What happened to the human (in a human-centric role)?
Most sellers I meet don’t actually struggle with selling.
They know the best way to sell is to build a connection, create understanding, and define a mutual path forward. Those aren’t sales qualities. They’re human qualities.
So how do you bring back more of the human in a human-centric industry?
Take care of yourself
Years back when I was running myself thin in the manic pace of high-stakes selling, I was wearing a lack of sleep like a badge of honor, traveling all the time, drinking often, eating poorly, experiencing mood swings, constantly getting irritated, and more.
I used to be exhausted at the end of the day.
ALL. THE. TIME.
Here’s what changed…
I focused on making three small, but profound changes in my workdays.
Then I stuck with the habits after seeing the benefits in my performance and overall mood.
I started increasing deal sizes and accelerating deal cycles, while feeling calmer, healthier, and more satisfied.
On the surface, I was successful operating the “old way,” closing $11M in Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) within 24 months with net new logos. I was reaching the top of the leaderboard, locking in President’s Club, getting the MVP awards, but it was taking a toll on my health – physical, mental, emotional, and my relationships.
After making the changes I outline below, “the new way,” I was able to close $14.1M in ARR in just 10 months, and do it in a way that prioritized my health and wellbeing.
Here are the three simple things I did that optimized the human side so that I could show up as the best sales professional possible each day:
1. Focus on getting better sleep 😴
Getting more (and higher quality sleep) naturally reduced my sleep debt, helping me to harness my energy potential better.
Deloitte has escalated sleep deprivation to a “business issue,” supporting the scientific community’s findings that “people’s ability to learn, concentrate, and retain information is greatly impacted by how well-rested they are.”
It’s hard to deny the benefits of getting more sleep because we hear it so often these days, but that can add more pressure and anxiety if you are already having trouble sleeping.
Here’s what helped me and things you can consider:
→ Get a wearable and understand how much sleep you’re actually getting
→ Manage your sleep debt and your daily energy levels
→ Work on a consistent bed and wake time
→ Follow the 10, 3, 2, 1, 0 rule:
- 10 hours before bed, no more caffeine
- 3 hours before bed, no more food (and try to avoid alcohol during the work week)
- 2 hours before bed, no more work
- 1 hour before bed, no more screen time
- This all leads to 0 presses of the snooze bar in the morning
2. Implement daily start and review routines ✍️
I know I can control two parts of my workdays: how I start and end them, so I developed a fun challenge out of completing highly personalized routines that I call my “Daily Start Routine” (DSR) and “Daily Review Routine” (DRR).
These routines are something I look forward to and balance out the chaos that can occur in the middle of the day when things aren’t quite in my control.
Here’s the framework I follow, called DFC, and some of the tools I use to consistently make sure each day is a success:
→ Start the day with (D) DISCIPLINE, like a world-class athlete who warms up for intense training or competition
→ Maintain (F) FLEXIBILITY in the middle of the day, say like an improv comedian can react on the fly up on stage
→ End my day looking back on it with (C) CURIOSITY, like a scientist experiments in the lab
→ I consolidate my email, calendar, and tasks into one place using Sunsama
→ Whenever I think of something I need to do, I put it into Todoist, which integrates with Sunsama
→ I track inputs and subsequent outputs easily inside Thrive Space™
3. Reduce decision fatigue with a system based on mental models 🧠
We face tons of micro decisions every day. This can wreak havoc on your mental stamina.
“Depleted people become more passive, which becomes bad for their decision-making,” says Roy Baumeister, a professor of psychology at the University of Queensland in Australia and author of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength.
I found the best way to reduce this fatigue is to operate each day using a system that aligns my tasks with my natural energy states.
By having rules in place and my calendar time-blocked by tasks in their appropriate energy buckets, it makes work feel a lot less exhausting.
I also gamified my system, so it’s something I look forward to and feels like I level up each day, creating the momentum I need to keep learning, growing, and excelling.
Here’s what worked well for me that you may want to incorporate into your routines:
→ Complete my MIT (Most Important Task) before checking email or Slack
→ Keep my TEA (Time, Energy, Attention) full. I constantly ask:
- “Is this a good use of my time?”
- “Do I have the right energy for this?”
- “Does this deserve my attention?”
→ Create 5 daily “quests” and score myself on them. 💎 Bonus: At the end of the month, if you reach a certain level of points, reward yourself. My 5 daily objectives get two points each (for a total of 10 points) and are:
- Write down one thing I’m grateful for
- Complete my MIT
- Share something meaningful (such as post on social media)
- Work out
Keep it simple. Focus on optimizing around being the best human and naturally you will be in a better place as a sales pro. That’s when you can lean into acquiring the strategic skills that help you go from closing 6 figure opportunities to 7+ figure opportunities without burning yourself out.
Human first. Seller second.
When you’re ready, here are 3 ways I can help you:
- Get the exact system I’ve used to go from earning $200K to over $1M a year in SaaS sales without burning out here. (1,800+ students)
- Join a community of Purpose-Curious™ sellers in the Make More Hustle Less Club where we develop a personal operating system together here. (300+ members)
- Book a 1:1 coaching session to up-level your performance here. (Limited spots available)