Feeling Stressed About Having to Sell? Take Action Now to Avert Future Burnout!

27 April, 2009 (20:34) | Blog | By: admin

By: Alan Buhler

Selling is quickly becoming a part of everyone’s job in today’s financial institutions.  And stress is an inevitable part of every salesperson’s job. You have to call on people every day who are usually not as excited to hear from you as you are to be talking to them.  You work hard to win the business, the sale is often on the line, and at times the decision goes to your competitor.  You have challenging goals and strive to meet weekly, monthly and yearly quotas so that you can provide a great lifestyle for yourself and your family.  It’s all in a day’s work.

Some experts have indicated that selling is one of the most stressful jobs people have today.  Those who suffer from stress usually report one or more of the following symptoms: rapid heart rate, neck tension, lower-back pain, dry mouth, headache, overeating, stomach distress, crying, insomnia, fatigue, sweating and rapid breathing—any of this sounding familiar?

The stress of selling can lead to burnout in your career.  To find out if you have sales burnout, read the following ten statements and count how many of them you agree with:

  • Recently, I find it difficult to generate any real enthusiasm about my job.
  • I feel unhappy with my work or career, but I’m not sure why.
  • I’ve noticed that I have been putting off taking important actions—things that I used to do routinely.
  • Lately, I failed to attain an important personal or professional goal, but I was surprised to learn that this actually did not bother me that much.
  • I am consistently distracted by non-work-related activities during the course of a day.
  • I find that I have been more prone than usual to common illnesses such as colds and flu.
  • Recently, I’ve wondered whether my clients and my team are getting less than the best from me.
  • I feel as though I am working harder but getting less done.
  • I keep running out of time before I get to the most important thing in my day.
  • I’m not as motivated as I used to be in reaching out to new prospects.

If you answered “yes” to four or more of the above statements, there is a very good chance that you are suffering from at least the early stages of sales burnout. If left unchecked, burnout can get progressively worse, and also can lead to serious career and emotional problems.

One of the best antidotes to early signs of burnout is simply taking control of your own day, your own work cycle, and your own career.  For sales professionals, one of the most rewarding, burnout-busting strategic changes of all is simply to change the model.

Change the dynamic. Stop reporting to sales managers, and start reporting to you.  A sales career is the best “non-owner” position a person can have with any company.  Successful salespeople realize that the bigger the challenge, the bigger the reward.

A bigger challenge, however, also means a bigger dose of stress that can lead to burnout. And the higher your sales quota, the more stress will arise as your body’s way of preparing itself for action. It’s not a sign of weakness, but a signal of success and a call to action.

I recommend the following five tips for dealing with the stresses you may face in your everyday selling situations. These tips may help head off burnout before it sets in.

1. Recognize stress for what it is. The next time you feel fearful, anxious or uncomfortable in a selling situation, recognize that fear, not stress, is causing your anxiety. If you first identify what is causing your fear, you will be able to deal with it much better.

2. Slow down. As you prepare to make your daily calls, deal with an unhappy client, or present at an important sales meeting, consciously take a moment to slow your breathing. Take deep, slow breaths. Control your breathing, and you will control your fear.

3. Do a mental dry run. Imagine yourself in the stressful situation (making a presentation to a committee, dealing with an angry client or presenting a proposal), then mentally rehearse your tone of voice, your attitude and the actions you want to display. Practicing the perfect responses to uncomfortable situations helps establish pathways in the brain that can become self-fulfilling. If you can dream it, you can become it.

4. Practice out loud. Act out what you have been visualizing — role-play in the mirror or with a colleague, friend or spouse. Be confident and relaxed. This will help you get prepared and learn new strategies for dealing with the stress that could affect your performance.

5. Recruit help. Find someone (a spouse, friend, or therapist) you can discuss your stress with, and ask for advice. A true friend will support your efforts to beat the stress that’s affecting you, and will tell you when you’re simply being a wimp. Others can often help you find the courage needed to overcome the challenges getting in the way of fulfilling your dreams.

Alan Buhler is Executive Vice President of CoreTrac, Inc.  He can be reached at abuhler@CoreTrac.com or (512) 236-9120 ext. 272

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