Sales is exhilarating.
Selling is grueling.
Sales is non-stop activity.
Selling is exhausting.
Sales is juggling competing priorities.
Selling is chasing a constantly moving target.
How do you keep filling your new business pipeline, juggling activities, reports, administrative stuff, client relationships, and AVOIDING burnout?
Considering the recent (various) reports that suggest nearly 7 out of 10 employees are disengaged in their jobs – mostly from burnout, I see, feel and believe sales teams are especially susceptible to burnout or possibly even “flame out” as sales is a performance sport that requires constant practice and effort.
Flaming out happens quicker than overall burnout as salespeople tend to chase the next “high” and keep digging for bigger, more impressive deals.
Here are FIVE Strategies to help avoid the dreaded sales burnout:
Leverage smarter prospecting strategies. New business development doesn’t have to be cold calling. Your path to building credibility and relationships can be through leveraging two strategies: Referrals/Introductions and Lather, Rinse, and Repeat. Existing clients can be a springboard for new business. Ask for introductions to colleagues with your best clients: “Who else is as awesome as you?” And take your best clients and look at why they choose you, what these businesses have in common, and where you can find more just like them. Set yourself up for new business success by making these strategies consistent efforts in your sales practice.
Take care of your mind and body. Work is life and life is work. It’s difficult to establish routines or have discipline in only one area of our lives. If we don’t take care of our mind, body, and soul, it spills over into our work. Anxiety, depression, stress – seek professional help, of course, for symptoms that persist or lead to overwhelming negative actions. For most people, however, caring for your body by exercising, eating well, and getting enough sleep, can help relieve those symptoms exacerbated by fast-paced, intense work conditions. For your mind and soul, meditation and mental health breaks can help you create healthier mindsets that you carry with you into work. Recognize the signs – eye twitches, weight gain, grumpiness, and tempers flaring – that are outside your normal, happy self and find the space for self-care.
Set boundaries for work and clients. This one is tough. Taking care of clients and jumping quickly on opportunities – like many of you, I’ve been guilty of making myself available to sales calls nearly 24/7. Some of my worst moments as a parent came when I was trying to juggle a sick baby and work through an emergent situation with a client. You’re stressed and pulled in both directions by competing priorities and it REALLY SUCKS. If you find yourself unable to switch off, put down your phone, enjoy a vacation, or make it through dinner without taking a call, you should reconsider your boundaries.
Do you have a team to call on or support you? Make sure you introduce them to your clients. Prepare them for vacations and have conditional exceptions (a flow chart, perhaps?) that direct them when to interrupt your day off, your weekend, your vacation, et cetera.
And let me reiterate that a healthy pipeline – consistent business development – makes you less desperate to jump when you’re off and chances are, with multiple touches, your clients will respond in time that’s NOT when you’re off the clock.
Find joy in your work. Why do you work where you do? How do you help people? Where is the fun in your day? If your day is all grind and no fun, you’re going to easily wear down your resolve and discipline. Look for the joy. Make joy – for you, your colleagues, and your clients. Contribute to the culture and positive workplace. If you can’t find the joy with what you sell, where you sell, to whom you sell, or why you sell … perhaps you should re-examine this sales position!
Shoot for consistency. The tortoise beats the hare every time because of his sure and steady pace. Sales can have real highs and lows that seem to drag out forever. The roller coaster of highs and lows can wreak havoc on our emotional stability. Continuous business development activities lead to healthy pipelines, more consistent win rates, and turns the emotional roller coaster into a more predictable “kiddie ride.”
Are you burnt out? Hating life? Dreading Monday mornings?
You might need to inject some of these strategies into your sales practice to stave off performance breakdowns, job dissatisfaction, yelling at your spouse, or being a grumpy mess that your family avoids.
Until next time, stop hoping and start SELLING!