5 Ways to Avoid Burnout in Sales
When people leave the sales profession, one of the most commonly-cited reasons is stress. Many a salesperson has experienced burnout, and some find it so unpleasant that they choose to move on rather than looking for ways to push through, despite almost certainly having to take a pay cut.
But it’s possible to avoid (or at least mitigate) the burnout that’s endemic to sales without trying to become super-human, and those who prioritize their own physical and emotional well-being will not only avoid putting themselves in an untenable position, they’ll also become much more effective sellers.
So if you want to survive in sales for the long term, here are five things you can to do avoid burning out:
1. Take regular breaks (yes, you)
Hard-charging salespeople rarely allow themselves breaks, and an entire day can pass us by before we realize we haven’t gotten up from our desks at all. This is why scheduling breaks throughout the day is so important. If you ignore them, you’re much more likely to burn out. Your body and mind need to relax every now and then, so make sure to take five or ten minutes every hour to get up, walk around, get some fresh air, and relax.
2. Work on what matters, try to avoid what doesn’t
We can get pulled in so many different directions throughout the day that by the time it’s time to call it quits, we feel like we’ve been through a tornado. This is the exact reason why focusing on meaningful tasks — that is, those that actually move the needle — is so important. Your job is to close deals, and anything that doesn’t further that goal can not only be a distraction, it can also add unnecessary stress to an already stressful role. So (politely) decline to participate in non-mandatory activities, and focus on your actual job.
3. Avoid the more toxic energy boosters
Most salespeople drink coffee, which can give us the boost we need to get through the day. But it’s important not to go overboard, and to avoid the more toxic energy boosters out there, such as supplements or energy drinks. These things might give us a temporary boost, but they oftentimes come with a corresponding crash, and, more importantly, are usually quite bad for our long-term health. Instead of looking for shortcuts, boost your energy in healthy ways, such as getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and through exercise. It might take more effort, but you’ll not only feel better, you’ll probably live longer too.
4. Set boundaries
This might be the most difficult one of all, but if you want to avoid burnout, you need to set boundaries, whether that’s with yourself, your boss, or your prospects. The best way to do this, of course, is to have a cut-off time for when you’re willing to respond to calls or emails, whether that’s after 5pm, or perhaps later in the evening. Weekends should be off-limits too, though these preferences will come down to your personal tastes, and how much non-work time you’re comfortable with. But always remember that if you don’t set boundaries, then those around you will proceed as if nothing is off-limits — act accordingly.
5. Work for a company that cares
At the end of the day, your best bet to avoid burnout is to work for a company that takes employee well-being seriously, and has rules in place that enable employees to be their best selves without sacrificing their mental and physical health. Usually, a company will outline their employee well-being programs on their website, though a company that takes these things seriously will convey them during interviews as well. And if you ask an employer how they feel about these things and their eyes glaze over or they look at you as if you’ve just asked them if the earth is flat, then it’s a sure sign that they haven’t given it much (any) thought, and that you should try to find work somewhere else.
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