How to Avoid Sales Rep Burnout

BY Kyla Snodgrass
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In a sales situation, did you know that your emotions not only influence your perceptions, but also the decisions of prospects? Emotional contagion is one contributing factor to sales rep burnout. Not only does this negatively affect the sales rep, but this turns off prospects from wanting to do business. Read more to find out what burnout is, how people participate in emotional contagion, how it affects prospects, and what can be done to avoid sales rep burnout in the future.

What is Sales Rep Burnout?

Mayo Clinic defines burnout as, “a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that also involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity.” Basically, it is when an individual struggles with stress or obstructive thoughts that negatively affect how they behave and think. This mental state can be due to a combination of aspects that may or may not be related to work. Some of these factors could be out of a person's control. It can happen to anyone, including sales reps, and may leave them feeling angry, frustrated, exhausted, and unfulfilled.

Emotional Contagion Aiding in Sales Rep Burnout

What is emotional contagion and how does it infect prospects? Psychology Compass explains that it is fragmented into two categories, much like a virus: transmitting and catching emotions. The spread of feelings influences empathic individuals more than others, but even apathetic people can feel the effects of emotional contagion. However, acknowledging negative emotions linked to burnout before going into a meeting with a prospect could positively alter the outcome and prevent the transmission of antipathy.

Transmitting Emotions

Transmitting is described as “inflicting emotions on others,” using your tone of voice, body language and sharing emotions. We recently highlighted how how verbal and non-​verbal communication impacts a conversation. If a burned out sales rep goes into a meeting emitting negativity, the prospect is sure to feel it. Nonetheless, positive emotions can be shared just as easily as negative ones.

Catching Emotions

Catching is a term that refers to “protecting yourself from other people’s negative emotions.” Knowing how you catch emotions will tell you whether you’re at the risk of being infected by the statements and behavior of other people. Protecting yourself from others’ feelings involves setting clear boundaries, recognizing and labeling feelings, focusing on your body language, and imagining positive imagery.

How Psychometric Assessments Prevent Sales Rep Burnout

How does a sales rep know if they are more likely to transmit or catch, positive or negative emotions? The SalesCred application by SalesFuel provides users with psychometric insights into how they may be acting during workplace conversations, as well as questions or ideas that challenge their usual behavior. When individuals become aware of their negative tendencies, they are more likely to want to change them. The acknowledgement of a problem is the first step towards its solution.

Ways to Reduce Sales Rep Burnout

In order to preserve your emotions, focus on what you can control. It is not possible for everyone to feel positive and happy all the time. In spite of this, sales reps can practice conversation etiquette to prevent emotional contagion. The next time you feel you're approaching burnout, try these exercises before going into a deal:

  • Breathing techniques
  • Mindfulness
  • Write down how you're feeling
  • Take notice of non-​verbal communication
  • Practice and record speaking the same sentence with different voice tonality
  • Physical exercise

Ultimately, the steps to avoid sales rep burnout may not be the same for everyone. However, by being conscious of the emotions you transmit and catch, you can emit positivity and protect yourself from negativity. Using SalesCred assessments to understand what feelings you are predisposed to and answering questions regarding your intentions can help you through this process.

Photo by Tara Winstead from Pexels.