May 15, 2021

Sales burnout: 10 Ways to Prevent Burnout for Sales Reps

Sales reps are often the first point of contact for any business. They're constantly on their feet, meeting new people, and fighting to win deals. Sales Burnout is a natural consequence of this kind of lifestyle, but it doesn't have to be inevitable. With some careful planning and good habits, you can find ways to prevent burnouts from happening at all!

Sales reps are some of the most important people in any business. They are responsible for finding new customers and closing deals, which is why it's so critical to keep them happy! 

One way to do this is by preventing sales burnout before it starts. By following these 10 simple steps, you can help your sales team avoid stress and enjoy success instead.



What Is Sales Burnout

It is a process of psychological deterioration that occurs in individuals who are forced to engage with other people on an exceptionally frequent basis, often over the telephone. 

It stems from the fact that there are billions of people in this world and it would be impracticable to talk to them all - almost nobody will ever sit down and listen to your story.

The endless chase for new customers leads sales professionals into an endlessly repetitive cycle: cold call, follow up calls, more calls – rinse and repeat – all day long. Even if you're able to sell something once or twice along the way, by day's end it doesn't matter since you'll need to do it again tomorrow. 

The prospect becomes just another number on your list; a name and a phone number that you dial mechanically, expecting to be disappointed and prepared to get off the phone quickly. After all, what kind of person would listen to your story more than once?

This mental state is known as burnout. You can read more about burnout here, what is burnout.

How It Starts

It begins with an accumulation of minor annoyances: co-workers who don't do their fair share; random clients or prospects who hang up on you mid-sentence; not getting paid for lead generation calls (that ultimately led nowhere); and the list goes on… Eventually - over time - these experiences add up and corrode your sense of self worth. 

You end up feeling dejected and you stop caring about other people's problems and predicaments. If they don't want to hear your story, then that's their loss.

When this occurs, you're no longer interested in helping other people or even learning about them - you just want to get off the phone and "get some work done". 

This mental attitude leads to lackluster performance on sales calls. And if you can't be bothered to care about one person on the other end of the line, how do you expect them to feel? Do you really think they'll buy anything from you?

And once it becomes clear that clients are not buying services or products due to lack of interest in what is being sold, professional burnout is inevitable. There's only so long someone can try before giving up hope for success. It's only natural.

But, to make matters worse, sales professionals are often under high levels of pressure to perform. So the inevitable happens: they go back into autopilot mode and end up forcing themselves to engage with potential customers who don't want them around, ever again. 

They become professional zombies, blindly mailing out their handwritten proposals alongside faxes that nobody will ultimately read.

The Sad Truth About Sales Burnout

What makes it even sadder is that people give up once they realize what's happening – but if anything this should be the exact moment when they realize "I can't keep doing this" and start looking for alternatives. 

It might not come as an epiphany at first; but over time you'll begin to feel more comfortable working outside the office, or perhaps you'll want to transition into something that can allow you to work remotely.

Sales burnout is a self-fulfilling prophecy - it's not something that's forced upon us, but rather an inevitable consequence of putting in too much effort without getting anything back. 

Nobody thinks they deserve better treatment than anyone else, especially if their job description entails following up with people on their roster at least once every two weeks. But over time they lose sight of what truly matters - they don't see any light at the end of the tunnel and their enthusiasm turns into desperation …and then finally despair.

How To Spot Sales Burnout

Now that I’ve discussed what burnout is and some of the dynamics behind it, let me address how to recognize you are in a state of  burnout. 

Sales reps know when their gut is telling them they need to make more outbound calls or work on more new deals; however, this may not be the best indicator of whether their brain is actually functioning at a high level. 

Your brain might tell you that everything seems harder than normal or even feel impossible at times. Now, if your intuition is nudging you in this way, pay attention because most likely you have reached a point where something needs to change.

When people reach any type of burnout stage, they typically seek an escape from the pain, so to speak. They find something else to pour their energy into whether it be personal or professional. For example, you may notice that your email volume kicks up because it’s easier to reply to an email than make a phone call. 

So yes, face-to-face is always better for connecting with someone but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person has taken on something more professionally productive even if they are staying busy.

The best indicator of burnout is when you feel completely unmotivated and actually dread picking up the phone to call customers or contact new prospects. 

You don’t necessarily have to be doing this every day either; if you only do it every other day or every third day, for example, that’s still a sign you aren’t as motivated as you normally are. 

It could be one day where you feel this way and the next day seems normal – but still – if it keeps happening, it is a clear indication something isn’t right.

For those of us who have been in sales a long time or worked with customers on a regular basis, we know what motivates us to pick up the phone and make those calls. 

Getting paid? Meeting tight deadlines? Trying out new products? Working to get promoted? Improving our personal skill sets through networking with other reps or sharing status reports with our managers? All of these things can motivate people to take action but they may not always be present in your day-to-day work. 

This, however, is a very important step in determining why you might be in a state of burnout.

If you have experienced all the symptoms I discussed before and have realized that your motivation level has dropped substantially or even disappeared altogether then it’s time to assess where you are both professionally and personally. 

What do I mean by professionally? Well, if you enjoy what you do for a living but feel unmotivated when it comes to making outbound calls, this might simply be a case of feeling frustrated with certain aspects of your job or wanting to escape from phone work so you pick up longer emails instead. 

On the other hand, if calls make up most of your day and you’re finding it incredibly difficult to start conversations with prospects or close new business, there might be something more going on.

Remember that both scenarios can lead to a state of burnout so it is important not to skip over the importance of doing a self-inventory after recognizing symptoms. 

This applies whether you are going through a personal or professional change – either way, if your motivation levels have dropped considerably then the best thing you can do is take stock of what changes need to happen.

How To Prevent Sales Burnout

A sales job can be very physically and emotionally demanding. There are frequent deadlines to meet, numbers that need to be attained and other people you have to convince to buy your product or service.

If it seems like the stress is getting the best of you, don't worry because help is on the way! By following these simple tips, you will be able to prevent burnout so that you can stay on top of your game. 

Sales job burnout happens when a salesperson receives no satisfaction from their work which results in them losing motivation and eventually quitting. 

So without further ado, here are 10 simple ways to prevent sales job burnout:

1). Get Organized

One reason for having high levels of stress is the high levels of clutter. In order to prevent burnout, it's important to have a clean desk and office. 

You should always have your most important documents at the front of your desk so that you can see them and know what needs to get done first (e.g., client meeting, presentation etc.). 

If there is too much clutter on your desk or in your office, you will more than likely spend time looking for things rather than working on tasks which makes completing these tasks take longer and thus put them further down on your priority list.

2). Have an Outlet (a Hobby)

Having an outlet such as a hobby or talent can be very beneficial when it comes to preventing sales job burnout. When you do something you enjoy, it will feel like a break from your work which can make you happier and more motivated. 

Some people like reading books as their outlet while others might like to exercise or go for a run. Do whatever works best for you!

3). Take Care of Your Physical Health

Having healthy levels of stress is fine but when there are too many stressful hormones in the body, this can lead to fatigue and tiredness – both things that we want to avoid if possible. 

You should always ensure that you get enough sleep and eat well so that your body has the energy it needs to complete its daily tasks. Furthermore, doing exercises such as jogging or using machines at the gym can help increase your heart rate and cause your body to release endorphins which in turn boost your mood. 

There are even some studies that indicate that exercise can be just as effective in treating depression as antidepressants!

4). Allow Yourself Time to Relax

When you have a sales job, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of completing tasks so when you do finally get a chance for some "me time", it's important not to ignore this opportunity. 

You should spend at least an hour each day doing something relaxing such as watching TV, reading or having a warm bath. 

It is important not to let work take over your entire life because if you allow yourself little breaks every now and then, you will be able to come back to work feeling refreshed and recharged.

5). Find a Way to Delegate

Delegating is one of the most helpful things you can do to prevent sales job burnout. In order to become a better delegator, it's important that you have good time management skills so that you know how long something will take before delegating it to someone else. 

Furthermore, try not to overwhelm your employees with tasks – only give them a few at a time so they don't feel overworked and overwhelmed!

6). Learn How To Say No

When it comes to preventing sales job burnout at your current company, this may be difficult as people will expect you to already have knowledge of everything about your business or industry. However, it is important that you set boundaries and learn how to say no when necessary. 

This will help prevent your clients from overloading you with work as well as ensuring that you don't miss out on other tasks such as working on proposals which can be just as important.

7). Get Along With Your Coworkers

One of the main reasons for burnout is having an unhelpful or toxic team which causes stress and anxiety every day at work. As a result, try and get along with all of your coworkers and maintain good relationships with them so that everyone feels happy and content at their jobs!

8). Be Realistic About Sales Targets

It's great if you are ambitious but too much ambition can lead to unrealistic expectations which in turn can lead to stress and overworking yourself. 

By setting realistic sales targets, you will be able to achieve them more easily while still being satisfied with the work that you have completed!

9). Remember That You Are Not Alone

It can be incredibly easy to feel isolated when you are experiencing a lot of pressure at work but if you remember that there are just as many people who have had similar experiences, it is easier to deal with the stress of having a job. 

Furthermore, sharing your feelings or frustrations with someone whom you trust can help them understand what you might be going through so they know how best they should support you!

10). Reduce Time Wasters

In order to combat sales job burnout, it is important that you learn how to say no. If you continue saying yes to new projects or taking on more tasks than you can handle, you will eventually start to feel exhausted and overworked when in reality, a lot of time wasters could have been avoided if only you had stuck with your original decisions!


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Himangi Lohar

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