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
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
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.