What – Me Worry?

By Heather Baldwin

Some people might say that you don’t know stress until you’ve worked in sales. After all, while every job carries with it a certain amount of stress, sales people face it every day in every aspect of their work: making cold calls, giving presentations, meeting for the first time with an important prospect, trying to make quota – you name it, it’s cause for a heart attack. Still, while a certain amount of stress can be good and motivate you to perform at higher levels, too much can be paralyzing. Here are some practical, tried-and-true things you can do now to reduce the stress in your life, courtesy of Jeffrey Gitomer in his new book, Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Red Book of Sales Answers (Prentice Hall, 2005):

Sweat. Run, bike, do aerobics. Whatever your preferred means of exercise, get in a hard, sweaty workout. The physical exercise, followed by a hot, relaxing shower, will clear your mind. "Positive ideas and innovative thoughts will just pop in. I promise," says Gitomer.

Relax. Take a short walk to clear your head. Spend an evening watching an old, funny movie or a funny TV rerun. "Veg’ out" for an hour. An overburdened mind just shuts down and you can clear it with fresh air and humor.

Identify. Worry is a symptom, not a problem, so figure out what’s bothering you. You need to know the real cause of your worry and stress before you can get rid of it. Once you start delving into it, you may be surprised at the source.

Plan. Once you identify the source of your worry, create an action plan for success. Write a separate plan for each item. And don’t be embarrassed about asking others to help you. You can’t do everything yourself, and most likely people will be happy to help out.

Read. Reading accomplishes several things. Depending on what you’re reading, it can help you relax and tune out the world for a while and it can give you a mental boost with new ideas. It forces you to turn off the television and turn on your imagination. If you want to read about stress management, Gitomer says the best book on the topic of stress and worry was written 50 years ago. "Dale Carnegie wrote How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. Have you read it? Buy it. Read it," advises Gitomer.

Act. Don’t act on the worry, act against it. Create a positive reaction to your worry. Do you feel stress every time you have to make cold calls? Vow to become a master at the art. Take classes, read books, try new approaches. Challenge yourself to love this part of your job. Worried you won’t make quota? Run the numbers and figure out exactly how many calls you need to make each day, how many meetings you need to have, to make the numbers. Then jump in and do it.

Smile. It’s contagious! It sets a good mood, both externally and internally. In sales, Gitomer adds, it’s a prerequisite.
,br> In closing, Gitomer says it is crucial you recognize that stress and worry are not the fault of someone else or something else. You bring it on yourself. That’s good news because it means you are the solution. "Plugging five or six things into one electrical outlet will blow a fuse. It’s the same with you," says Gitomer. "Identify the real causes of your worry and unplug a few things by taking them out of your daily routine."

For more ideas, visit www.gitomer.com.