From the January 2006 issue of Entrepreneur

Some stress is fine for sales reps--it can be a motivator and keep productivity high. But heap on too much tension, and your sellers' output will start to plummet. As you kick off 2006, take these tips from Laura Stack, author of Leave the Office Earlier, to ensure your reps don't get frazzled.

1. Resist the workaholic temptation. Encourage reps to fight the desire to live and breathe work. Says Stack, "What fun is it to live if you work too much and end up with a shortened life expectancy, headaches, high blood pressure, heart attacks [and] stomach aches?" Reps need balance outside their jobs to remain motivated and keep stress in check.

2. Ensure adequate staffing. Overwork is one of the biggest causes of stress, so try not to pile too much on one salesperson.

3. Remind reps to maintain perspective. Don't let reps get down on themselves when they're having trouble making sales. Remind them to think positively--and that they won't necessarily make a sale on every call.

4. Make sure reps take vacation days. Many salespeople are so overworked, they're unable to use up annual vacation time. Vacation is not frivolous behavior--it's essential to staying healthy and productive. Don't let your reps wear "no vacation" like a badge of honor.

Kimberly L. McCall ("Marketing Angel") is president of McCall Media & Marketing Inc. and author of Sell It, Baby! Marketing Angel's 37 Down-to-Earth ↦ Practical How-To's on Marketing, Branding & Sales.