Managers: Here’s How to Dial Down Anxiety in Your Sales Reps

BY Kathy Crosett
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As we make our way through a whole new way of doing business, mostly virtually, you may need to dial down anxiety for some of your sales reps. Before COVID-​19 changed our lives, your reps may have been accustomed to coming into the office every day. They may also have been out talking to prospects face-​to-​face, especially if they were selling to restaurant accounts or salons, which are now closed. Without that human contact, in person, on a daily basis, some of your reps will feel more stressed than others.

Who Is Likely to be Stressed

Many sales reps, based on the DISC theory of human behavior, have high scores as Influencers. They thrive on the personal interaction. If you’ve been giving your sales job candidates hiring assessment, you’ll know who is most likely to experience anxiety. In general, these individuals have low self-​esteem and low clarity about who they are and why they matter in the professional world.

The cause of this anxiety has to do with their general outlook. These folks are prone to believing the glass is half-​full. And they’ll worry that the current situation is more negative than it actually is. This state of affairs may cause them to lose initiative and direction at work.

How You Can Help Dial Down Anxiety

You might feel that all you have to do is check in as usual for a one-​on-​one with your sales reps. And you might think a phone call is enough. It’s not. Remember that a virtual conversation, even if it is video, doesn’t give your anxious sales reps sufficient support. Sure, they can see your face, but they can’t read all of your body language. They can’t give you a high-​five and gauge if your response is less enthusiastic than usual. This lack of information may drive your reps to assume the worst. They’ll start to imagine the company is going out of business or they will lose their jobs. Increase the number of your check-​ins. Talk to these reps on a daily basis. You might even want to do a quick virtual huddle every morning to rally your reps and help them focus on their key objectives.

Your reps need reassurance. They need clarity. And, they need a reminder from you on how they contribute to the organization. Emphasize the special skills and talents they have that will help the organization in the long run. In our Voice of the Sales Rep survey, about 50% of respondents say they have a crystal-​clear idea of what they do better than anyone else at the organization. You can improve the number by spending time review the unique talents of each team member and taking the time to talk with them.

It’s hard enough for all of us to stay focused and productive right now. It’s equally hard for your most anxious reps, so help them dial down anxiety. If we all actively try to reduce stress, we will get through this period of time together.