Even during the best of times, sales can take its toll on anyone brave enough to enter the profession. It’s a high-pressure job: you’re constantly putting your paycheck on the line to meet ever-expanding goals while keeping prospects, customers, sales managers, and coworkers happy (not to mention anyone in your personal life).
This is why it’s so important for salespeople to learn how to deal with burnout and fatigue. If you’re not proactive in this area, you’ll end up miserable and unhealthy, and will be more likely to throw in the towel instead of sticking with what can otherwise be a rewarding career.
While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, there are things one can do to avoid burning out in sales. Here are five:
1. Listen to your body
There’s a lot of “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” motivational nonsense out there, but the overwhelming majority of people should listen to their body instead, whether it wants more sleep, a better diet, or stress relief through exercise. If you don’t, you’ll end up paying for it later, and when your sales inevitably suffer, it’ll be the least of your concerns.
2. Take time to disconnect
It can feel almost impossible to escape the workplace and the constant flow of information we have at our fingertips. You have to shut these off regularly, or the stress will take an insidious toll on your health, whether you notice it or not. Set a deadline every night, after which you can no longer check your phone or email. Or set aside a few hours each day and make your devices unaccessible. It will be difficult at first, but after a while, you’ll start to love your downtime.
3. Get organized
Chaos is exhausting, and a computer, desk, and mind full of clutter is the last thing one wants when they’re trying to beat burnout. If you spend a day (or as long as you need) getting organized, it’s likely to pay dividends for you in long-term peace of mind. Of course, organization isn’t a one-time thing, it’s something you need to stay vigilant about, but being organized takes lots of unnecessary stress off your plate, and allows you to focus on what matters most.
4. Understand that repetition is your job
One of the most exhausting aspects of sales is the repetition. You constantly have the same conversation, explaining the same features, asking the same questions, and making a similar pitch. After a while, it feels like Groundhog Day – even though, paradoxically, each sale is unique. When you understand that this repetition is part of your job, and one of the reasons why sales people are so well compensated, it’s less likely to lead to burnout. Remember this the next time you ask yourself how many more times you can explain the same thing. It’ll help you weather the storm.
5. Be kind to yourself
It’s easy to let stress and negativity get to you, and to internalize some of the more difficult aspects of a sales role. But that’s exactly the opposite of what you should do to avoid burnout and fatigue. We tend to be a lot harder on ourselves than we deserve, which has long-lasting consequences. Remember that the goal is to not only succeed, but to be happy with what we’re doing. So treat yourself kindly, and pay attention to the things you say to yourself, because a person who treats themself well is more likely to succeed than one who does not.