Sources of Anxiety in Home Improvement Sales

Home improvement sales is a unique environment. Suffering from anxiety is a common problem.

Sources of anxiety are the external factors that cause anxious feelings.

Within that, there are local and original sources of anxiety and then there can be an aggravator which may be temporary.

The local source is the immediate problem, i.e.’ desperately wanting the order.

Original Source – Maybe mounting debt.

Aggravator – Could be tension with a partner, worry about the economy or your own health.

Anyone of them may be manageable but the more negative influences there are, the more you are likely to trigger anxiety.

It might be that you have never suffered from anxiety, but it has surfaced for no apparent reason.

Without knowing the sources of anxiety, it can be a self-perpetuating problem as the worry about symptoms, in itself, can cause anxiety. There is some evidence to suggest that anxiety increases with age. Possibly related to the lifetime build-up of cortisol and adrenaline, menopause or just additional concerns about health, inadequate retirement plans and general ageing.

Working in the home improvement industry brings some unusual challenges, especially if selling is not natural for you. It is not easy and it changes. It’s a common saying in sales that you’re only as good as your last sale. You constantly have to start again. There are no long projects to work on. You see a customer, either get the order or you don’t, and then move on to the next one. You may have some that require a follow-up but in general, that is the case.

Don’t imagine that the more successful salespeople or business owners don’t feel anxiety too.

Their position is also subject to change. A dry run can quickly make a salesperson lose confidence, so they start overthinking and changing their processes. Anxiety creeps in so they are not showing their normal relaxed selves. Not actually doing anything wrong, but customers are surprisingly intuitive. They can smell fear and desperation.

Success can also breed confidence and arrogance. They start to feel that customers are lucky to have them visit and then reduce their efforts.

It’s a little like driving. Once you’ve learned how to drive, you can do it automatically but to drive in a straight line you still have to keep your hand on the steering wheel and make constant minor adjustments to stay on a straight line. The minute you take your hands off the wheel the car is going to veer off the carriageway.

We’ve already discussed the difference between local sources, Original Sources and Aggravators. In this course, we can only deal with the local sources as the original sources may require some deep diving into the past. IMAGE

If you think of it as a bucket full of cortisol and adrenaline, the more full your bucket is, the quicker it fills to the brim and spills over. Your anxiety starts when it spills over.  The more aggravators and original sources you have the fuller your bucket is to start with so you will reach an anxiety state more quickly. If you think of someone who you might say ‘has a short fuse’. It’s quite likely that his or her bucket is full.

If, before you even start your day, your bucket is half full, it won’t take much before the bucket is over spilling. Your concerns may be completely different from these ones but it is important to identify where your concerns are so that you put them in context and deal with them.

Not many people start with a completely empty bucket.

At the least, we all have our minor worries and some past history, with confidence or self-esteem. Even good things like new relationships, a big event or moving home can partly fill the bucket.

All these sources and aggravators can get mixed up when your stress is high.

No doubt all career choices carry their own difficulties but the way we work in Home Improvement sales, especially if you work for yourself and are dependent entirely on commission or profit, creates an unusual set of sources for anxiety. It is up to you to make it work for you. I’m not going through these to be negative about the industry because it’s been very good to me, but I did have to fit the way I live around the industry. It is not going to change for you so in order to embrace it and learn to love it, we need to understand it and to an extent, stop fighting it. Learn to make it work for you.

Great, you work for yourself – that means freedom, right?

No, it does not. Not if you want to earn decent money. I came into the business for freedom to an extent. I needed to be able to take my children to school and I wanted to be available for sports day and other events. In school time I used to be available for the 10 o’clock and 1 o’clock appointments, go home and feed them, then go out for the evening appointment. Available for 21 slots. Obviously, they didn’t always fill the slots so my time off was dependent on not having an appointment. It was tough but it worked for me at the time as the single parent of teenagers. I know a lot of parents work in the industry for similar freedom. Even now the kids have long left home, I still don’t want to be anywhere at 8 or 9 am. That just doesn’t work for me.

Remember to separate the job that you do from the person you are.

Our own view of ourselves and perceived value as a person can become directly related to how much we sell.

In times of difficulty, you may go into ‘survival mode’ which means that you stop doing all of the good things that give a more balanced view and offset some of the stress.

Use a notebook to track your anxiety symptoms and address them so that you can enjoy your career the way that you should.

In summary:

Get clear on what you want from your business and plan your time around that.

Take time off and look after your health and well-being so that your bucket is not always full.

Don’t join in all the moaning about the industry.

If you get an enquiry, be determined to give it your best shot.

Do a great job for your customers. Be a sales super hero and be proud of what you do. We change lives.

And most importantly – Learn what you need to learn and get your conversion rate up. That solves a lot of problems.

Happy selling.

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In times of difficulty, you may go into ‘survival mode’ which means that you stop doing all of the good things that give a more balanced view and offset some of the stress.

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