SALES MANAGEMENT

Tips to Reduce Sales-Related Stress
Steve Simms

For salespeople, job-related stress can easily escalate out of control.

When high stress becomes a way of life, vacations and time off are only quick fixes. You can't control fate, but you can take these four steps to help ward off life-threatening stress for good. Stress and satisfaction often come from the same sources (work, family), so use these tips to ensure that stress doesn't keep you from enjoying the best things in life.

Get tough. You can effectively cope with setbacks and problems without dwelling on them. Do your best to solve problems, then clear any remaining negative emotions from your mind. If you've done your best, the problem is out of your hands, so stop worrying about it. Negative feelings are draining and unproductive, and frazzled nerves often have undesirable physiological effects, as well. Maintain inner peace by resisting and banishing bad feelings and anxiety-producing thoughts.

Limit responsibility. Taking on too many obligations makes you less effective and productive all around. When you're too stressed to get any satisfaction from the commitments you make, you're probably making too many. Take on only obligations that you can comfortably handle. Spreading yourself too thin often means you get less accomplished, not more. Make a list of your priorities and spend your time accordingly. Take responsibility for your own job, family, thoughts, and behaviors, and let others do the same.

Start delegating. Know how to prioritize, delegate responsibility, and say no. These skills maximize work efficiency and represent the reduced-stress route to getting a job done. Avoid perfectionism and procrastination to work smarter. Constantly needing to catch up on work adds to stress, so streamline work habits and use schedules and priority lists to keep you in control at the office.

Take breaks. To reduce stress, you must engage in activities that counter it. Take up a hobby or an exercise regimen, and stick with it. Know how to relax and play, and stop long enough to smell the roses. Taking a break sharpens your mind emotionally and intellectually, which increases productivity and decreases tension. Explore the concept of actually leaving town to take a break. (That's right " a vacation!)

Stress often has a way of sneaking up on us. Take stock of your life and weigh the satisfaction it brings you against the stress you normally feel. If the stress consistently outweighs the happiness, take control of your life, make some changes in your lifestyle and work habits, and rediscover your selling potential.

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