Making a living in sales is stressful. That’s just a fact, and maybe not even a bad fact. After all, one person’s stress is another person’s excitement. But life in sales means constant suspense. Every morning, salespeople get up and go out to slay a brand new dragon. Nothing is guaranteed. Some days are just phone calls after phone calls. Each one more discouraging than the last, and not a cent to show for it. Other days, the deals come in so fast, it’s hard to keep up. It’s a thrill. It’s depressing. It’s a roller coaster. This is why I want to share with you mental health tips for salespeople. While each of us has a different journey, I think you can apply these tips to make sure you are taking care of your whole self.
A Mental Toll Over Time
That roller coaster ride of sales takes a mental toll over time. When we are in a high-stress situation, our bodies produce the hormone cortisol, better known as the “fight or flight” response. “Fight or flight” is literally there for our survival. But this feeling is meant to subside just as soon as the threat has passed. If it’s sustained too long, it backfires on our bodies. Too much-sustained cortisol cuts down on our immune system’s ability to fight off illness and even plays a part in inviting osteoporosis later in life.
Significantly for our mental health and well-being, a flood of cortisol can also affect our memory. Have you ever been with a loved one who received a serious diagnosis in the doctor’s office? Afterward, they probably asked you: “What did the doctor say? It’s all a blur.”
If we’re in a suspenseful job like sales, we need a way to balance the cortisol with oxytocin, the hormone we produce when we mellow out. The “love hormone” plays a big role in social bonding, romantic attraction, and childbirth — the most beautiful experiences in life, when time seems to slow down. Oxytocin floods us when we feel free and easy. It’s what we feel when we get a chance to rest.
A life in sales is all about unpredictability, which often feels like “fight or flight.” That’s why successful sales professionals learn early that they can better handle the unpredictability of their job if they create predictability for themselves. Here are a few mental health tips for salespeople to incorporate into your schedule to take better care of yourself.
Get up at the same time each day, even if you don’t have appointments. Have breakfast and get dressed just the same as if you were at a physical office, and the boss would like you to start work on time. You are the boss! And you deserve a full day’s work from you, the employee (!).
If you’re one of those folks who just doesn’t like to meditate, maybe it’s time to try again. Even a brief meditation break each day can yield big rewards in your career. You don’t have to have a guru and all the rest. Just taking five minutes to sit still, close your eyes, and breathe deeply can help you break the cortisol rush, clear your head, and let the oxytocin in.
Want the bliss of an oxytocin flood? Do a half-hour of cardio. No matter how discouraged you felt going in, getting through your workout gives you your first victory of the day. That sets you up with the confidence to really listen to your prospects and customers, so you can offer the products and solutions that are best for them. Any successful salesperson can tell you that listening is key to building long-term success.
Hitting your yearly sales target seems overwhelming until you break it down and plan how you’re going to do it, week by week and day by day. Whether you’re all about spreadsheets or even hanging up an old-fashioned calendar on the wall, keep track of your plan and how it’s going. If you’re behind, don’t sweat it — look at the plan and see how you can adjust. Experienced salespeople know there’s always an answer. How do you build a great castle cathedral? One brick at a time.
Be a team player
Great salespeople love to compete. Your competitive spirit is what enables you to give that extra effort for the win. But to keep that competitive drive at its healthiest, you need to remember you’re not working for you alone. Life is bigger than a quarterly quota, and it’s important to share your ups and downs with a trusted team. The support of your friends and colleagues, through your losses as well as your victories, helps you take a rest from stress and come back strong. (Remember to be there for them, too!)
Ask for help
Needless to say, please don’t bring your stress home and take it out on others (spouse, kids, friends). Don’t increase your stress by trying to solve it all yourself. Whether it’s a friend, colleague, or mental health professional, find someone to talk with about how you’re feeling.
As we summarize mental health tips for salespeople, here’s another great tip for your benefit. Our community, Sales Allies, is where sales professionals can learn, share, and grow with each other. Our community is filled to the brim with sales experience, and we can’t wait to share tactics and strategies. We invite you to keep checking in with us as we add content and services designed to support you in your successful super sales career.