Tips to help keep your stress levels manageable during your busiest season of the year.
From Fortune 500 executives falling prey to Zoom fatigue to retail and restaurant employees dealing with over-the-top customers acting out, no one, it seems, is immune to on-the-job stress these days.
And yet, there are some vocations that are generally more prone to high-pressure conditions than others.
With the constant pressure to meet sales goals, make conversions, and serve even the crankiest customers, sales is certainly one of them. Any agent or broker who has lived through the annual open enrollment for insurance companies can certainly attest to the voracity of that fact.
Coping with Stress during AEP and OEP
The back-to-back marathon of Annual Enrollment Period (AEP) followed by Open Enrollment Period (OEP) begins in October and stretches into January.
As the number-one opportunity of the year in health insurance sales to gain new clients and retain existing ones, this four-month sprint is feast-or-famine time for agents and most brokers. The earnings potential is golden—but unyielding deadlines, compliance concerns, and customer service issues can be a headache.
No matter how slick your pitch is or how money your insurance sales tactics may be, learning the art of self-care is just as essential to making the most of this busy season.
Properly managing your stress levels helps you remain performance-driven, while sidestepping the negative (even dire) effects stress can have on your mood, body, and behavior. The good news is, surviving (even thriving!) during AEP and OEP is doable with a little mindfulness and effort.
Here are a few suggestions to help you get started.
Put your blinders on. Fully focus on one to-do at a time and ignore the 10 gazillion other items on your list. Working steadily, you will get to all of them, and working efficiently will not only make you more productive, it also leaves you with a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.
Think like a chef. Professional chefs have a saying, mise en place, or “everything in its place.” Putting in the prep time to get organized is key to setting yourself up for success and avoiding frustration along the way. Chefs also understand the importance of choosing the right tools for the job. If you don’t have the tools you need, it’s important to get them. A powerful CRM, for instance, allows you to input the raw ingredients—client details, a record of communications, etc.—so you can automate and streamline quoting, enrollments, and more. Getting more done with less effort automatically decreases your stress levels.
Shake off rejection. Did you know Tom Selleck was up for the role of Indiana Jones, or that Julia Roberts was this close to landing the role that won Sandra Bullock an Oscar for The Blind Side? In sales, rejection is one of the few constants, and it’s no picnic. But everyone, no matter how famous or successful they may be, faces rejection, and sometimes to their pain. The key is to learn from it. When important sales calls go south, don’t take it personally, and ask yourself what you could have done to change the outcome. If the answer is “nothing” move on. If not, refine your reproach and keep moving.
Rise and shine. First off, getting a good night’s sleep is an imperative. Sleep deprivation, which can happen over time, has so many ill effects on your mental clarity and physical wellbeing that it’s hard to quantify. Once your circadian rhythms are all aligned, you can wake up refreshed and begin your day more powerfully. Whatever you find calming—walking your dog, reading the morning papers, or meditation—do it first thing. Carving out at least 20 minutes (and ideally at least an hour) to center yourself before the workday begins can help prevent stress before it even strikes. You will rack up bonus points for building in time to rustle up a healthy breakfast too!
Make yourself comfortable. Low-key stressors like jarring background noises or a confining workspace add up throughout the day. Whether you work from home, in an office, or a combination of the two, putting some thought into your physical work environment will pay off. At a minimum, a comfy chair, decluttered desk, and a few cozy touches (think framed pictures and plants) in a well-lit space can help kick stress to the curb and give your productivity and focus levels a solid boost.
How do you burn off stress and beat back anxiety? Exercise? Music? A favorite hobby? We’d love to hear from you and learn from you!
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