www.mercuri.netFor more information contact: Thomas TrillingTel: +49 2132 93 06 0 or firstname.lastname@example.orgIMPLEMENTINGSUCCESSFULMETHODSSTRESS MANAGEMENT IN SALESA Mercuri International White Paper Page 1 (3)Why stressed salespeople sell lessand don’t even feel that they are stressed.The pressure to sell is always high. Market share,earnings or even careers are at stake. This canoften lead to negative stress. But, contrary to themyth that a good sales person is a good actor, theeffects cannot be hidden. The inevitable result isthat sales calls, meetings and ratios are not at theirbest.A normal working day in sales: It should be a calmbreakfast before a busy day but the Smartphone isshowing a "red flag" in the forecast along with 40 newmails. His thoughts turn on the trip to the customers:"will I hit target?... Holiday plans have to be postponed,need to accelerate... 200 Mails still to be read... Andtomorrow, I have to prepare the quarterly report for myboss... Traffic jam on the road? – oh no, I’ll be late…”The subsequent appointment with the customer is notas good as expected. To save time lunch will be from aFast Food Drive Through. "Tonight, I’ll run a few miles,that will help”, he thinks. The run in the eveningrefreshes him but even so he lies awake at night. Histhoughts are fixed on the upcoming appointment withthe boss. The next morning he does feel really fit. Soonthere will be the weekend to work on the mails …Stress reduces performance in salesStress is often stigmatized as a sign of weakness in theperformance driven world of sales. Further, there is thewrong belief that stress only exists where there arevisible symptoms like insomnia and exhaustion. Butstress happens hundreds of times a day, long beforethe symptoms become noticeable.Every time a salesman even thinks or talks about anuisance, a problem or anything negative, the stressmechanism is activated. And these situations arehappening all the time: price negotiations,presentations, "difficult" clients, demanding customers,failures, lack of coordination between internaldepartments or a stressful working environment. Butalso the traffic jam on the motorway; or a train or planedelay can cause stress.Stress affects a salesman long before a critical limit hasbeen exceeded and symptoms occur. Each athleteknows that with any negative thought their efficiencyand performance will be reduced. It is all the moreEven one negative thought causesstress. Salesmen may have negativestress a few hundred times a day.
A Mercuri International White Paper Page 2 (3)STRESS MANAGEMENT IN SALES. CONT.www.mercuri.netFor more information contact: Thomas TrillingTel: +49 2132 93 06 0 or email@example.com that many sales professionals so easily gettrapped by problems so easily, reducing their ownconfidence, conviction and performance. Because wecan’t hide all the changes in our choice of words,intonation, gestures etc. stress directly affects the resultof a sales conversation with a customer.Did you know that 80% of all diseases are triggered orcaused by stress? That 60% of all visits to the doctorare the result of stress? You think that you take part insports regularly and that stress cannot harm you?Exercise or relaxation does not affect the evaluation of anuisance in the future – the salesman will be angryagain about the same topics. The consequence is thatstress in sales reduces the ability to convince and toperform. And every suboptimal sales visit, day off,doctor visit or replacement costs a lot of money.And studies show that many managers are not goodrole models: they accept their own stress damage anddemand the same from their staff (e.g. Haufe, 2011).Less stress leads to better resultsHigher gross margin through better sales pitches:Even in high pressure situations, sustaining charismaand the power of persuasion means that language willbe more customer- and solution oriented. The value ofthe offer can then be presented calmly. Price challengesare reduced and the negotiation position isstrengthened.Better success rates in the sales process:The sales process is shortened, because the sellerfaces less buying resistance. Fewer appointments arerequired to close the deal. Calm and confidentcommunication lead to an improved information baseand better networking in the buying centre.More effective use of the working time:Negative talk about customers, colleagues orsupervisors and over-focussing on problems is reducedto a minimum. In an a typical sales team, severalhundred hours of working time a month can be used forgoal-oriented work instead. Fewer problems will betaken home and work-life balance will improve.Combining a high-performance salesculture with stress managementThe culture that characterizes a sales organisation isusually built up over several years and is based onshared values, ways of thinking and standards ofconduct of the whole sales team. It is stronglyinfluenced by existing sales management andleadership systems.To integrate effective stress management into the salesculture and to improve performance, Team membersneed to feel valued at all times, have a sense of securityas well as a certain freedom in decision making. Thismakes a real difference. For example, in highperforming teams the amount of positive communicationis three times greater than in average performing teams(Fredrickson/ Losada 2005)However, research shows that the reality of corporateculture is far from the ideal that the companies wouldlike it to be. Middle managers in particular, who reallyare in the day-to-day-business and closest to theemployees, often have a significantly more negativeview of the corporate culture than top managers do.(Kienbaum, 2011)Each athlete knows that with anynegative thought their efficiency andperformance will be reduced. Theability to convince is directly linked tothe stress level.The positive communication in highperforming teams is 3 times greaterthan in average performing teams.
A Mercuri International White Paper Page 3 (3)STRESS MANAGEMENT IN SALES. CONT.www.mercuri.netFor more information contact: Thomas TrillingTel: +49 2132 93 06 0 or firstname.lastname@example.orgExecutives design the sales cultureThe sales culture is strongly influenced by the wayexecutives behave. If a Sales Director writes emails toemployees at 11 p.m. he or she implies that they shouldbe read and answered at that time too. The unwrittenlaw might become "If you want your sales career toprogress in this business, then make sure you’reavailable 24/7”; and the "don’t come to me withproblems, only with solutions" is not always the bestcorporate culture! Sales leaders need to evaluate theeffects this all has on health, communication,relationships and sales.The good news is that solution oriented thinking thatreduces stress can be implemented, even in high-pressure sales situations. The key to minimizing stresslevels lies in the design of the change process.Examples of this are the introduction of a newremuneration system and the process of acquiring newcustomers. A salesman, who was used to talking withtechnicians about products features and who now hasto talk about added values on a management level,needs proper support in the learning process. Otherwisehe will suffer from stress in many ways.The components of the sales culture that are perceivedas stressful depends on the corporate environment andthe people working in the company. The starting point isto identify and analyse all the elements that stresslevels. This will allow you to implement purposefully andcontinually. All the different activities need to beintegrated at level of the individual, the sales team andthe overall design of the sales management system. Ifthis done successfully then motivation, the workingatmosphere, customer relationships and the sales resultitself can improve significantly and sustainably.Thomas TrillingSenior Sales ConsultantHead of Mental Sales PerformanceMercuri International Deutschland GmbHhttp://de.mercuri.net/content/mental-sales-performanceThe good news is that solutionoriented thinking that reduces stresscan be implemented, even in high-pressure sales situations.