Coping With and Reducing Business Stress

Jeff Cochran


Businessmen are faced with challenges on a daily basis that tend to give rise to stress. Balancing all that their jobs demand from them, as well as fulfilling the role that is needed in the home can prove to be a taxing juggling act. Especially in a lackluster economy, stress seems like an epidemic. “Nearly half of the 500 small-business owners surveyed in the United States reported increased stress because of the sluggish economy, with 35 percent reporting they regularly lose sleep and nearly a quarter saying their health had suffered,” says Denver Post reporter Aldo Svaldi.

Loss of Economic Security is the Greatest Stressor

Loss of economic security is cited by the Washington Post as the greatest stressor. Executives are in a unique position because they are not only worried about their own financial wellbeing, but often are responsible for the security of a multitude of sales people under their leadership. Here are 5 ways to cope with and reduce business stress.

Remember the bigger picture.

Often we can let our problems get the best of us, even giving them power over us. Focusing on life as a whole and thinking about what is going right can often renew our perspective. Jotting down things that are going right is a good practice and will remind you that your present circumstances are not the whole story.

Keep a clean work area.

Cluttered desks and unorganized office space can contribute greatly to your anxiety. Taking a few moments in the morning to clear your office of any trash and put documents in places where you will be able to find them will save you time and energy. Exercising this type of control over your environment will boost your morale and give you a sense of power over your life.

Practice meditation.

Meditation could include slow breathing exercises. Former medical professional at the Washington Post, James Gordon, reports that simple meditative exercises have helped financial advisors, child-care workers, and veterans find an inner place of peace. Breathing deeply and slowly will relax your body as well as refresh your perspective.

Focus on helping others.

Though it would seem like time spent on doing simple acts of kindness would take away from the work you are trying to tackle, simply helping others will serve you well when stressed. Forbes cites the University of Pennsylvania’s studies that prove this fact. Focusing on service rather than your own issues will help you overcome your issues.

Take control of your circumstances.

Responsible individuals resist the temptation to procrastinate. When you are proactively solving your problems and fixing what you have control over, you are building within yourself a confidence that you have control over your own life. You’ll see the positive results every time you insist on getting things done.

Are you taking control of your stress?


Tools for Successful Negotiating

Jeff Cochran


Performance improvement for any business requires intense attention to where time and energy are being spent. Time is a resource that you cannot afford to waste. An area where many companies commonly get hooked and expend unnecessary energy is during business negotiations.

If an executive does not know the motives and needs of the prospect, discerning the direction of the negotiations can be very challenging. Rarely are consultations quick and easy processes, often leading to a standstill. The following systematic approach to successful negotiating will generate sales while leaving a lasting, positive impression on your client:

Ask questions. When met with a reluctant client who wants to end the meeting with, “We need more time,” it is essential that you ask questions like, “What’s holding you back?” rather than letting the sale walk out the door with a simple, “When can we contact you?”. This puts the client on the spot, forcing them to reveal their true feelings about you and what you are offering. This also allows you to determine their goals and find out how best to proceed.

Be timely with facts. Details that are sure to persuade your client need to be disclosed at the right time. When selling points are revealed in a timely manner, it can have a great positive impact on the progress of the negotiations.

Make a firm offer. This is an essential key to success. It is best to be honest and reasonable from the beginning. This will often reveal how valuable you truly are in the client’s eyes. Being strong in a fair price will avoid bringing the negotiations to a halt.

Leave ego out of the picture. Nothing can halt negotiations like ego. As Christopher Voss said in a recent Forbes interview, “Effective negotiating is more complicated than making an offer, considering the other side’s offer and then trying to basically shove those ideas into alignment.” Clients will sense from the get-go if you respect them. Their sense that you want to treat them with respect will make or break a deal.

Upon adopting these simple habits and tools of sales execution, you’ll find that you spend less time with the ball out of your court. CEO Kathleen Steffey refers to this negotiating approach as a way to ‘work on the problem, not the symptom.’

These tools can do wonders for the effectiveness of your approach to negotiations.



“Are you working on the symptom or the problem…?”

Solving Common Negotiating Problems

Jeff Cochran


In the business of negotiating, companies can have a lot on the line. Often assertiveness and ambition can be misconstrued and interpreted as aggression. In order to succeed and bring about the results that both parties are look for, it is important to remember 4 negotiating skills:

Keep to the facts. When money is on the line, things can get personal. Professionals, however, are able to see the big picture. They have a knowledge of what is being offered. The facts should be what drive the negotiations, not personal involvement or feelings. This results-oriented tool is sure to bring about the outcome that is most desirable, because it prevents the environment from becoming hostile.

There is no “I” in team. Making the client or prospect feel that you are on their side is essential to having success. Using the word “we” and phrases like “let’s do this” can do wonders for a company looking to make a deal. Self-centered sentences that start with the word “I” will often make your prospect feel overpowered. This will often result in a halt and subsequent failure in negotiations.

Body language speaks loudly. From the time the prospect walks through the door, your body language is of upmost importance. It is important for any salesman to always be conscious of their body language, as this speaks as loudly as words over the negotiating table. In a Forbes interview, Panorama Software founder and successful negotiator Rony Ross recalls many instances where people in negotiations would lean back in their chairs. This gesture, Ross claims, not only puts a physical distance between themselves and the other side, but an emotional one as well. For negotiators, this unwisely communicates that you are unwilling to find middle ground.

Understand the prospect. The final negotiating tip that could perhaps sum up the preceding 3 is to understand the prospect. Prospective clients can sense whether or not they are being respected and understood. It is in your best interest as a negotiator to communicate this effectively. It is important to give the prospect the impression that your intentions are to serve their best interest. However, while giving this type of impression is beneficial, compromising and allowing them to manipulate you will lead to a solution that is less desirable for you.

Using this approach to solve common negotiating problems will create a better and more cooperative environment, with great results for all involved.