Todd Martin

Todd Martin

Sales Strategy

You can scroll the shelf using and keys

Salesperson Burnout: 6 Signs That You Have It, and 6 Tips for Beating It

February 12, 2013

It’s a common occurrence, so if you’re feeling it, you’re not alone.

It’s easy to tick off the causes of salesperson fatigue and burnout. You’re in one of the toughest professions there is in terms of staying positive and productive.

Todd Martin blog 020113 image 1OK, neurosurgery requires a great deal more education, skill and experience, and mistakes are far more serious than a lost sales commission. But do neurosurgeons have to face constant rejection? Do they worry about getting enough business to pay the bills? Are hospital administrators hovering over them constantly, asking if they’ve made their quota? Are they often in the position of being turned down for a procedure by a patient who they thought would be on their schedule?

Just because you don’t operate on peoples’ brains or run into burning buildings or face combat situations every day doesn’t mean you have no reason to get fatigued to the point of burnout. Your professional has its own unique kind of stress, and it should be easy to spot when you’re on anxiety overload.

The Signs

Everyone experiences some of these things in their work from time to time, but if you’re feeling several of them on a regular basis, you’re heading for burnout:

  • Procrastination. You’re putting off even critical tasks to the point where your work output is shaky.
  • Indifference. Lost a sale, and you’re not even that bothered by it?
  • Malaise. You have a hard time getting motivated to do anything, even tasks you used to enjoy.
  • Dog-sees-squirrel syndrome. You’re easily distracted.
  • Illness. You’re undoubtedly heard that too much unmanaged stress can make you sick. Medical professionals list stress as one of the causes of numerous physical ailments.
  • Spinning-your-wheels syndrome. You feel like you’re working harder than ever but not accomplishing as much.

So how do you deal with burnout if it happens to you? You may have heard some of these suggestions before but they can work, especially if you want them to and you’re able to push past your current state of mind.Todd Martin blog 020113 image 2

  • Evaluate your expectations. Are you expecting too much of yourself? Even if you’re not a perfectionist, you may still be comparing yourself to others too much. Don’t. Steer your own canoe.
  • Get a life. If you’re spending most of the weekend either obsessing about the last week’s low points or anticipating next week’s, stop it. Try to compartmentalize your life more. Set a limit on the amount of time you’ll allow yourself to think about work during your personal time and stick to it.
  • Disconnect from the cloud. Nothing can make you feel like a failure faster than Facebook. Minimize the time you spend with your wired electronics away from work. They can be time-wasters and ego-busters. Remember that when you see glowing reports of professional and personal successes from your connections that you’re just seeing the highlight reels, not the day-to-day.
  • Read positive motivational books and articles. Even just one important insight gained from an hour of reading it worth it.
  • Tell someone how you’re feeling. Here, too, you might come away from such a conversation with a suggestion for one thing you can do. And everyone needs empathy sometimes.
  • Reconsider your approach. Social networking is changing the whole customer-salesperson relationship. Try focusing on your customers and what’s missing in their lives. When you do reach the point where you’re discussing your products, focus on benefits – how your company can help them – instead of features.

Todd Martin blog 020113 image 3Your state of mind may just be a temporary thing, like post-holiday, mid-winter blues. Something distressing in your personal life that’s spilling over into work. Or maybe you just can’t get over the fact that Ben Affleck didn’t get nominated by the Academy for “Argo,” though he’s winning the other major director awards.

If it persists, though, tackle it like you tackle tough sales. Make a plan and be tenacious about implementing it.

Stock images courtesy of


What do you think?

Please keep your comments polite and on-topic.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


A change of territory every 2-3 years can be a great motivator if you, or people in your team, are in danger of burn-out.

Mark J Stonham (@markjstonham)

February 13, 2013