In a survey conducted by online career database PayScale, 73 percent of respondents in the sales profession rated their role as "highly stressful." Stress can result in salespeople burning out and dropping out. Stressed-out salespeople experience anxiety, fatigue and depression, which affects their ability to execute at the highest level.
Effective sales management requires teaching your sales team stress-management skills.
Sales can be stressful because there are factors affecting a salesperson’s success, many of which are out of the salesperson’s control. For example:
- Dave has been working on a large piece of new business, only to discover the company is being acquired. That sale he was expecting to close in the fourth quarter — not happening. Stress.
- Juanita’s company is struggling to keep up with growth. Customers are bypassing customer service and calling her nonstop with complaints about installations and billing. Stress.
- Brent has a new competitor in his territory that is discounting and buying the business in order to gain market share. Stress.
So, what can sales managers do to improve their team’s ability to deal with stress? Teach your sales team to focus on what they can control.
When a salesperson feels out of control, negative emotions cloud decision making. Fear and anxiety, rather than creative solutions and actions, dominate their thoughts.
Dave can’t control the acquisition of his client; however, he can control asking this prospect for three referrals to replace this deal that is stalled. He can control increasing the level and quality of his sales activity. Control.
Juanita can’t do installations or invoice clients; however, she can be proactive about reaching out to customers. Instead of waiting for complaints, she can proactively reach out to clients to get ahead of problems and check quality of service. Control.
Brent can’t discount his way to success. However, he can improve his skills on selling value, not price. He can up-level the service he is providing to customers. And he can acknowledge the elephant in the room by asking how long the new competitor will honor ridiculously low prices. Control.
Stress is a part of life and sales. Sales managers, teach your sales team members how to decrease stress by increasing their focus on what they can control.
Stress management is effective sales management.