SAIL THROUGH THE HOLIDAY SALES SEASON
For sales reps, this can be a fast-paced time professionally and personally. Staying calm and powering on through the busy final stretch of the year will help you maintain focus on your goals.
Practice Mini-Meditation: Clients are more apt to trust – and buy from – a cool and confident rep. This simple technique can help. As you inhale slowly, think the words “I am,” and as you exhale, conclude with “at peace.” Keep repeating the inhale/exhale pattern until you feel a sense of calm. “You can do this anywhere – in the car, in the elevator on your way up to a meeting,” says Kathy Gruver, PhD, award-winning author of Conquer Your Stress With Mind/Body Techniques. “It turns on a relaxation response that calms the nervous system, readies the brain and lowers blood pressure.” Do this before your next presentation.
Use Creative Visualization: Anxious thoughts decrease cognitive function and wear you down physically. Counteract negative thinking with proactive positive visualization. This involves replacing the stressful thought with an imagining – a daydream, if you will – that puts you in a happy setting or scenario. “You can picture yourself making the sale or sitting on a beach in Tahiti – whatever brings a sense of well-being and calm,” says Gruver. “Even taking two to three minutes to do this can lead to clearer thinking and better performance.”
Massage Your Ears: It may sound odd, but rubbing or tugging on the ears can help reduce stress, says Tiffany Richards, owner of The Back Rub Company, a nationwide corporate wellness organization. “It stimulates acupuncture points in the body, and can help to eliminate wastes, balance the body and mind and reduce stress in a flash.”
Schedule Worry Time: A major component of stress is the worry factor that keeps a continued monologue in your mind of everything that could go wrong. “But if you schedule time to worry and follow through,” says corporate psychologist Dave Popple, president at Psynet Group, “your mind will know that you are taking it seriously and the monologue will eventually stop.”
Stimulate Your Senses: One of Gruver’s clients keeps a jar of sand in her desk drawer. When she gets stressed, she reaches into the jar and moves the sand around for a bit. Doing so has a calming effect on her. Why? Because the woman loves the beach and the tactile feel of the sand triggers the soothing sense of peace she feels when ocean-side. You can evoke a similar response by surrounding yourself with sensory stimulants – scents, objects, pictures – that evoke feelings of well-being.
Make Your Self-Talk Positive: Typically stress is accompanied by unconscious negative self-talk – “I'm never going to meet the deadline.” Or “The client will think I'm not prepared.” But, as Los Angeles-based psychologist Timothy Gunn notes, consciously changing that damaging monologue into positive messages reduces stress levels. “It sounds simple, but changing our thinking to things like ‘everything is going to work out fine’ or ‘the client will appreciate the work I've put into my presentation’ is really helpful.”
Divide Big Objectives into Smaller Steps: Start by looking at the expectations for you as a salesperson and then work backwards to your current situation. “If you are expected to make 20 sales, ask yourself how many contacts on average it takes to make one sale,” says Popple. “If it requires 10 contacts for one sale, how many leads do you need to make a contact and so on?” Once you have deconstructed the overarching objective, focus on taking each small step necessary to achieve that broader goal.