The fast-paced nature of a sales career can mean busy days filled with out-of-the-office client visits, meetings and calls. That high level of activity can also mean neglecting some important parts of a healthy daily routine, including exercise.
A recent story by Lou Carlozo for yesware.com cites a study by Dr. Drew Stephens, a business and marketing coach and author of Split Second Selling.
“Our professionals were mostly selling professionals and marketing managers that travel frequently, eat deplorably and work out when possible,” Stephens said. “We reviewed diet, nutrition and exercise programs. After six weeks on the program of proper nutrition and exercise, there was an 81 percent difference in performance. … There was less dozing at meetings, better closing rates on sales calls and less customer service issues.
For salespeople out in the field or those looking to break into the industry, maintaining an exercise program can provide a significant boost. Here’s a look at five reasons why.
1. Self-confidence: Once you get past the sweat and strain of a workout, there’s usually some degree of personal satisfaction. Julie Wilcox wrote about this recently for Fox News. “Regular workouts and the physical practice of yoga develop strength of body, mind and spirit,” she says. “Additionally, meditation and yogic breathing techniques help establish certainty about your inherent value. Improved carriage and self-assurance speaks loudly to prospective employers who are looking for people who can convince them they’ll get the job done.”
2. Leadership: Beyond the good feelings you can generate through exercise, it can also boost other opinions. In an interview with Forbes, trainer and nutrition specialist Shay de Silva discussed how others can view fitness in the workplace. “You may think you don’t need exercise for an added edge, but research by the Center for Creative Leadership determined that overweight leaders are often viewed as having less effective interpersonal relationships, poorer leadership capabilities, and lower overall job performance,” she says. “While these stereotypes may not be valid, having a slimmer physique can improve others’ perceptions of you as a leader.”
3. Decision-making: A fitness routine may not come to mind when you’re in the middle of a stressful situation at work. But Wilcox writes that yoga in particular can lead to a calming process. “Yoga helps establish clarity of mind when confronted with decision-making paralysis,” she writes. “When you don’t know what to do, try meditating. Chatter of the mind clouds thinking, and must be quieted before you can draw thoughtful conclusions. When you operate from a place of clarity, you will make stronger decisions and have a better sense of the action steps necessary to go after the right opportunities.
4. Energy boost: Relying on coffee or energy drinks to make it through the afternoon rush isn’t your best option, especially when you try to go to sleep several hours later. The energy you get from exercise is the key. “Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance,” according to the Mayo Clinic staff. “Exercise and physical activity deliver oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lungs work more efficiently, you have more energy to go about your daily chores.”
5. Seek balance: Just as the day-to-day action of a sales career can be taxing, so can the journey just to get there. For those pounding the pavement to get a sales job, exercise can help. As Wilcox writes, the balancing of hormones is a big reason why. “The moment we get stressed, our brains and bodies produce cortisol and adrenaline,” she writes. “In the right amounts, these hormones are essential for well-being. However when overproduced, they can be counter-productive — causing slow digestion, unnecessary hunger and unhealthy behaviors around food. Exercise, meditation, slow breathing techniques and restorative yoga can help keep ‘fight or flight’ hormones in check so that you can roll with the job-hunting punches and walk into any interview with your head up and an air of calm.”