by Sheryl Tuttle

According to CareerCast.com, one of the top 10 most stressful jobs for 2010 is Advertising Account Executive because

“Competition and the pressure of acquiring and maintaining major accounts forces executives in this field to work long and irregular hours. The work requires a high level of creativity, meeting deadlines, close attention to detail and self-motivation.”

I believe it safe to say this description aptly applies to most jobs in sales. Be it outside or inside, initiating the process or closing the deal, sales roles are often fraught with stress. But there are numerous tactics for reducing stress, and here are a few of my personal favorites.

  • Don’t take rejection personally. I’ve written about handling rejection before. Taking rejection personally only adds to your stress level.
  • Take good notes when talking to a prospect. This will make future follow-up calls easier and eliminate the stress associated with having to remember too many details.
  • Exercise and move around, especially if you are making prospect calls and sitting for long stretches of time. Stand up from time to time, and if possible, walk-around as you talk.
  • Laugh and smile often. While sales work is very serious indeed, it’s less stressful and a lot more fun if it is enjoyed.
  • Avoid distractions and better manage your time. Plan ahead so you are not stretched too thin, then stay on task.
  • Delegate. Hand off or farm out responsibilities, such as setting appointments, so you can better focus.

What are some of the ways you assuage the stress in your day-to-day sales role?

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I was totally unprepared for the physical effects of cold calling.

If you’re even slightly like me, stress is a trigger, that makes me eat.   Don’t get me wrong. I don’t munch away whilst on my calls, but if I’m on a call for a long time, and I begin to lose focus, I get stressed, and think about food. Years ago, I’ll admit it, I was a smoker, and although that demon is long gone, that same Tasmanian devil now propels me to the kitchen. When I began in the B2B lead generating business, I was unaware of what can happen if someone says 1) “sign me up,” or 2) “not interested.” And, it’s always one or the other. What’d I do? I headed straight for the fridge. Bear in mind, I work from my home office – so my all access pass had me at my stainless steel top-of-the-line, French-door Goddess of the Goodies –  A LOT! Whatever was there, as long as it was bite-sized, I’d grab it. Believe me, it took me quite a while to realize that it mattered not what I reached for – See’s chocolates, pieces of cheese, or pieces of raw veggies. I was either feeling happy that I had succeeded at my mission or crummy because I (not really) was turned down. One day, there I was, staring into the light of the fridge, reaching for something I had no desire to eat, that I realized that I’d gone and developed a Jones. At first, I said to myself that at least I was not the person who kept a bottle in my desk drawer to take a nip every now and then. Nor was I like the gentlemen from Mad Men and their office cocktail de-stressers. But the munchies, for me — exactly the same – a crutch. You know what they say? Recognizing that there is a problem is half the battle. I embraced my new habit by acknowledging it. Oprah or my shrink – (maybe both) had given me permission to do this, and I started to smoke again. JUST KIDDING!

That’s it. Just watch for these triggers, and remember to go for the carrots.