Small improvements for increased enjoyment

As mentioned in my last post, as salespeople we can very quickly go from pointing out legitimate concerns to moaning about things that we really can’t do anything about. In and of itself that doesn’t have to be a problem, but it can present an issue if it gets in the way of our work and our enjoyment.

Negative vs. positive enjoyment

The way I see it, there are two types of enjoyment. For want of a better way of thinking I call them negative and positive enjoyment. Positive enjoyment is what you may think of as fun or joy. Negative enjoyment on the other hand is more difficult to quantify. Over the years I’ve arrived at the rather broad definition of a lack of things that induce stress or annoyance.

Naturally there’s a limit to how enjoyable you can make your sales job by only focusing on the fun stuff. There’s a limit to how many sales you can close, how many contracts you can sign and how many meetings you can have.

Whether an activity is enjoyable or not then depends on whether you yourself have done everything you can to maximise your positive ejoyment and also whether you have removed all your stressors.

Stressful enjoyment – an example:

I used to work with a sales guy (and yes, it was a guy) who was one of the best I’ve ever seen at maximising his positive enjoyment. We’ve all met him actually. He’s the guy who comes into the office talking about the great customer meeting he’s just had, the fantastic deal he’s about to do and how great it is to be in sales.

The same guy has a flipside though. He’s the guy who screams at the sales coordinator when he’s told that he can’t give a bigger discount. He’s the guy who embarrasses himself in meetings due to unpreparedness. He’s the guy who doesn’t follow up the delivery and meet the customer with respect. He’s the guy who only prospects and keeps things in order when his job is threatened.

His life is actually pretty miserable.

All the joy he gets from the wins he trumpets is drastically reduced by the ulcer-inducing stress that he generates.

How to achieve negative enjoyment – removing stressors

Simple, really. Make lots of small improvements in your day-to-day operations. It’s amazing how much better you feel, not because of a great win, but because of the absence of antagonistic factors:

  • Make that one extra call to a prospect before leaving the office.
  • Double check the proposal before it goes out.
  • Agree on discounts with your manager and get approval _before_ offering it to the client.
  • Do all the administrative stuff before the end of each day.
  • Never promise something if you aren’t prepared to do everything in your power to deliver it.

An ex colleague of mine once said that “you don’t get stressed by the things you do, but by the things you haven’t done”.

Ever since then, as I’ve looked at a set of apparently boring administrative tasks, I’ve thought of them as ways to boost my enjoyment by removing them.

If you think back to when you were younger, it’s the same mechanism. You came home from school and you had to do your homework before you got to go out and play. If you managed to sneak out to play before homework, it was never as enjoyable as you had “HOMEWORK” hanging over you until you got in.

(Then you had a screaming match with your parents and then you spent twice as long doing your homework half as well because you were angry).

Think about it. How much enjoyment can you unlock by removing stress?

Why would you NOT remove as much stress as possible?

Next time I’ll be writing about enjoying the journey.

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