Editor's Note: As another year draws to its end, it's natural to want to boost your sales numbers. But there's a danger in running too fast and never stopping: it's called burnout. Every marathoner knows the risk of injury from pushing themself too hard at the end of the race. Franchise pro Steve Olson suggests stepping away from the goals, quotas, and pressures, patting yourself on the back for what you've already done this year, assessing where you could have done better, and recharging for the coming year. Your blood pressure will thank you - and so will your family!
Thirty years ago I read an article in Sales & Marketing Management that hit me like a freight train. It challenged my commitment and motivation to continue the everyday grind of franchise selling. To stoke the fire, their sadistic designer illustrated a lit match flaming the edges of the story.
When I finished reading the article, I wondered why I was so bothered by this piece. Pondering over what was bugging me, it took me a few days to realize what was happening. Why was I so frustrated... especially since I was hitting my sales numbers and exceeding my annual quotas?
Having a frank conversation with myself, I realized what triggered my frustration. I had been racing on a perpetual treadmill thinking about new prospects just as I was closing my current prospects. My alarm system went off! Sales numbers were defining my life, I wasn't. I was a victim of job burnout. I was more concerned about "What have you sold for me today?" than I was about normalizing my lifestyle, health, and well-being. My daily mission was sifting through hundreds of unqualified leads, connecting with very few real prospects, and competing with multiple competitive brands to capture another sale. After all, that was our responsibility and we were well compensated for it. What a mistake.
Some of you reading this article know what I mean. Others are not at this point yet. Or they are part of the glorious few who have always had the discipline to compartmentalize the job and make space for their work time and play time. Certainly my imbalance was my wake-up call. It was quite clear that we all need "to take the time to take time off." Sales pros should never get caught focusing on their prospect families at the expense of their own families.
In our quest for success, we all need to recharge our batteries. Try not to let frustration take control of you. If you aren't doing it now, seek outlets outside your daily work. Finishing your job every day, exhausted with nothing to look forward to, is not healthy for you or your home life.
Sometimes we find the answers right in front of us. Years ago my five-year-old daughter Cyndi asked if she could go to work with me when making my rounds of local sales visits. Considering her surprising request, I announced, "Okay, get yourself all dressed up and let's go to work together!" Not only did we both have lots of fun, but my daughter discovered what I did during my work day. This glorious outing also provided multiple perks that day. I wrote more business because of Cyndi's infectious smile, blonde curls, and dimples. Ice cream sundaes were absolutely in order to top off that day!
Starting a career in franchise development requires an unusually longer learning curve in mastering our counter-intuitive franchise sales process. To succeed means more time up front on the job, less time for play. Hold back on your leisure time until you learn your craft, sharpen your sales proficiencies and award a few franchises. Then it's time to pop the cork, kick back, and celebrate the awesome career opportunity we enjoy.
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