Balancing Selling Time and Avoiding Burnout

By Tom Hopkins

Time is as precious as money, so it pays to explore ways to get more sales productivity out of the time you have to invest in your sales career. Everyone knows you can make twice the income by working twice the number of hours and putting forth twice the amount of effort. The secret to true success lies in making the time you currently invest in your business twice as productive.

To begin with, you must understand that there are two entirely different kinds of time:

  • Opportunity time, during which you achieve your goals through related activities such as internalizing information on your industry or product; getting your hands, eyes, and ears on new products; and providing follow-up service to existing clients.

  • Replenishment time, during which you rebuild your strength through exercise, recreation, relaxation, and sleep.

If you can’t get the hang of switching from opportunity time to replenishment time, you’ll soon face a burnout phase when you’re neither successful in sales nor in sound physical condition. You run out of fuel, your flame goes out, your power shuts off, and you stop dead in your tracks.

Avoid sales burnout

People who appear to be highly productive often suffer burnout. Many formerly successful salespeople have lost several years as a result. Some quench their flames so thoroughly that they never manage to get their engines going again and give up on their dreams of having successful careers. The dangerous part is that burnout sneaks up on you.

Don’t try to fly high when your tanks are low. Touch down and refuel your spirits — spend a few days away in a completely different atmosphere from your workday world. It can be hard to force yourself to do this, but the benefits are incredible.

Prioritize your selling hours

Successful business people, including salespeople, always jump on the most important thing first. What is the most important thing you should do right now? Learning to answer that question quickly then act on it will increase your productivity tenfold.

The key is to figure out the best time of day each day for selling and to focus your efforts on sales activities during that time.

When you’re in selling time, you need to be tough about it. It’s amazing how much of your working life can be eaten up by trivial interruptions unless you make a conscious effort not to let that happen. Don’t do filing or clean your desk during sales time. Yes, it needs to be done, but not during selling time.

If you have a daily sales goal, start working on it as early in the day as your potential clients are available. Don’t wait until you take care of other things before you start selling. The weight of that sales goal will crush you by day’s end. Start doing this every morning, keep on doing it, and you’ll soon discover that you’re not worrying anymore. You’re enjoying the work, you’re feeling good about yourself, and you know you’re winning.