Ask most sales professionals when they last took time for themselves, and you’ll likely be met with one of three reactions: A pregnant pause while they try to remember; a scoff about the preposterous nature of the question – or simply a blank stare.
In the pressure-cooker world of the sales professional, it’s not surprising that work-life balance is an alien concept. In fact, a study by marketing automation giant Hubspot found some trends which would be surprising – if only we didn’t already know it was true:
- 72 percent of sales professionals make it a habit of working evenings and weekends
- 54 percent of sales pros check their email as soon as they wake up
- One-third of salespeople say their job negatively impacts their life
- One-third also state they have ZERO work-life balance
So, yes, our sales professionals may be working at their optimal best, and crushing their quotas – but at what cost? Are they really any good to us if they burn out due to a lack of balance?
We at The Brooks Group see mindfulness as an important ingredient to the success strategies of the highest-performing sales professionals. So how do you convince your sales pros to take some time, here and there, to focus inward? And even harder: How do we convince them to cash in some of that banked vacation time, and take a longer span away from the hustle and bustle?
In my experiences as a sales professional, and now a sales consultant and facilitator, I’ve been on the front lines of this challenge – and want to share some tips for both mini-breaks, and longer-term recharging, that has been successful in restoring a sense of balance, for the highest of the high-strung.
4 Ways to Approach a Sales Breakdown
Admit there’s a problem: Sales burnout tends to be the silent enemy that sneaks up on us. Time equals money equals quota equals incentives. So it’s easy for us to justify chugging along like an unceasing engine, thinking, “If I don’t take time off, that’s more time for me to go get more business.” But one day, you wake up tired – and that weekend you could have taken off a few months ago, which would have put pep back in your step, is no longer enough, and you’ll need even more time to get your mojo back. If you would have taken short moments here and there to ensure proper rest and focus, you might have avoided this breaking point. Therefore the time to stave off burnout is not as it’s happening – it’s now.
A quick recharge: Even a sleek Tesla needs to be plugged in to gain back it’s juice. How can YOU do the equivalent – to recharge your battery – when a quick pick-me-up would do you a world of good? I find that it takes no more than 15 to 30 minutes to give my mind, body, and spirit the reboot it needs. That can take the form of a short walk; perhaps a bit of yoga; some bending and stretching; or even a 15-minute power nap (any more than 15 minutes, experts say, and you’ll feel groggy). Grab a book and read a few pages; and, in this era where parents and kids alike are working from home, maybe a quick game of NBA2K on the Playstation 4. More: Close your eyes and listen to a few tracks of your favorite album; play a few games of Candy Crush or Words With Friends; or fire up Netflix and watch a nostalgia-inducing episode of “The Office.” Whatever you choose to do – just change your reality, and do something different, so you can allow your mind to decelerate from the fast pace.
Everybody needs a little time away: Don’t deny yourself the opportunity to take a much-needed longer break. Vacation accrues for a reason – don’t allow it to vaporize at year’s end. Take a couple of days to facilitate a four-day weekend; or, during an upcoming slow time, an entire week. Don’t be one of the more than half of American workers who leave vacation time on the table by year’s end.
One last point: We, sometimes, have tunnel vision, and may not recognize that we’re burning too hot. If you don’t invest in mindfulness, you may not be able to see your own chaos – but other people certainly can, particularly if you are becoming argumentative or short-tempered. I remember I once found myself in a similar situation, and didn’t take stock of my well-being. My boss at the time took me to dinner and told me, bluntly, that I looked like -- well let’s use our imagination here -- and that I needed to take some time off (I did eventually heed his advice, and we are great friends even today).
Before your fatigue becomes a risk to yourself, and more visible to others, take time out now. You’ll thank me later.
The best-of-the-best sales leaders do something that others do not—they inspire their teams. But creating a sales culture that inspires requires intentional and thoughtful culture building. Find out what it takes to build an inspired sales culture from the ground up.