Stay calm and close deals: How to effectively deal with stress in your sales team

by Jo Johansson

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Commissions. Quotas. Competition.

There are plenty of stress triggering factors in the daily life of a salesperson. By nature, salespeople are put in situations that create a high-stress environment.

While some of that stress is good, it’s also likely to have a negative impact on the productivity of your sales team.

We all deal with stress differently, but there are a few techniques that every salesperson can apply to cope with stressful situations, keep their composure and continue to close deals.

In this post, we’ll talk about how to better cope with stress on a personal level as well as collectively as a sales team.

Let’s dive in.

Develop coping skills

Stress isn’t all bad. After all, it was the onset of stress that helped our ancestors survive. It’s when stress prevents us from thinking straight and becomes a hindrance to our work that it truly becomes a cause for concern.

Here’s what you can do to better equip yourself for dealing with stressful situations.

1. Create your personal stress scale

It doesn’t take much for us to get stressed.

If things today are looking slightly worse than yesterday, our stress levels increase. Stress is an internal phenomenon which we tend to intensify. Often, we end up seeing situations as more stressful than they actually should be.

Stress occurs in three stages: the anticipation of the situation, when you’re in the situation, and reflecting back on the situation.

By applying simple math and logic to your emotions, it becomes much easier to keep them in check and you can deal with stress in a much more manageable way.

Quantify the stress you experience by using a scoring system. Then score and rescore the stressful events that you go through over time. This will help you gain a better perspective of each situation and create more context around that stress.

Here’s what to do to create your own personal stress scale.

  1. Make a list of all the situations in which you’ve experienced stress.
  2. Attach a number to each one of those using a 1–10 scale (1 being low, 10 being high).
  3. First, score it based on how stressed you felt while anticipating the situation. Then score it based on how bad you thought it was while you were in the situation. Lastly, while looking back at the situation, score it based on how bad it actually was.
  4. Write down the worst possible scenario that could happen. As a founder, this could be running out of money, not being able to make payroll, having to let go of employees, etc.
  5. Again, compare the situations you’ve already been through to your worst possible scenario and adjust the score, if needed.

Use this simple framework and you’ll be able to cope with stressful situations in a more rational way. By quantifying your stress levels, you can identify whether your emotions are taking over or whether you’re in control.

2. Share stress with your team members

Actively work towards sharing the stress with other salespeople on the team.

The easiest way to do this is to have a process in place. By process, we simply mean who’s responsible for what. Because if your roles are clear, you can balance and offload stress between each other whenever the situation calls for it.

Instead of one of you experiencing a stress level of 8 or 9, you’ll find yourselves independently dealing with a 5 or 6. This will leave you in a much more manageable situation that will cause less tension and produce a healthier team dynamic.

3. Take action to reduce stress levels

The only remedy to high stress levels is taking action. [Tweet this!] Whether that means approaching or thinking about a problem differently, or solving an issue, it doesn’t matter. If you don’t act, your stress levels will stay on the same frequency.

Talk to someone about the problem. Ask for advice or ask for help in order to take control of the situation. Talking to someone that’s gone through what’s currently stressful for you provides instant context to the situation and makes you reevaluate it.

Because while you might think, “This is the end of the world,” as soon as you talk to someone that’s gone through that same situation, you’ll immediately gain perspective and become more knowledgeable on the situation you’re dealing with.

Perhaps you’ll realize you’ve blown things out of proportion, the problem isn’t as bad as you initially thought or there’s an immediate resolution to the problem.

How much attention, energy and effort should I put into this? That’s what it comes down to.

4. Convert your stress into something positive

Remember, being stressed isn’t all bad. It means you care about the situation. It means you care about your company, your salespeople, and your customers.

When something threatens what you care about, you’ll feel stressed and emotionally challenged. If you didn’t experience stress in challenging situations, it would be strange.

Whenever you’re in a stressful situation, it’s oftentimes difficult to look past it as it demands all of your attention. To cope with stress, you first need to identify the stressor: The event or stimulus that triggered the stress.

Here’s an example.

Think about the difference between the feeling of fear and the feeling of excitement. If you remove those labels, the feeling is pretty much the same.

Try telling yourself, “This is exciting. I’m excited.” Verbalize what you’re feeling. By doing so, you’re telling your brain to use those emotions in a way that affects you positively instead of negatively.

The feelings are very similar to each other. It’s the way you think about it that makes the difference. So take that energy and channel it into something good.

Although stress starts out as a negative feeling, you have the opportunity to convert it into something positive.

Coping with stress is a skill

Learning to deal with stress and learning to deal with really severe situations is an essential skill in the workplace. Not only for salespeople, but for everyone.

That comes with experience.

You will go through phases when you’ll deal with situations that are negative and situations that are not easy to fix. During these your stress levels are likely to hit 8s and 9s on your stress scale.

When this happens, don’t just think about it as a challenge. View it as an opportunity to improve your stress management skills. Because they’re going to keep coming your way as the company develops and grows over time.

Tackling stress, confronting your emotions and managing them in a high pressure situation won’t be a comfortable experience. But the better you can deal with stress, the more successful you’re going to be in overcoming those situations.

How do you cope with stress? Let us know how you cope with stress by leaving a comment below.

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