Forget scripts, sales patter and closing strategies – sanity is one of the most underappreciated parts of the sales process.
Think about it: selling is about presenting solutions to people. It’s about engaging people in conversation and holding a space for them to tell you their problems, ascertain their desired outcomes and see if your offer fits the bill.
It’s a very complex and sophisticated process (more so than the ‘BUYMYSHIT’ brigade on LinkedIn would have you believe, anyway.)
So, how can we sell well if we’re feeling terrible?
The short answer is, we can’t.
The slightly longer answer is ‘well, we can… but it’s going to be harder work.’
That’s because it’s very emotionally draining to have these conversations. Hell, it’s hard for some of us to socialise at the best of times. But when you have the pressure of the client’s needs on the one hand and you’re struggling with your own wellbeing on the other, it takes on a whole new level of difficulty.
So, who’s up for some life hacks to get you firing on all cylinders again??
CHECK-IN WITH YOURSELF
A quick wellbeing check-in is a really effective way of getting a handle on your day and making some fast adjustments if the situation calls for it. Very handy if you’re heading into a sales call.
A check-in can be as simple as getting the notes app on your phone and giving yourself a score between 1 and 10 for how you feel right now.
Don’t think – just intuitively score yourself from 1 (never felt worse) to 10 (I’m going to explode, I’m so darn happy!).
To get a bit more context around the situation, ask yourself ‘what three things am I feeling right now?’
It could be ‘hungry, tired, and agitated,’ which is a great indication that you’re running late for lunch, so the next step is to take some action towards the nearest fridge.
We’re sometimes so focused on our objectives at work that we neglect our basic needs.
That’s not helpful if you’re heading into a big meeting with your favourite client and you’re distracted by your rumbling belly. You need to take care of your own needs first so you can give them your full attention.
This will help you be fully present during all your conversations and interactions with others, and you never know how many sales that level of customer service can lead to.
Ah, sleep… the enemy of hustle culture.
The more rested you are, the better your brain will work. We all know the feeling of being snappy and impatient with people after a shitty night’s sleep. And yet many of us neglect this massively important part of our day.
More important than the number of hours is actually the quality of our sleep.
‘Sleep Hygiene’ is an approach that originated in the late 1970’s to help people suffering from insomnia.
In essence, it’s about figuring out the routines, rituals or habits we can practice to help us relax and improve our sleep.
These habits will look different for everyone, but a few great places to start include:
- Cutting down on stimulants (caffeine can remain in your system for up to 12 hours and has a half life of 5.7 hours! Try cutting down in the afternoon, or switch to a posh decaf. I recommend Taylor’s Decaffe Ground which has been saving my life recently.
- Avoiding screens late in the evening. The blue light from our screens keeps our brains active, even when we sleep. You can feel the benefit within a week if you cut back on screens just an hour before bedtime.
- Keep your bed sacred for sleep and… ahem… adult activities. If you’ve been working from bed, I insist you stop immediately. Our environment can have a huge impact on our wellbeing, and having a designated ‘rest zone’ will help cue your brain that it’s time to unwind.
When you start to improve your sleep, your ability to handle difficult conversations, challenging situations and other people’s bullshit exponentially increases, making the whole sales process infinitely more tolerable.
BOOKEND YOUR DAY
One of my least favourite aspects of the personal development industry (aside from the toxic positivity, alpha masculinity and propensity to empower MLM Hunbots) is the overreliance on strict ROUTINES.
Daily routines, morning routines, success routines… they’re just not designed for a disorganised shitshow like me. I’m more of a ‘circles’ than ‘stright lines’ kinda gal, so anything that enforces rigid boundaries or tells me I MUST DO THIS OR I WILL FAIL can, frankly, do one.
The advice is coming from a great place – a bit of structure in our day is no bad thing. But this can take the form of ‘guidelines rather than actual rules.’ [Captain Barbossa, Pirates of The Carribbean.]
Rather than giving yourself 10 things you MUST do at 5am, or copying what Elon Musk has for breakfast (bitcoin, I think…) you can just give yourself some dedicated self-focused time at the beginning of the day.
I call this process ‘bookending.’
The bookends can be an hour in length or ten minutes – it doesn’t really matter. The most important thing is that you commit to doing it every day.
It’s more flexible than a routine because the allocated time and activities can fluctuate every day based on your schedule. But the benefits from doing it can be INCREDIBLE for your mental health.
My coaching clients have reported feeling calmer, more settled, sleeping better, waking up more easily, feeling less frantic, enjoying their day more and being better able to deal with people, setbacks and general ‘life stuff.’ Whatever happens, they have dedicated chill time built into their day, which makes everything else more manageable.
Between the rush of everyday life and our fixation on hitting targets, we can forget to pay attention to the things that are going on around us.
Basically, ignoring our life.
Then we wonder why we feel so unfulfilled when we achieve our goals! It’s because we need to enjoy the journey as well as the destination.
One simple, but incredibly effective way of doing this is to get into the habit of expressing gratitude.
We all have things to be grateful for in our lives. No matter how badly our sales are going or how much trouble we think we’re in. If we dedicate a bit of time to thinking about our circumstances, we can think of something worth celebrating.
It might be your business partner or team. Even if your job is challenging, there might be aspects of it you really enjoy. Or you might just be glad to be back in the office a few days a week after lockdown.
The best way of getting into a regular gratitude habit is to bolt it on to an existing habit – such as brushing your teeth. This means you’re not having to start a habit from scratch and it’s easier to do, so you’re far more likely to stick to it.
Thinking about all the things and people you are grateful for is one of the quickest ways to boost your mood, and if you want to double the feeling, you can always pass on your thanks to anyone who springs to mind. Just resist the urge to tell them you were thinking about them in the bathroom. It gets awkward….
HAVE MORE FUN
Frankly this subject deserves a whole book of its own. It’s so bloody important, but for now, I just wanted to put it on your radar.
Us grown-ups are notorious for taking ourselves too seriously, especially when we have big adult responsibilities like sales target, businesses and clients.
‘No time for fun: I must work harder.’
For some reason, we think being overly sensible makes us better at our jobs. But the opposite is true. Having fun not only makes the day go faster but adds a little sprinkle of awesomeness on top.
This makes us easier to get on with and more enjoyable to be around, and this all has a positive effect on the people around us.
Your favourite client is not going to thank you for being a grumpy bastard. But if you’re doing great work and having fun with them along the way, they won’t be able to resist coming back to you over the competition.
Wellbeing may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about sales. But when you prioritise yourself, there’s no limit to the positive impact you will feel in your mood, your energy levels and your balance.
And if that’s not a compelling enough reason to head to the pub, I don’t know what is!
For more insights into how to get your work and your wellbeing to work better together, get in touch! We run training, coaching and support services for individuals and SMEs and are always looking to help awesome people bring more of their badass selves to work.
Book in a coffee chat with me using my Calendly link [here] or chuck me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.