I have heard it called the “Age of Continuous Connection”. It is a time when a sales person has the ability to interact with customers 24/7, but what is that model doing to those sales people? I know that I am guilty myself of 24/7 selling, and I’ll explain what that is.
My wife got me a smart watch for Christmas two years ago and I wore it faithfully everywhere I went, even when I slept. What I found is that as I went through my day answering emails and sending quotes; I was now doing so at night. I would put the cell phone down when I went to bed, but I kept the watch on. As I slept it would vibrate and I opened a bloodshot eyeball to see if it was a lead. Often times it was!
What was happening is that I was constantly “on” in sales mode and falling into the continuous connection lifestyle. While business was thriving, my work life balance was way out of whack. This is a common trap for many of us in sales as we are constantly adding technology to generate more leads and increase sales. The problem that I was having is that I forgot that I am not a machine, and need that balance to continue to maintain a healthy lifestyle while having a thriving business.
I spoke with one of my colleagues about having to re-invent my business processes to avoid burnout while still moving forward. She suggested that as I am a technology driven person I should replace some of my current processes with new software that may keep things streamlined.
She also suggested that I get out of the mindset of having to respond instantaneously to every incoming email. This mindset is due to having a mobile computer in my pocket, and a cultural need for instant information and answers to questions via Google.
The first thing that I did was download Microsoft Teams which is an all-in-one application for all my communications. It includes a SharePoint site for me to set up files for the team, and all of the standard communication tools like: Chat, Video calls, etc.
One of the cool things about Teams is that it has plug-ins for the tools that we were already using like Slack, and Trello for Project Management. My team does not have to give up the tools that they love, they just now access them differently.
The second thing that I did was better organize my workflows using Teams. As we are picking up more and more projects, I’m leveraging the task tracker in Teams to keep myself organized and not have to open different applications.
I also looked at making time to make time. How many of us eat lunch at our desks, or simply grab something quick between sales calls and eat it in the car? We have all done it. Who has not seen a realtor scarfing down a burrito in their car between showings?
I’ve made a conscious effort to at least take 20 minutes out of the day to slow down and enjoy a cup of something, or simply walk. I’m not trying to sound Zen by any means, but when you are in sales, you try to make every minute count. I know that time is money, but balance makes for better use of that time.
Lastly I decided that screens are down at 8:00 pm. Let’s face it, who amongst us has not sent an email, or returned a call from the bathroom. I find that because I am checking out YouTube videos in the bathroom, I forget that the device still has my email open. It’s too easy to open Outlook and get a little extra work done. That means that I’m still “on” and that is what we are trying to avoid.
I have found that by remembering about the “balance”, and not completely focusing on the sale, I have been able to effectively increase my company sales, and have found more time for myself to be a better CEO.
PS. I stopped wearing the watch months ago and I am feeling great. Sometimes a little “too much” connection is bad thing.