March 4

Want to Improve Sales? Take a Hike


You may have heard the expression, “Hey, take a hike.” My best sales advice to you this week is the same: Take a hike!

I recommend this because I see way too may sales professionals falling into the working-harder-not-smarter bucket. They confuse quantity of hours worked with quality of hours worked.

For example, a salesperson is “grinding,” trying to create a compelling proposal that will stand out from the competition. He keeps pushing and rewriting, only to stare at a boring pitch.

Or a sales manager tries to create an agenda for a team meeting that will inspire, motivate and educate her crew. She revises the agenda over and over. But there is nothing inspiring or motivating landing on paper.

Time to take a hike.

When you take a hike, you engage in a practice that the Mayo Clinic calls “meditation in motion.” Taking a hike allows your brain to wander, relax and recharge. Albert Einstein’s best ideas often came when he simply was wandering - not when he was grinding it out trying to hit a deadline or goal.

Sara Blakely, a self-made billionaire and founder of SPANX, has discovered that her best thinking time is in the car. She lives about six minutes from her office, but gives herself time and permission to drive around for about an hour before going  into the office. At stoplights, she writes down all the ideas coming to her because she allows her mind to wander.  

For many sales professionals, their commutes have gone away. No more drive to the office, drive time between appointments or sitting on a flight to visit clients and prospects.  Instead, days are filled with back-to-back video calls.

Sure, you are making more calls. But what is their quality? Are you even taking time to think about the upcoming call or follow up on the last one? The answer is a resounding “no.”

We are working harder but not smarter.

Time to take a hike and create your virtual commute, where you can refuel and recharge. Here’s a sad reality: We treat our cars better than our bodies. 

  • We take our cars in every 5,000 miles to change the oil. If oil isn’t changed, the engine starts having problems and runs less efficiently. Certain engine components warp and wear out.
  • We fill our cars with gas so we don’t run out of gas.

But in sales, we keep grinding and fall into the old working-harder-not-smarter trap. Parts of our body start wearing out from stress. And we certainly don’t bring our best selves to work because we are often out of gas. 

So what’s the answer?

Apply the EQ skills of self-awareness and reality testing. Recognize that taking a hike isn’t some kind of frivolous activity. It’s a sales activity that creates more productivity, often in less time. Pretend that your hike is a virtual commute.

Prior to the pandemic, sales managers and salespeople did have breaks between appointments and meetings because they were driving to them. Or they would walk down the hall and talk to another human being for five to 10 minutes.

Today, you have to intentionally create those breaks so you can refuel and recharge. You’ll be clear-headed and will spark your own creativity. You’ll be bursting with enthusiasm to create winning proposals and to motivate your team members to do their best.

Let the creativity flow: Take a hike!

Good Selling!


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