There's a myth that the grass is greener just on the other side of the hill. In sales jobs, the myth is that there's a better sales job somewhere else. "If I can just find a better place," we tell ourselves, "I'll be happier, with a bigger salary, and less stressed."
I'm here to bust that myth. I believe that any sales job has positives and negatives. That means that the best sales job might be the one you're in. You might be thinking there's a better one out there because you're under stress. According to Gallup, only 12.5% of Americans are dissatisfied at work. That means that 87.5% of people are -- at least -- satisfied with what they're doing. However, even salespeople who are happy have to deal with stress.
Stress is emotional strain that comes from the demands placed on us. How, then, can a salesperson reduce stress?
Here are nine ideas:
- Increase preparation time: Often, stress comes from being ill prepared. If you increase the amount of time you spend preparing, you’ll almost surely experience less stress.
- Ask for help: Salespeople have egos. And an ego can easily get in the way of asking for a helping hand. Even the most competitive salesperson should be comfortable reaching out to others for assistance.
- Talk to your manager: Kind of like asking for help, a conversation with your manager can be tough, but it might also lead to positive change.
- Realign your expectations: Could your dissatisfaction be due to a misalignment of your expectations? Do you, for example, have unrealistic expectations of your own abilities?
- Realign the expectations of others: On the other hand, do you have unrealistic expectations of other people? If you have expectations of your coworkers that they aren’t meeting, perhaps you can talk to them. I meet with salespeople on a regular basis who are incredibly skilled at gaining commitment from prospects, but have trouble convincing internal customers to help them. Sales is sales, whether you're selling to your own customer service team or a potential customer.
- Take a break: There’s nothing wrong with a holiday. Take advantage of a three-day weekend or vacation. Just unplug! As an aside, think carefully about your out-of-office reply, though.
- Think positively: As cliched as it may sound, a dose of optimism and glass-half-full thinking can go a long way to reduce dissatisfaction. The difference between optimists and pessimists is hard to miss. Check yourself.
- Identify your strengths: Sure, this is a bit of self-promotion, but the most successful salespeople are the most self aware. Consider taking a sales assessment to identify your strengths and developmental areas.
- Find a new job: Ultimately, the problem may be a complete misalignment of your abilities and the requirements of this sales job. If that’s the case, you might have no choice. I recognize that this is a dangerous, last resort.
Dissatisfaction and stress at work is unpleasant. But there are only two things that are totally under your control at work: The quality of your output and your reaction to your situation.