TALKING SALES 55: “Work less – sell more!” – Susan Donovan

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Susan DonovanIn this 3 minute interview Susan Donovan presents another sales paradox- “Take a break in order to achieve more”.

She tells John Smibert that “if you don’t have downtime then the reality is that you’ll probably end up running at about 70% capacity through your day”. The brain designed to be full-on and then full-off – full-on, full-off- like in the gym where you do interval training.

By taking a periodical break you are more likely to apply close to 100% capacity for the remainder of your time. Vie the full interview below to get further insight and to learn how you can manage to achieve this.

Susan is a specialist in high-level micro-skills for salespeople, she’s an author and a leading sales trainer.

See more of the ‘TALKING SALES’ series here


John: Welcome back! I’ve got Susan Donovan with me again, the lady of paradox – welcome, Susan!

Susan: Thanks, John!

John: Susan – ‘paradoxes!’: The next one I want to talk about is one you wrote that I sort of sympathise with but I struggle with, and that is that we all need downtime to be more productive.

Susan: Yes.

John: Tell me more about that.

Susan: I really struggle with this one, John! [laughs] When I’m busy then the most intuitive thing is just to go harder and faster and to not take a break, or I keep telling myself I’ll take a break…

John: Plan my time properly, yes…

Susan: Yes, after the next four hours, you know… [laughs]

John: Yes, I get more productivity out of the time I’ve got available, and all that sort of stuff!

Susan: Yes, absolutely.

John: And yet, you’re saying “Stop!”

Susan: Yes. You need to have certain times in the day where you plan to do nothing and you plan to really have a mental break and put your brain in kind of an idling position, which means…

John: You’re saying every day?

Susan: Yes, yes.

John: I’m thinking about holidays!

Susan: No-no-no, it’s like every day. It’s part of your daily ritual. It’s very important that you’re going to have times in your day where you need to be at your 100% capacity, and if you don’t have downtime then the reality is that you’ll probably going to end up across your day running at about 70% capacity. Because the brain just isn’t designed to go at that 100% hour in, hour out and kind of run the ultra marathon. It’s designed—like, in the gym where you do interval training to be full-on and then full-off – full-on, full-off.

John: So the old siesta, midday siesta has something going for it, right?

Susan: Wouldn’t that be great to bring back?

John: [laughs] Oh, wouldn’t that be wonderful!

Susan: Yes. [laughs]

John: But you’re saying that we really should do something like that.

Susan: Yes, absolutely.

John: But how?

Susan: Well, I think it’s great to plan it in and to be really disciplined about it, because if you’re not going to plan it then it’s very likely not going to happen because it’s one of those very important but not urgent activities.

John: So write it into your diary every day.

Susan: Write it into your diary.

John: And then when it happens, turn everything off – phone, everything.

Susan: Yes, yes.

John: Whatever interests you – you know, listen to music and that sort of thing? Is that what you got in mind?

Susan: Absolutely. Do a crossword—yes, definitely. Something that very much recharges your battery, so everyone will have something that’s kind of different for them.

John: And the outcome is a much higher level of productivity.

Susan: That’s right.

John: I guess it’s something akin to when we have a good night’s sleep and we’re dreaming… suddenly creative ideas come out of our sleep.

Susan: Yes, very much so

John: The same sort of impact.

Susan: Yes, it’s exactly that.

John: I don’t know how I’d be able to do it, but I’m really tempted to have a go at it, and based on your guarantee: if I can get more productivity out of my day and have time off at the same time – it sounds like a great solution!

Susan: Yes, it’s a really good idea to give it a go, John!


More interviews with Susan Donovan:


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John works with companies who are striving to grow high margin revenue by retaining customers, creating value for customers and strategically acquiring new customers. He loves successful and happy sales teams who are driving positive change for their customers. He coaches sales professionals who are keen to enhance their career. He helps them develop their skills and capabilities and enhance & leverage their personal brand.

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