Top Tips to Optimize Your Performance in High- Pressure Sales Jobs

BY Kathy Crosett
Featured image for “Top Tips to Optimize Your Performance in High- Pressure Sales Jobs”

Sales reps who feed on adrenalin thrive in high-​pressure sales jobs. But what about everyone else? Not all sales professionals possess the same temperament. Reps who feel stressed in high-​pressure sales jobs can take steps to stay calm and boost productivity.

Optimize Your Performance in High-​Pressure Sales Jobs

Jeff Haden, contributing editor at Inc​.com, recently analyzed the Yerkes-​Dobson law as it relates to job performance. This law is “a psychological principle that describes the relationship between arousal (not that kind of arousal) and performance.” For many people, there’s an optimal point where stress induces a response that yields peak performance. Too little stress in a situation, especially work-​related, yields no interest and possibly boredom. And we’re probably all aware of when stress overloads us, leading to anxiety, a general system shutdown and poor performance. What can we do to find the sweet spot where stress brings about the kind of performance we want?

Step Back and Rethink Your Situation

Many of us set up our workday with a plan to achieve specific goals. We’ll finish a report or enter yesterday’s result into the CRM system because we’re already behind. The stress, and the trouble, often starts when someone else’s expectations or actions mess with our schedule. You might try to log into the CRM system and find out it will be down for the day. Now you’ll definitely miss your boss’s deadline for updating your activity report. The stress levels begin to creep up. To make matters worse, the contact at one of your biggest accounts is out for the day, apparently ignoring the fact that they promised you an answer on the upsell you’ve been pitching to them.

This is when you might start to feel flushed. Or maybe you’re so aggravated, you cruise to the kitchen and eat a donut because it will make you feel better for a few minutes. Meanwhile, your blood pressure could be rising. At this point, it’s easy to decide that the entire world is against you and that you’ll never make it in any of the high-​pressure sales jobs available to you.

Another option is to slow down and remind yourself of what’s at stake. Most day-​to-​day stressors have to do with deadlines not being met. Acknowledge this detail. Remember that nobody will be seriously injured or suffer tremendously if you haven’t met a deadline.

Adjust Your Work Style

Think through alternate ways to work effectively for the day. Reschedule the tasks you haven’t been able to complete to the next available time slot. Apologize to your boss and anyone else who has been impacted by the issue you’re having and let them know you’re taking steps to keep it from happening again. 

Modify Your Schedule

In addition, remember that some of the stress in high-​pressure sales jobs comes from outside the organization. The best way to control that stress is to take a deep breath, reframe the situation, and regroup. Other stress may come from internal factors, items that you can control. First, take a look at how you schedule your to-​do lists and appointments. Are you being too optimistic about how long things take? While you might benefit from a little stress to achieve optimal performance, don’t let it get out of control. Block time periods throughout the day to allow yourself to catch up.

Upgrade Your Skills

For some reps, stress comes in the form of not feeling prepared before connecting with an important account. Did you know the top self-​reported selling weaknesses by reps are networking, handling objections and prospecting? The best way to handle that problem is to educate yourself and upgrade your skills by taking the SalesCred master classes. When you feel qualified to take on the challenges presented in high-​pressure sales jobs, you’ll find it easier to balance stress with better performance.

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.