Today’s post is by Jamie Crosbie, CEO and founder of ProActivate. Jamie is a certified peak performance mindset trainer. Contact her at email@example.com or 214/720-9922 to learn more about how her training can help your sales team reach peak performance levels.
Research has consistently shown that planned downtime and vacations actually increase, not decrease, overall productivity. In some studies, there was a whopping 82 percent boost in productivity. That kind of beneficial rebound can go a long way in fortifying your bottom line. If taking care of yourself and your sales team really works, then why don’t more companies encourage it?
For the very same reason that people have to be reminded on flights to place the oxygen mask on themselves first during an emergency. Panic – sheer, unadulterated fear that taking even a microsecond away from work will cause the entire sales plane to fall from the sky and go boom.
While not paying attention to your clients’ needs will cost you, burning your sales team candle at both ends may actually cost you more.
How Can Lack of Downtime Damage Sales Teams?
Well, for starters, you can lose your best and brightest. Allow me to explain: You are not a machine; and, unless you are working with next-generation robotic sales cyborgs with built-in networking, multitasking, and coffee-making capabilities, neither are the members of your team. To have a clear head, they need to be able to rest – even if only in short bursts. This can reduce stress and increase your team’s energy as well as boost team morale.
Happier salespeople, in turn, can dramatically improve sales staff retention. It takes thoughtful planning, but adding enough balanced downtime and mental “rest stops” can help you attract and keep the best salespeople. You might think offering higher bonuses and goodies will do that, but the truth is that money does not fix everything. People stay when they feel valued and supported. Not only that, but happy salespeople tend to create happier customers, too.
How to Implement Planned Downtime
Erika Bernhart, owner of Strelitzia Floral Design in Austin, TX, noticed her team was lagging. Her company provides elegant arrangements for corporate clients as well as local brides – a demanding role that often requires exhausting workloads. To help compensate and encourage her tired team, Erika began bringing in professional masseuses to do 30-minute massages during the week. She also worked with her employees to create livable schedules interspersed with built-in micro-breaks. In the end, everyone benefited.
Her team of sales consultants, floral designers, and setup crews were more rested and happier. They were also more creative and adaptive – performing well even under the intense pressure of perfectly-timed, large-scale corporate events. Even though the work is mentally and physically demanding, her people are doing better than ever. Judging by the increase in her sales, the clients are happy about it, too.
Create a Downtime Plan that Works for Your Sales Team
The question, then, is not if you should take breaks, but of finding ways to do it effectively so your team can speed along like a sleek sports car hugging the tightest sales curves with ease.
Here is where it gets really tricky, because there is no simple, universal template that fits every company in exactly the same way. To be effective, you have to create a plan that works with your team, your industry, and your client needs.
Before you can do anything, though, you need to get a good idea of where you really are. Try talking to – or even anonymously surveying – your people. Ask them honest questions to understand their needs. You can also ask for suggestions about ways to take small breaks. In some cases, that may be simply bringing in lunch once a week or encouraging people to use their vacation and off days.
In others, it may mean allowing them to take brief play breaks like Google does. Google employee perks include a wide variety of mental distractions that allow team members to play – such as video games, billiards, and foosball – as well as onsite dry cleaning and doctor services. Of course, many companies can’t hope to rival anything near what Google offers, but the idea is the same: take care of your people and they will take care of you and your customers.
Find out more about peak performance, developing a superior mindset, and improving your top line by contacting me at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 214/720-9922.