Friday, July 19, 2013

Why Stress is Good for Sales People

Published in the Huffington Post earlier today:

With so much riding on closing the sale, making quota and generating revenue, sales reps are some of the most stressed out members of the workforce. Yet some stress may actually improve your performance. Recent research found short bursts of intense stress can improve your cognitive functions and make you more productive, even boosting your overall health. While many studies advise workers to reduce their stress for better health, just a bit can help you to improve sales productivity and stay focused. But be careful to note what type of stress you're experiencing and make sure you don't overload yourself -- the key is to recognize deadlines are good, but burnout is bad.

Stress Improves Your Brain Power According to New Scientist, a technology and health resource, recent research identified short periods of stress can increase a person's cognitive functions, resulting in brain power improvements. Researcher Kirstin Aschbacher of the University of California, San Francisco, and her colleagues sought out to examine if small intervals of intense stress produces the same adverse effects as chronic mental strain. However, the researchers found the opposite to be true, with the short bursts of stress improving an individual's concentration and making them better able to handle future mental strain.

Aschbacher described smaller periods of psychological stress as a way to make your mental muscles stronger. "It's like weightlifting, where we build muscles over time," Aschbacher said.
In fact, the research highlighted short quantities of stress causes the body to release the hormone cortisol, which can improve immunity in small doses. But you mustn't overdo it because too much stress can result in excess cortisol, which suppresses your immunity.

As a sales rep you want to be able to use stress to your advantage, as health expert Lisa Evans recently advised in Entrepreneur. You don't have to be stressed all the time, but knowing if you are the kind of rep who works better under a deadline or you need to plan ahead to be productive can improve your mental functions and your overall performance.

By embracing stress, hormones like cortisol and adrenaline enter the blood stream for a short amount of time, increasing your memory and cognitive function. With the flood of hormones in your system, you may be able to think faster and become sharper. This can be beneficial right before you enter that client meeting, make the sales pitch or negotiate the deal.

Most sales reps know that feeling of intensity right before the call, and the let down afterwards so pay attention to how your body feels. When you use stress to improve your short-term performance it's also important to take some time to recuperate afterward to recharge your body and de-stress.

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