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Sales People Can Get Sleep

I roll over to turn the alarm on my phone on and as I do I have a moment where I have absolutely no idea where I am.  Yes I know I am in a hotel, a Westin I believe, but can not remember what city I am in.  

At the peak of my sales travel this was an all too familiar feeling.  It is something I look back on now and laugh about, but at the time it was starting to get scary.  Each day I would wake up in a new hotel and need to get ready for long day of pitch meetings followed up with a very long night of dinners and if all went well cocktails and clubs.  There was one month that I literally was doing this routine 4-5 days per week for the entire month.  

When I was younger I loved the lifestyle.  It was so cool to think my company was not only willing to pay me to do this, but actually would get upset if I did not do it enough.  (Mind Blown!)


Welcome to the life of an executive sales guy!  

As I got older the nights out were still fun, but I found my endurance starting to lack.  Going 5 nights on 3 hours of sleep a night was just not a possible as it used to be.  It was time to slow it down.

Moving from the late night party boy to the respectable hour sleep sales guy was something I could not figure out how to do. I mean for the last 15+ years I had built a brand around amazing dinner experiences with clients, and even more epic nights out with them.  From Shanghai to Chicago I had more stories out with clients than I did with my own friends.

So how did I make the pivot?  Well to be perfectly honest it still has not fully happened, but I am working on it.  This blog was to give you a few steps I have taken that have been successful in case you too are trying to make this pivot.

  1. Choose a reasonable amount of sleep and stick to it.  When I was at my peak, I was down to two or three hours per night.  Still not exactly sure how I functioned, but I made it work.  Today my rule is six hours per night, with the option for five, 3 nights per month.  This has allowed me to place a curfew on myself which has actually been working on pretty well.
    • This is the hardest part for me as I really can function well without sleep.  By having my curfew in my head though I have surprisingly been able to hold to my six hours of sleep per night about 75% of the time so far.
  2. The three night out rule.   I seriously felt so lame when I first came up with this rule, but now as I look back since I have done it, my nights out have been even more fun.  Limiting my nights out forces me to pick and choose why and who I am going out with much more carefully.  Since I have a limit of three nights out per week I need to make sure I make them count.  
    • Now let’s be real here people. If you are at a conference your butt better be out every night of that event.  I have never made a sale between 8am - 6pm.  Deals are made from 6pm - 10pm (and depending on the client 4am...LOL!).
    • One other note is that if you have a family, as I do, this rule will help keep the family much happier with you. Having my limit of three nights out ensures I am not at client dinners and entertaining Monday - Friday, and instead home making my girls dinner and tucking them in.
  3. A Drink Count Limit. So I picked this one up from my mentor Jack Daly, but still yet to completely figure it out.  Jack sets a 4 drink per night cap as long as his weight is at a certain number or lower.  Which I love that weight rule by the way!  I am working hard to make this one happen as I have struggled with my weight my whole life and love the idea of the cap based on my weight.
    • To date I have always had a drink limit count, but it was always around intoxication levels.  When I was with a client I knew my limit with all of my drinks.  If I ever happen to start feeling it a little more than I should due to not eating or something I would cut myself off immediately and try and wrap up the night.  I learned long ago the one place you should never be drunk is with a client.

So I hope these pointers help you out if you are working to slow down the sales party world in your life a little.  It amazes me how little people write about this topic as it is something I know literally hundreds of salespeople who struggle with the life, work, and party balance to keep their sales numbers where they want them.  

As I continue to make progress I will write up some new pointers to help you out.  Till then keep hustling, but do get some sleep!

To Your Success & Prosperity!