sales burnout

Sales Burnout.

By Chris Lott | Health, Sales | 14018 Views | 16 Comments    

If you’ve been in any kind of sales position, a business owner, and/or manager for any length of time you’ve most likely experienced sales burnout. I always know I’m “in a bad place” when after winning a deal it’s a pain to fill out the contract. One of my sales people tell me about a deal they won and while I show excitement I’m not. These should always be good things, right? What happened to the passion? The “I can’t wait to go to work” attitude?


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Then it can actually get worse… As the weekend winds down… Sunday night becomes an anxiety attack as you know Monday you need to hit it hard again. You have an early morning flight, customer heat to fade, responsibility, accountability, endless training, endless meetings, reports to fill out, contracts to get re-signed, mind numbing sales – customer chat, long days, stress, stress, stress.

I know… I know… sales performance has to be met regardless of your “state”. So how do you keep successful performance going year after year, month after month, day after day? Here are 10 ideas that have helped me throughout my career as a sales professional to overcome sales burnout.

10 Suggestions to Overcome Sales Burnout and Stress

1.) Pace yourself. Stop getting pulled into 20 different directions. Prioritize your time and efforts. Get rid of “excess baggage” projects. DO NOT join anything new. Stop preparing Sunday for the work week at the expense of the time you need to re-charge.

2.) Call it a night a little earlier than usual. Getting more sleep is a sure fire way to help the ol’ noodle.

3.) Exercise and eat healthier. Don’t make this a new project… you can do that later. Just walk or run a couple of times a week and stop eating out as much. Keep the caffeine to a small roar.

4.) Slow your intake of alcoholic beverages down. Alcohol of any kind is a depressant. Depression can be a huge factor in sales burnout.

5.) Start listening to and/or read good motivational books. If you’re religious… scriptures can help here as well.

“Work is a one of the most commonly reported sources of stress in adults.” –Statista

6.) Surround yourself with positive people and activities. Helping, serving others is also a great way to “lose yourself” and keep the burnouts under control. Again, I’m not talking about a large project but maybe something simple. Look around there are always opportunities to help others in small ways.

7.) Buy some new business clothes… shoes, shirt/blouse whatever. Feeling good about your appearance really does help getting yourself out of the fog. Also getting a haircut, style, color change can help.

8.) Spend time with your family and friends – get back to your “roots” so to speak. Nothing like family to help you feel more “grounded”.

9.) Get some sunshine in your life. Get outside where there’s sun and fresh air. You will be amazed at how this can help get rid of blues and burnouts.

10.) Work on your resume and/or linkedin profile. You will find this can be a mental uplift as you’re going over career accomplishments.

What if none of this is working?

Assuming there’s nothing clinically wrong… If you’re still having issues then maybe it’s time for a new position possibly a new company. Life is simply too short to go through with a position – career path – that you dislike and are tired of doing. As much as I hate to say it… sometimes the grass is greener somewhere else.

These suggestions, of course, are just a few of the items that could help. Everyone will have different activities that work for them. What is important is you take some sort of action in an effort to resolve the sales burnouts. My experience has been that they don’t resolve on their own. Make some minor changes in your lifestyle and you’ll find you can be successful and a consistent producer for years to come.

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16 thoughts on “Sales Burnout.

  1. F Sales. I started as a Stockbroker and learned from a great Sales Person. A real force.
    I’ve successfully sold Advertising, Websites.
    But I’m 47 now and wouldn’t even consider selling now unless it was a really a terrific product or service that I totally loved. It’s a hard job when the Company you work for is handicapping their sales people’s ability to sell by market conditions or mangmt stupidity.
    You need a solid company and great circumstances with your product service.

    • Sales is most definitely not for everyone. To sell consistently year after year is tough. Your last sentence “You need a solid company and great circumstances with your product service.” is spot on.

  2. Hi ..I am very good at sales. ..i keep motivated and live off the adrenaline from my sales…problem is I’m becoming burnt out…wich is really bad because I’m loosing $$ ..I have kids and a husband so ya its also balancing that …some days I do crazy well others I get like 12 drops out of 30 transfers ..which is bad for signups….I try to take breaks get fresh air…just not working…can’t quit cuz ill loose my house…can’t bay bills then …what should I do…I’m doing this mow 6 months ..I do like 6-7 hours a day of this..

    • Some sales positions are designed to burn and turn sales people. Sounds like you might be in this environment? If so, I would look for a new job while employed. Like I say, sometimes the grass is really greener elsewhere. If you want to stay at your position you must realize that there will always be peaks and valleys in any sales position. You will have to roll with that unfortunately, which is why most can not sell full time consistently. Way too stressful for most. To combat some of these issues this articles advice is tried and true. Hope this helps.

  3. I sell boats dream job but the problems with failed sea trials and people losing money and grumpy vendors as boats on consign has taken the shine off the job or is it just nature of the job?
    Maybe you can burnout in 6 months if you have constant pressure on you not knowing what the hell is going to happen each week with stuffed boats.
    Any input would be appreciated

    • Negatives come with positives in any job. You have control of what you focus on. This article has some great ideas to see if the career path is right. Let me know how it works out. Good luck my friend!

  4. Been with this sales company for almost 6 years and all the restrictions for security reasons are totally burning me out but at my age, my gender, there is no alternative. Tonight was thinking, “I am exhausted and tired of milking money out of people without even being able to put in the sale myself but have to talk the customer how to do it themselves. You have no idea how difficult that is and after about one hour of work, feel like screaming.

    After 7 hrs a day of this, I feel the life just sucked out of me. Just took a week off and tomorrow is Sunday – I will be feeling sick all day knowing that I have to go to work on Monday.

    The statements from Greg, above, said it all. He has literally made himself physically sick because he feels he is a failure. That is psychological negative thinking, it is what happens when you just can not stand it anymore.

    Understand that everyone in the world, who works, in basically, in sales. However, to be in sales for something that is unrewarding to you…………….in my case, “does this help the world”, just is manipulating people out of their money for your benefit. . . especially if you don’t think it is helping the world. Maybe “pimping” security insurance to those who are scared (or worse, not scared and you have to make them scared) is just turning my guts.

    Sales based on customers’ fear – is that really what it is all about? Then, God help me as I think that is just horrible.

    Anyone have any help for the above feelings?

    • Susan,

      I have been where you are and changing product and company was a very good move for me. Building my self esteem took longer but did happen over time. I have had to “re-invent” myself many times throughout my career.

      Selling should be consulting. It needs to be a win-win for you and your customer. If you’re selling products you don’t believe in change. You are definitely going through sales burnout in my humble opinion. The article suggestions will help typically.

  5. I was presidents club for five out of six years. In year six I closed a five year 100 million dollar contract and earned 7 figure commission. After that I spent another six years searching for another home run and hit it again earning another 7 figure commission sandwiched between two 300k plus years .

    I was motivated by money- now that I have it I can’t stand sales but it’s the only thing I am good at other than maybe managing my portfolio and avoiding the tax man. But I can’t stand going to work anymore and I get bored at home. I’m almost 59 and my wife calls me willy Loman. I hate that name too.

    I’m thinking of volunteer work because I can’t sit still- I have ADD- but I still miss my clients. I can’t be motivated to pick up the phone and cold call and LinkedIn is just a fake LOGO because nobody cares abou what I accomplished ten years ago.

    • Mark, I completely empathize and sympathize. Unfortunately, when I was out looking for employment last year I ran into the “what have you done lately” issue as well. So, I took on 90 day consultant positions and wrote technical articles on the side (consultant) to keep fresh and hirable. True cold calling is pretty much dead as I know you know. My success has been with building relationships and attending association events. I also know many your age and similar type backgrounds that are signing up as agents, running their own time tables, and enjoying the hunt and win without the constant quota stick. Ultimately, to make a change you need to get the noggin right. Sometimes that is the hardest part. That is pretty much what this article is about. Changing your mindset. Above and beyond… NEVER let someone label you.

  6. I lost the drive, motivation and desire five years ago. I was laid off, lost the woman I loved, lost my house, my dog died and my health went down the tubes. I’ve had two short-lived jobs since then and performed horribly at both. I care so little I took the first no with zero rebuttal.

    I live with relatives. If I didn’t I would literally be on the street. I’m on Medicaid and food stamps. I’ll be 60 next month and have nothing to my name. Nothing, no income, no retirement and no ideas. My income for 2014 was $6,295.00 and for 2015 it was zero. For the first time since I was a teenager I won’t file a tax return.

    I just had one surgery and am looking at another. I may not be capable of working for a while but don’t know what I want to do with my “life.” Never in my life did I think I’d be where I am today.

    I appreciate the suggestions in this article but think I’m too far down the road.


    • greg,

      You’re never “too far down the road”, I promise. Make small changes. Seriously. Build on each small success until one day you look back and realize you’re becoming the person you were meant to be. Things that happen to us should never define us. Also, you’re never too old to make changes either. Find a passion in something/anything positive and focus on that. God bless you my friend and the best of luck to you.

      • Dave, I’m having more surgery on Thursday. I don’t know how long recovery will be but I’m going back to work for someone I worked for for many years. He treated me more like family or a partner than an employee.

        It’s in the industry I love but I’m still going in with much trepidation. For 5 years I’ve been trying to think of what else I can do and I still have no idea. There are reams of info I need to know, I haven’t learned any of it yet and there’s no way to learn it by Monday. I have no desire, no focus and no retention of even the simplest things. My greatest fear is letting this man down but I’ve tried and nothing is changing.

        It may work because I have a desk set up in the bedroom. If I’m in too much pain I can walk two steps and lie down for a while. However, I still have to produce and my confidence level would have to make a dramatic improvement to reach zero. I suppose the short answer is very little has changed.

        Thanks for asking

  7. This is a great article. Self-motivation is one of the major factors in maintaining super- stardom; you have to have the drive to stay a top performer. During the last few years, I’ve seen a number of salespeople who seem to have lost their inspiration. They were once top producers, but have since run out of steam. Salespeople must create their own formulae to stay motivated. For many, earning an income to support their family’s diverse needs is sufficient motivation. My personal drive is fueled by a passion for sales and a long-standing desire to achieve. Whatever the reason, you must have a drive and maintain it.
    I actually touch on this point a lot in my book, ABC of Sales: Lessons From a Superstar, how to stay motivated and prevent burnout.

  8. Lots of good suggestions there. Burnout doesn’t resolve itself & I have found 1, 3, 5, 9 & 10 worked for me.

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