Sales is a year-round activity with no off-season and no breaks, so it’s important for sellers to understand how to deal with stress, fatigue, burnout, and a lack of creativity.
Dana Cavalea is the former Director of Strength & Conditioning and Performance for the New York Yankees. Coach Dana, who helps companies optimize performance and productivity, wrote a book called Habits of a Champion: Nobody Becomes a Champion By Accident.
He became a coach after realizing the tremendous difference that coaches made in his own athletic career, and how they helped him overcome bumps in the road.
Dana, who originally hails from New York, chose to attend school in Tampa because he knew it was near where the Yankees conducted their spring training. When he got the opportunity to join the team as the guy who handed out towels and cleaned the weight room, he jumped on it.
Within a few years, he earned a paying job as the director of strength and conditioning and performance, and the team won a championship during that time.
He discovered, through that experience, that many executives, CEOs, and sales teams wanted to know how athletes prepare to compete at the highest levels. How do they deal with injuries and fatigue and the obstacles they face during a season? How do they keep showing up every day in the face of fatigue and burnout?
People assume that high-level musicians and athletes feel good every time they perform, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. They’re tired a lot, but they don’t tell themselves that. They understand that fatigue is part of life and that you’re going to have days where you don’t feel great. The goal, Dana said, is to have fewer of those days and more of the days where you do feel great.
To do that, Dana coaches people to focus on a couple of simple things that affect performance.
These factors can inhibit the way you function overall. To address them, you must have an individual routine specific to your needs that helps you perform at your best every single day.
Some players like music that pumps them up, and other players like music that calms them down. Each person must have a routine and protocol that is based around their needs.
But how do you get there?
You get there by testing things. If you sleep for six hours but wake feeling tired, that may mean that you need more sleep, or that you need to understand your 90-minute sleep cycles better. We must perform each day and test different things like the food we eat to determine what makes us feel better.
How do I feel?
Begin by asking yourself the question, “How do I feel?” Phrased that way, the question takes you out of yourself and gives you a moment in the midst of all that you have going on to consider how you feel. People listen to a million different podcasts and listen to two or three books at a time, and we’re so busy that we don’t take time to think about how we’re feeling.
We’re working to create a self-awareness that is super important in determining the strategies that will help you overcome your struggles.
Sometimes we underestimate the impact of stress on our bodies. Sports are very competitive, as is business. Sales is extremely competitive. You must prepare and train to compete.
The key is to keep your energy up by hydrating, sleeping, fueling, and training. Then, fill your mind with good stuff to crowd out the doubt and fear.
Sports have a defined starting and ending point, but sales continues all year, quarter after quarter. There’s no break because each year leads into another.
If we do well this year, what will the people around us expect from us moving forward? They’ll expect us to do better. So now we’re constantly trying to push our threshold. Although what we did last year was good, it’s not good enough for this year. Expectations shift.
Some people, though, get comfortable playing things safe, and doing “just enough.” They don’t want to do more than they’re already doing because they know it will simply shift the expectation higher.
People fear success almost as much as they fear failure. Sometimes, they sabotage themselves in order to avoid the pressure of accomplishment.
Leaders can help their sales teams overcome these struggles by being honest. If a salesperson has hit his numbers for the month and he has a pending deal that he could close this month but he’s holding it for the next month, his leader must remove the need for the seller to impress him.
Dana heard an interview with Mariano Rivera in which Rivera said his career changed when Yankees manager Joe Torre called him into the office and explained that Mo would always be his guy. As long as Torre was with the Yankees, he wanted Mo by his side. That freed Mo to relax and do what he was best at. He was freed from the need to prove himself.
If you can reduce the need to prove yourself because you’ve validated yourself, you’re in a great position. When a manager does that for his team, it’s like glue for the team.
Dana puts his clients on a morning walk routine that includes a 30-minute walk with no technology. It forces them to be by themselves without the defense of jumping into the phone. Without distractions, they can think about the things they actually want. They get the clarity of evaluating their current situation and their own performance. They have time to ask themselves questions about how things are going.
You may find that you have a leader or manager who isn’t leading in the way you need her to. In that case, it’s up to you to tell her what you’re struggling with, where you need help, and how she can support you. You can also ask for clarity around the work you’re doing.
When you have the conviction to seek clarity without fearing the conversation, you’ll invite more clarity.
Dana often encounters people who exude confidence. He calls it their birthright because it’s so natural to them. They know exactly what must be done in order to succeed. In most cases, though, your team will include really intelligent people who simply haven’t experienced enough success in order to feel confident. Coaches can navigate their sellers to achieve small, frequent wins that stack up and build confidence.
Sellers can acquire confidence even if they don’t naturally have it.
On the other hand, Dana sometimes encounters finance people who allow the market shifts and trends to impact how they feel about themselves. He reminds them that the market will do what it will do, so these people must avoid being reactive to the external environment.
Striking out doesn’t make you a loser, and losing doesn’t make you a loser.
Dana got this advice some time back: People can either love it or shove it. Not everyone is meant to work with you and you’re not meant to work with everyone. That’s just the way it is.
Nobody leaves the gym feeling worse than when they got there. They leave feeling glad that they went. Training is your starting point.
Not all sales are equal. Don’t compromise yourself in the process of making a sale. Some sales aren’t the right ones and they’ll be a death sentence for your company.
Sales is a hustle and a grind, so you must approach every day with a vision of what you’re trying to create. We’re quick to judge ourselves against other people.
Sales is a relationship game. If people know, like, and trust you, they’ll open up to you. If they don’t, they’ll be closed to you. Relationships take time and they aren’t one-sided.
Burnout and stress are perspective-based. Stress is the result of pressures you put on yourself, and stress over time leads to burnout.
If you try to be perfect, you’ll ultimately fail. Hit singles. Don’t try to hit home runs. If you hit a single every day, you’ll get a run on the board and another man on base.
Create a healthy process for yourself and then execute every day.
“How to Deal With Stress, Fatigue, Burnout” episode resources
Connect with Coach Dana at danacavalea.com or access his YouTube channel for more content. Grab a copy of his book, Habits of a Champion: Nobody Becomes a Champion By Accident.
If you’re a sales rep looking to hone your craft and learn from the top 1% of sellers, make plans to attend the Sales Success Summit in Austin, Tx, October 14-15. Scheduled on a Monday and Tuesday to limit the impact to the sales week, the Sales Success Summit connects sellers with top-level performers who have appeared on the podcast. Visit Top1Summit.com to learn more and register!
You can also connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or try our first module of TSE Certified Sales Training Program for free. This episode has been made possible with the help of TSE Certified Sales Training Program, a training course designed to help sellers in improving their performance. We want you guys to go out each and every single day to find more ideal customers and do big things.
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