches at Stanford University.

Subscribe Today

Get the latest customer experience news and insights delivered to your inbox.