Surviving Outside Sales

Maximizing Productivity in Outside Sales: The Strategic Power of Taking Time Off | SOS EP. 351

September 11, 2023 Mike O'Kelly Season 1 Episode 351
Surviving Outside Sales
Maximizing Productivity in Outside Sales: The Strategic Power of Taking Time Off | SOS EP. 351
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Imagine the power of taking breaks. 

It’s not just about work-life balance but a mental rejuvenation that can significantly boost your productivity. In our latest podcast episode, we take a deep dive into the often overlooked aspect of outside sales – the strategic importance of time off. We share insights on how breaks can prevent burnout and why it's essential to mentally reset. Hear us out on why planning for meetings and time off need a thoughtful process and why your mental exhaustion can directly impact your performance.

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Speaker 1:

The Surviving Outside Sales podcast, hosted by Mike O'Kelly, presented by Sales Builder Academy. The goal is to survive and thrive all phases of outside sales, whether you're getting in, dominating or getting out. Surviving Outside Sales. Now on with the show Okay, I'm just surviving outside sales podcast and your host, mike O'Kelly. With Fourth of July coming up next week, there's a topic that I don't think I've really talked about before on the podcast, but that is taking time off. Okay, now you do need to get out there and you need to work and you need to put in the hours, you need to be as productive as possible, but you also have to understand your limitations. Okay, you're going to have physical and mental limitations. If you just have your foot down the pedal nonstop, 24, seven, eventually you're going to crash. Okay, and we don't want you to crash, we don't want burnout. That is probably the first 10 years of my career was just going 100 miles an hour. Just, I didn't have two speeds, I had one speed and it was all out. And what usually would happen is I would take a lot of my time off as sick days, and it wasn't that I was quote, unquote sick, I just literally was so exhausted, I felt horrendous, and you need to recalibrate. You need to have time for yourself, you need to allow your body to rest, you need to recover mentally. So taking time off, though, is the exact same thing as planning for meetings. It's having a process. You need to understand why are you taking time off? There's a couple of things, psychologically, that happen when you schedule your time off. You start to look at the time in between as a sprint, and that's okay, because you can see that there's going to be a rest and there's going to be a recovery and a restoration period that's coming up. So, for instance, if you have a vacation coming up next week for the fourth, you know it's coming. You know that whatever you're going through right now is going to be short term, because you're going to have a break and you need to take breaks. I'm not talking about work life balance, okay. I think that that phrase people have used that phrase to talk about things that really don't matter. In other words, well, I want to make sure that I have plenty of breaks during the day. I want to make sure that the job is as easy as possible. It's not about making your life easier. Okay, because you still need to go out and sell. What it's talking about and what you're needing breaks is about is mentally resetting. The body goes where the mind leads and if you're mentally exhausted, your body is going to show that, your body language. We in the sales world are in performing arts. We are performers. When we're in front of people, they're looking at everything. They're looking at our hand gestures, our eye movements, what we're doing with our face, our smiles, how we present ourselves, how we're dressed. Are we clean, shaven? Are we unshaven? Is our hair messy? Are our shoes dirty? Are we not prepared? Are we fumbling? They notice everything and when I get tired, what happens is I just start, I just forget things. I'm kind of tired right now. I'm gonna be 100% honest. I'm gonna struggle to get through this. I am exhausted, okay, absolutely exhausted. I've been burning the candle at both ends for the month of June. I am going to be taking off, just decided I'm gonna be taking off Monday. So I'm taking off Monday as a personal day, right before the holiday, july 4th, which is also gonna be a day, but that's gonna be a family day. So I'm taking Monday for myself, okay, and I'm gonna recharge, I'm gonna recover. I will go to one of my favorite places, restore Hyperwoundness. Shout out to Restore. As everybody has been listening to the podcast, I'm opening Restore Hyperwoundness in Rockhill, south Carolina, this fall and that is one of my entrepreneurial journeys. That is really weighing on me Because it is a lot of work and I think I'm gonna talk about that journey tomorrow before the break. But I've made a decision that I'm gonna do zero podcasts next week. I'm gonna take a week off from the podcast. I'm gonna take a week off from the show. So if you're listening right now, I'm just gonna take a week off period and I'm going to allow you, the audience, to also kind of take a break as well. You don't feel like you're missing anything or you have to catch up. And I was talking with somebody at a networking event back in May and they said, man, that's so many episodes I don't know how I'm ever gonna catch up. And I said well, you don't need to. You don't need to listen to every episode. I'd love for you to listen to every episode, but I'm telling you right now you don't need to. What you need to do is you need to do what is ever in the best interest of you. You still gotta put the work in, but you gotta take some time off. And if you're gonna continue to just push through and push through and push through, then you're gonna be in a world of hurt. And I've been pushing through, I've been pushing through, I've been pushing through and it's not like it's a lot of time, it's just one day. But you stack that with the fact that I'm also going to be off on Tuesday. Now I'm gonna be with my family. It's gonna be a lot of time. It's gonna be, you know, parade in the morning, it's going to be time at the pool with friends and then the evening getting together with family. So that day is gonna be chock full of stuff. But you piggyback off of Saturday, sunday, now Monday and Tuesday. You now have four days in a row. And I saw this on Instagram. This guy had a beautiful explanation of what you should do with your PTO and I thought you know, that's a really great idea and I wanted to share that because I don't know if everybody knows who this person is. But he said wrap all of your personal time off. So let's say you get 15 days off a year. So you get 20 days off a year, whatever it is, let's just say, 15. I think 15 is basically the standard. Now if you're new to the industry, you're probably getting 10. That's just how it works. When you're new, you gotta work more, but if you want to pair around holidays, that is one of the smartest things to do. Because one of the mistakes I made in my earlier career was I took a lot of Fridays off because it was pointless in the industry that I was in, especially with dermatology. When I first started in dermatology back in 2008, a lot of dermatology clinics were not open past noon on Fridays and I thought, well, this is just stupid for me to be out Not a lot of my clients are open and it's just a waste of my time. So what I started doing was I would start taking Fridays off. So I'd get about 10, 15 days off a year and I would just take maybe one Friday off a month. I didn't travel a lot. I didn't do a whole lot early in my career. I mean, I did go to Vegas a bunch. I take that back. Actually. I did travel a lot, but it was very sporadic. It wasn't like a cyclical hey, every spring I do this, every summer I do this, and so I would probably use I'd say maybe six to eight of my days off, just randomly on Fridays, and what I found was even just that three days was not enough. They say you need at least four to five days off for you to cleanse your mind of anything work related, and so if you've been listening to the podcast, you know that I've talked about I've taken very few seven week vacations. In fact, when my family and I went to the beach which in May, that was the first seven day vacation and actually was nine, because it was two weekends with five days off that was the first time I'd ever done that since my honeymoon, and before that I had never done that In my entire sales career 20 years. I had never taken a full week of vacation before Because I was always in work mode, I was always wanting to. There's always something to do. Okay, and that's another thing too. Allow yourself to not be busy. You can always find something to do in your business. You can always find an email to reply to. You can always find something to continue to work on your business, even on vacation, don't. If you want to talk about work-life balance, that is what you should be focusing on. You make the decision to take time off, take it off. That doesn't mean when you go home you clock in, clock out. There's sometimes you're gonna need to do business at night. You're gonna need to respond to an email. You're gonna need to create content for the following day. You're gonna have to review your plans. I hear that all the time. Oh, work-life balance. You are a professional. If you wanna be a sales rep, sales reps are concerned with how much time they have off. And it's five o'clock. Don't talk to me. I'm not responding to emails, I'm not doing anything. Sales professional realizes that work when they get home is not the focus. But sometimes, in the rare occasions, they're gonna have to do some work, just like a professional athlete. Even in the off-season trains every single day. They don't wait and then show up to camp, add a shape, and they haven't done anything for the last three to five months. If you wanna be a sales professional, you have to understand that. But when you take your time off, you take your time off. I mean, shoot, I'm such a workaholic. There was a. I was on my bachelor party in Las Vegas and I did a phone interview with a district manager that I had been referred to and I'll never forget it. Stephanie Silverman shout out. Stephanie was great. I was in Las Vegas. I remember it was a Friday morning. I did two things that morning. So it was a Thursday morning, maybe. No, it was a Thursday morning, I think. So I had gotten out there and I remember I was outside of the Pepper Mill I believe it's the famous Las Vegas diner divine famous Las Vegas diner and and I did act for selling my condo. And then, about 20 minutes after that, I did a phone screen in the parking lot. I told my brother-in-law, I told a couple buddies that were there with me for breakfast. I said I gotta go. I got this job that I'm trying to get. So I'd been referred to this company. Long story short, I got the job. But I was willing to do that. Even on my bachelor party, I was willing to do some work. Some people would say, no, I'm on my bachelor party. And when Stephanie found out, she was like oh my gosh, I had no idea. I'm so sorry. I said, of course you didn't, because I didn't tell you. It's no big deal, that's just who I am, that's just my DNA. The opportunity was there, presented itself. It wasn't really hurting me that bad. It was a 20 minute phone call. I was eating breakfast, not a big deal. Now, you don't have to do that all the time. Now, if that becomes habitual, then that's like okay, I can't do that. But the whole point of this is you have to allow yourself time off. And one of the best ways going back to what the guy said on Instagram, which was really smart plan out your time off in advance, leave a couple wild cards in case something pops up. But let's say, you've got 15 days off, schedule 10. Schedule 10 and lock them in. The great times to do that are around major holidays Okay, like 4th of July. 4th of July falls on a midweek. Now what do we know about 4th of July? It's a big travel holiday, which means a lot of your customers and your buyers are not gonna be around, so you're not really losing a lot of ground. Don't think to yourself well, almost every rep is not gonna be in, so therefore I'm gonna be the only one and I get a chance to talk. Blah, blah, blah, blah. I'm telling you right now. I don't care what anybody says. I've done this long enough. July 4th is not a great time. In and around July 4th is not a great time to try to sell somebody if they haven't been sold before, if they're not already a customer. It's not a great time. You're not gonna close deals right before July 4th. People are distracted. So take that time off. Take time off around Memorial Day. Take time off around Labor Day. If you take off the four days following Labor Day, you have a nine day break, including the weekends. Do you realize how recharged you're going to be for your Q4? If you take nine days off in September, yes, you're gonna take now. When I say nine days off, I mean like Friday, saturday, sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday. You know you're not taking seven full days off. Now, remember Labor Day. Nobody's working, so you're only missing four days out of the field, but you're getting nine days benefit. That's kind of what this guy was talking about. I think it's brilliant Four days off, nine days benefit. Do the same thing with Fourth of July weekend. Take the four days that wrap around July 4th, take them off and you get yourself a nine day time off. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. And then sprinkle in so you can do that's four days and five days, or four days and four days. That's only eight days. You've now turned eight days off into 18 days consecutive, or 18 days off with two periods of nine days. Imagine what that's going to do for your body. Imagine what that's gonna do for your mind and then imagine what that's gonna do with your friends and your family. Even if you don't have family, imagine what that's going to do for yourself. You have to have self-care and I know that's a word and I know that's phrases talked about, but you really do have to take care of yourself. When I was in the Atlanta Braves organization, their roving hitting and structure that year was a gentleman named Franklin Stubbs. Now, if you are a baseball fanatic, you know who Franklin Stubbs is, especially if you're older than me. He was an all-star, played with the Cincinnati Reds. I played with like four or five different ball clubs, but I knew who Franklin Stubbs was and I said what's the best piece of advice you could give me? And the first thing out of his mouth if any hesitation is take care of your body. Your body will go first. Okay, physically you're not gonna be able to do things in your 30s. You can do in your 20s, and so what happens is people People don't take care of their body in their 20s. I can tell you right now, if you wanna have a long career in sales, you need to take care of your body and take care of your body early. You need to have rest, recuperation, recovery. Just think about it if you're gonna be in the car all day long, the things that's gonna do to your back, it's gonna do to your legs. Your poor blood flow in your legs I mean especially the back, the back, the neck it's gonna affect your body. Take breaks and let your body heal, let your mind be laser focused. If you have 15 days in the field that are laser focused in a month, as opposed to 20 where you're hanging on by a thread, I think you know where most people are gonna fall and it's pretty self-evident. You're gonna wanna do the 15 days laser focused. You've gotta be laser focused in the field and that's one of the biggest pieces of advice that I would I'd even give my younger self in sales plan out your breaks. I very rarely planned out breaks. I didn't take long vacations and I did get burned a couple of times. I'd get mental burnout, physical exhaustion, just tired, just absolutely tired. And weekends are not enough sometimes. So that's one of the tips, especially with Fourth of July weekend coming up, think about taking it off. Think about taking Wednesday, thursday, friday off. It's the beginning of a quarter. It's not a great buying week. I know some people are gonna have anecdotal stories. Well, I sold this. Look, I've been in it long enough. It's not a great week. If it ranks it, probably, if there's 52 weeks out of the year, this is probably in the bottom 10%. It's probably one of the worst five weeks of the year to sell. So you might as well take it off. So thank you so much for listening. I really do appreciate it. As a reminder, I am gonna be taking off all of next week for the podcast and we'll get back at it the following week. So the following week will be a featured guest on Monday, so that'll be really exciting. So that'll be July the 10th. So we're gonna take off until July the 10th, so that'll be after tomorrow's episode. So thank you so much, really do appreciate it and we'll see you tomorrow surviving outside sales. Bye-bye.

The Importance of Taking Time Off
The Importance of Taking Time Off