Do something you love and you'll never truly work a day in your life.
People ask me, "Tony, how do you keep up the frenetic pace of 25 hours every day? How are you not beyond burnt out on selling, calling, and traveling across continents incessantly after 3 decades?" It doesn't mean I love every element of what I do on a daily basis or enjoy the rejection laden gauntlet... even I run from dawn until dusk and I've had moments of near-implosion this year with finishing my next book, meeting client commitments and continuing to publish blog articles .
I blast ahead by getting off on the high I feel miles into a bike ride. I thrive on challenging myself daily for the breakthrough. When you really don't care about hearing a 'no', the yeses are sweet! When all possible rain is water off a duck's back because you're making a positive difference, then you'll make money rain too.
It's possible to be joyful about this thing called SALES if you're making a positive difference in the lives of all those you touch.
I have several secrets to preventing and avoiding burnout out over a 30 year career in sales. Here we go:
- 80/20 rule. Isolate the 20% of your activity that yields 80% of the results or output. Do that before lunch. If I don't do 2 major things that scare me before lunch, I shouldn't have even worked that day. Yes, that means directly call 2 or 3 CEOs who could partner with me, who I could consult on revenue acceleration.
- Curiosity. Yes, it killed the cat but not the human. You must become infinitely interested in other people. Even fascinated by buyer psychology... What makes them tick? How are each of their problems different like a snowflake or fingerprint? You could even take a course from Barry Rhein on Curiosity Based Selling. Prospects are fascinating. Peel the onion with open SPIN questions and turn your 'listen to talk' ratio on 20/80. Super hard to do and that discipline of "being fully there" (as I highlight in RSVPselling methodology) will "open doors where there were once walls," per philosopher Joseph Campbell.
- Exercise. You're not going to hit 10X Massive action being sedentary hitting the red bull and jolt cola. Work/life balance comes from concentrating really hard and doing that 'one thing' as effectively (and highly leveraged) as possible in that moment. Exercise improves stamina and brain function. You can only become caffeinated for so long. The body's natural energy systems bloom into a supernova of dopamine (not the Facebook cat video clicker kind), serotonin and endorphins when you can get your heart rate up. For me that's cycling and not just weekend warrioring it. I often wake in the dark to strike out to put in 60 kilometers.
- Altruism: I truly seek to help my partners, customers and network to PIF: pay it forward. There are some aspects to what I do that have more residual intrinsic value than money can ever buy. Mentoring wonderful people that exceed my ability. Truly stunning and humbling! Behavioral change at the client level and the client's team is extremely rewarding when they grok the sales process, methodology and start to hammer high action down through the funnel to CLOSED-WON. Watching all the principles I espouse in these blogs, hardened in the trenches, come to fruition for those that would dare try apply COMBO literally, is what I live for!
- Passion: You can call it Grant Cardone 10X or Obsession but I stay dedicated to setting 10X goals every day, every quarter and every year to push myself to the next level. I've hit many of them inadvertently by shooting for the stars and hitting a mountain.
- Go off the grid: Every 90 days, shut off all your electronics and go into the outback on walkabout. You've gotta unplug from social media, your cell phone alerts, the screens, Netflix and chill, and inbox Zero false hope. Go back to nature or run across your country like Forest Gump. Get real and back to who you are as a human. Epiphanies flow to an open mind. Digital overload has deadened human creativity. Do you think Michaelangelo was rushing to respond to a tweet?
- Life-Long Learning: Constantly strive for knowledge, wisdom, mentorship, reverse mentorship and read widely across many subject matter areas to cross-train. I absolutely loved this video by Jeb Blount. Readers are leaders and writers are sellers. Never stop learning! There's truly a correlation between the level of success possible and how much one reads. Yes, you can learn by apprenticeship and doing but you need to get Zig, Bosworth, Eades, Thull, Holden, Rackham, Adamson, Holmes, et. al burned into your DNA! Turn your car into a classroom.
Instead of burning out, KTFB - keep the fire burning.
Sure there are days where you'll feel overwhelmed (I have many), face the crippling defeat of a lost sale, be met with only silence and rejection, face the blowtorch of internal corporate politics, and flat out want to quit. You're only human and that's par for the course. But just like Billy Joel entreated, "Don't forget your second wind!"
Persistence, tenacity, and grit will pay off in spades. Approach your life and your role with a "beginner's mind" and growth mindset. Carpe Diem - Seize the day! Sometimes I feel like Benjamin Buttons. You'd be shocked that after reading hundreds of books, attending more seminars than I can remember, and coaching/closure of thousands of sales cycles, it's still day one on the learning curve.
We've never lived in a more exciting time than right now. The machine age, the blossoming of the fourth industrial revolution (from automation to intelligence) where heart, man, machine and software automation are all simultaneously hitting a wild nexus point to finally carry the realm of B2B Complex Sales forward is incredibly invigorating!