I was talking with my father the other day and Performance vs. Stress is one of the topics he discusses with his mentees. My father has spent several decades mentoring CEOs of companies and provides great insights to help them improve their company culture and grow their businesses. So, it’s great that I have this wonderful insight in my own backyard.
We were talking about the change in the market and how much more many online sales counselors (OSCs) are taking on, and how peak performing OSC’s are letting leads slip through the cracks because there is either too high a volume to properly deal with, there are no homes to sell because their communities are limited right now, or both! And some are even becoming burnt out.
This Performance vs. Pressure – or Stress as my Dad likes to call it…and which I think is more appropriate – Diagram shows that rising up the vertical access you have performance, while as you move across the horizontal access you have more and more of a stress load.
Essentially some pressure or stress is healthy, but too much of it results in distress.
Underloaded – At the early stage of the curve there is a danger of falling into boredom
This is why it’s so important when finding an OSC to:
- Hire creative thinkers
- Identify self-starters
- Set attainable goals
- Expect diversification in follow-up
- Provide adequate tools
- Generate proper leads
- Evaluate your program
In the first quarter of this rising diagram, you want to make sure you are not under loading your OSC (Most of them would laugh at that concept.) but instead creating a rise in expectations and in a sense a rise in pressure for performance. As you move into a healthy tension you become more focused and motivated and pass into Eustress.
Eustress is the normal stress needed to really see results.
When you break the barrier between being under loaded and have healthy stress as a high performing online sales counselor this is when you are:
- Moving and grooving
- Meeting and exceeding goals
- Spending time building rapport
- Discovering pain points
- Experimenting with other tools
- Fine tuning your program
As you continue on this path you reach peak performance and a healthy amount of pressure and stress. This is the optimum level for performance and where we should strive to stay in our work environment. This is healthy. This provides opportunities for work life balance.
But if we aren’t careful….we hit overload.
Overload – this is when performance begins to suffer, and stress and pressure start to build.
This started happening to many OSC’s during COVID and continues as lead volume increases yet the ability to sell for so many has decreased because of availability, rising cost of materials, and longer build times. Many online sales counselors are experiencing a continued influx of leads, and yet an inability to sell. So this goes against their natural process and their instincts.In this phase increased pressure doesn’t improve performance, though for many they were non-stop setting appointments, and it may have looked like they were increasing performance just because of their metrics. But many OSC’s were hovering between overload and burnout.
This last year has been the perfect storm of demand, demand, demand – and supply is becoming more and more limited. OSC’s have definitely hit overload and many are struggling to stay out of burnout. One of the only things that keeps them from total burnout is seeing the increase in their bonuses. Money is a strong factor that often keeps people from quitting but may keep them in a stressful state.
But it’s this same motivator that sometimes gets in the way of putting them back into better work life balance and bring their stress level back to a manageable productive amount.
How do we reverse this cycle and get our OSC’s into the healthy area vs. the unhealthy area of Performance vs. Stress?
First, we need to do an evaluation of the online sales program. Sometimes there are problems leadership is not aware of that can hinder a program and cause undue stress.
- Perhaps it’s the amount of responsibilities piled on top of an OSC
- Solution redistribute some of the tasks that do not fall under an OSC to regain peak performance.
- Perhaps they have not had time to adjust to new tools
- Provide more training and make sure they are set up for success whenever tools change.
- Maybe the old tools are no longer adequate
- Evaluate tools such as CRM, Calling Platforms, Chats, Bots etc and see if it’s time to switch to more streamlined solutions.
- Maybe the volume has increased beyond what the individual or team can handle
- Consider growing the team and bringing on more help
- Maybe there are problems with the lead hand-off
- Get in and do an evaluation to find out what sort of team conflicts may be happening
- Sometimes it has to do with the quality of the leads
- Track lead sources and constantly make adjustments
- Sometimes it has to do with relationships within the company
- Sometimes a 360 degree evaluation may be needed to come up with a plan
You can’t fix the problem with a one size fits all solution and that’s where having someone who can come in and help assess the situation is helpful. Someone who can then identify YOUR pain points and work on fixing the issues so that the whole program can shift back into the healthy zone and away from the distressed area.
If we are about our company culture and our employees we don’t want people operating in that panic and anxiety zone.
If your OSC is experiencing distress, exhaustion, anxiety, panic, and anger and were otherwise happy before 2020, it may be time to evaluate the situation and bring your OSC’s back to peak performance.