YES. YES. And YES. Within reason.
I am a big believer in work/life balance. We can push through massive spurts of effort at work, but very few of us can sustain 110% effort over very extended periods of time. Of course, some can. But most mortals can’t.
I enjoyed many, many years working 12-15 hours a day without a complaint. I loved it and it didn’t feel out of balance at all. My priority was always family, but I made family work around an aggressive work schedule—I was working through the day, giving the family my full attention in the evening and then back at my computer when everyone went to sleep. I did this for a very long time. It felt effortless.
Until it didn’t. And then I needed more balance (to me, this coincided with the kids getting older, and me truly needing to prioritize being available and present for their schedules—but that is a topic of another article).
So anyway, I understand work/life balance and down time. I value the importance of vacations. People shouldn’t sacrifice quality of life for work (unless they want to, in which case that is quality of life to them and who are we to judge). I want to work with people who value hard work, but compartmentalize in order to make time for themselves and family.
All that said, I also expect my sales people to be available 24/7 for their prospects and customers. I expect sales people to be willing to give out their cell phone number to a prospect and say “Call or text me anytime” and mean it.
I expect that because it’s what I have lived and I know it’s possible to have incredible work/life balance and still take the call from the prospect.
I know it sounds like an oxymoron. It’s not. Go home and check out when you need to. But if your prospect calls, take the call. Or text them and tell them when you can call them back. When your prospect emails you after hours, reply. Even a short reply with “I’ll get this to you first thing tomorrow morning” is better than no acknowledgment at all (but it may slow your deal to a halt if you do that too much). Responsiveness shows your commitment to them. It’s working when they are working. It shows you are a human. It shows your drive (hello #hustle!). It builds strong relationships between seller and buyer. In the words of our friend Zane, “Time kills deals”. Responsiveness wins deals.
Let me repeat that: Responsiveness wins deals.
Make sure your team knows this, agrees with this and is willing to live this.
Yes, have work/life balance and expect your team to as well. Take time for family, for yourself, for your community. Take vacations. Unplug (just make sure your team is backing each other up during unplugged periods). But when the prospect calls or emails—respond. That’s part of the responsibility of being in sales. If that’s a burden your reps don’t want, then sales might not be for them.