7 Ways Salespeople Can Avoid Burnout During Q4

Tony Hughes
Tony Hughes


Do something you love, and you'll never work a day in your life.

People ask, "Tony, how do you consistently 15+ hours every day? After three decades, how are you not beyond burnt out on selling, calling, and incessantly traveling across continents?"

It doesn't mean I love every element of what I do or enjoy the rejection-laden gauntlet. Between finishing my latest book, meeting client commitments, and publishing blog articles, I've had moments of near-implosion this year.

I have several secrets to preventing and avoiding burnout over a 30-year career in sales.

1) Follow the 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 finish two major things that scare me before lunch, I shouldn't have even worked that day. Yes, that means directly calling two or three CEOs who I could consult on revenue acceleration.

Don’t accept the “December” excuse that most people in sales use to get out of real work. Lean in.

2) Become curious

You must be infinitely interested in other people. What makes them tick? What are their unique problems?

It’s hard to do, but "being fully there" (as I highlight in the RSVPselling methodology) will "open doors where there were once walls," per philosopher Joseph Campbell.

3) Exercise

You're not going to reach 10X massive action chugging energy drinks and never moving.

Work-life balance comes from concentrating and doing one thing as effectively as possible in the 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, serotonin, and endorphins when your heart rate goes up. 

For me, that's cycling and not just weekend warrioring it. I often wake in the dark to put in 60 kilometers.

4) Practice 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, like mentoring wonderful people.

Watching the principles I espouse in these blogs come to fruition is what I live for.

5) Passion

I set 10X goals every day, 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.

Set goals now. Waiting until January will slow your momentum.

6) Go off the grid

Pick a day before the end of the year, shut off all of your electronics, and go into nature.

Unplug from social media, notifications, screens, and Netflix. This helps you connect to your truest self. Epiphanies occur to an open mind.

7) Lifelong Learning

Constantly strive for knowledge and wisdom. Get a mentor. Get a mentee. Read across diverse subjects.

Readers are leaders, and writers are sellers. There's a correlation between success and how much you read.

Yes, you can learn by apprenticeship and doing, but you need to get Zig, Bosworth, Eades, Thull, Holden, Rackham, Adamson, and Holmes burned into your DNA. Turn your car into a classroom. Pick a book and read it now. Not next week, year, or decade. Instead of burning out, KTFB: Keep the fire burning.

There are days where you'll feel overwhelmed (I have many), face the crippling defeat of a lost sale, experience silence and rejection, and face the blowtorch of internal corporate politics. You’ll flat out want to quit. You're only human, and that's par for the course. But just like Billy Joel said, "Don't forget your second wind!"

Sometimes I feel like Benjamin Button. After reading hundreds of books, attending more seminars than I can remember, and coaching and closing thousands of sales cycles, it's still day one on the learning curve. 

Persistence, tenacity, and grit will pay off in spades. Approach your life and your role with a growth mindset, and success will follow. 

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