Paul throws down the gauntlet and challenges you to completely unplug on vacation.
Biggest challenge: leave your laptop and work phone at home. WHAAAT!
If you are not able to take a vacation because you fear losing an opportunity or missing a sale, you need to find a better way to manage your customers.
Spend a week preparing for your vacation. Prep your team and prep your customers.
Take your vacation when your best customers take their vacations.
Face it. You’re not as important at work as you think you are.
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And most importantly…make it a big day.
How can I unplug on vacation?
(Transcribed from podcast)
Well, on today’s episode, we’re going to tackle a topic that is very timely. That was a lot of T’s right there in that opening. Anyway, how can I completely unplug on vacation?
You know, we’re all told, “Hey, take your vacation. Take some time to yourself.” But how can we do it in a way that doesn’t stress us out, that doesn’t leave us anxious? We’re going to talk about that on today’s show: How can I unplug on vacation?
It’s also very fitting because, at the launch of this episode, I will actually be traveling around the Southwestern tip of Ireland with 12 of my college and high school buddies playing some of the world’s best golf. You know that I’m a fanatic golfer, so, when this episode launches, I will be unplugged myself. So I look forward to hearing your comments when I get back from that trip. But let’s talk about how to unplug and how to make it happen.
Now, before we get into that, just a reminder, in Selling Through Tough Times, we talk about the benefits of unplugging—what it can do to help reduce stress, to reduce cortisol, to refresh you, to get you motivated to approach the challenges you face. This is a big part of mentally preparing to sell in tough times. So pick up your copy of Selling Through Tough Times—available on Amazon, wherever you get your books.
So I’m going to offer you five tips—five tips to help you unplug for your next vacation.
Number one (and this is going to be the biggest challenge for most of you listening), leave your laptop and your phone at home. Full stop. Leave it at home. Leave your work phone and your laptop at home. It’s important to remove what’s causing you stress on your vacation. And truthfully, it’s amazing how one text message from a customer, one email that you comb through, one phone call can completely derail your vacation mindset. Even if you lose an order, it’s worth it because you need to completely unplug.
And I’ve heard every excuse in the world: “Well, my customers need to get a hold of me.” “You know what? If I don’t have my phone with me, man, I may lose this piece of business.” Or “My boss, if he needs to get a hold of me or she needs to get a hold of me, I’ve got to…” Bull! Completely unplug. It is your vacation. You’ve earned the right. And here is the hard truth. If you are not able to take a vacation because of fear of losing an order, or because you’re afraid of ticking off your customer, or that you might miss out on an opportunity, you need to reshape your business. You need to find a better way to manage your customers. Keep that in mind. That’s the hard truth: you should be able to unplug completely.
So I know that that may be unsettling for you, to leave that laptop. But think about this. If you get so stressed out even at the thought of leaving your phone and laptop at home, if you’re that addicted to it, you need to address that. That’s no way to go through life. So, completely unplug. Try it. Give it a shot. By the way, the people that you’re going to spend your vacation with—your family, your friends, your spouse, your significant other, your parents, whoever it may be—the people you love the most in this world deserve 100% of your attention on that vacation. Keep that in mind. So leave it at home.
Number two: to help you with this theme of leaving it at home, spend a week preparing. Spend a week preparing up to your vacation. So, you’re going to need to be a little more proactive. If you’re leaving town next week, spend Monday through Friday—put in a couple extra hours each day to prepare your customers. Talk to your top customers, your top opportunities that you’re working on. Make them aware that you’re going to be out of town for five days. That’s pretty easy. Everyone gets that. Everyone takes vacation. They know you’re not going to be available. So address questions. Address any of their concerns ahead of time. Prepare their orders. Put together information that they could potentially need while you’re on vacation. Just be proactive. Begin your preparation a week ahead of time. I know my wife will actually—. She will start packing for a vacation a week in advance. You need to pack the information for your customers a week in advance. So spend a week preparing.
Tip number three, and this, this is just a logistical tip. Take your vacation when your customers take vacation. July is a big vacation month. Think about it. You know, for example, we do a family trip over the 4th of July weekend, which is a holiday weekend here in the U.S, here in the States. It’s a holiday week and a lot of people are off work already. I’ve noticed when I come back from a vacation unplugged during that week, I have very few pertinent emails, just a couple of voicemails. It’s very quiet. Take your vacation when your best customers take their vacation.
Now, tip number four. I know everyone only has a limited amount of vacation days per year. What’s interesting is that, you know, usually the higher you get up within an organization, the longer you’ve been there, the more vacation you have, you tend to take less. You’re working harder. I realize you have a limited amount of vacation, but I would encourage you to take a day off before you go on your actual trip. And here’s why. It takes a little bit of time to get in vacation mode. It takes time to get into vacation mode. For me, it definitely takes at least a couple days before I can completely relax. You don’t want to spend your actual vacation trying to get ready for vacation. If you can, take a day before you are traveling. So if you’re leaving on a Saturday, take that Friday off. Mentally decompress, unplug still. And then by the time Saturday rolls around, you’re that much closer to being in vacation mode. It’s going to add to the enjoyment of your overall vacation. So, take a day off before your vacation. That is key.
Now tip number five—and this one is critical. Prep your team. Prep your team before you go on vacation. Reach out to two or three people in your office. Maybe it’s your sales manager. Maybe it’s a customer support person. Maybe it’s a technical person, whoever it may be. Prepare them. Let them know if you have a couple of potential issues that could come up. In fact, relay their contact information to your customers in the event that they need something while you are gone. The more preparation you put in, the less stress you’re going to feel. And here’s the key: when you get back from vacation, you’re going to realize that you’re not nearly as important as you thought you were. It’s so true. We’ve got to remember that if an issue comes up, if something happens, it’s going to get taken care of. The world will continue to spin on its axis when you get back from vacation. Keep that in mind.
And here’s another thought. If you’re really freaked out about leaving your phone at home or not checking your email, here’s what I would encourage you to do. Reach out to a colleague—maybe it could be a fellow salesperson, it could be your sales manager—and give them your phone. Give them your phone. Make sure it’s someone you trust first of all. Give them your phone.
One of the greatest sales leaders I ever worked for, geez, this was well over 15 years ago. I was getting ready to head out on my honeymoon. Me and Lauren were headed to Hawaii for our honeymoon. And before I left, he said, “Okay, give me your phone.” I said, “What do you mean? I need it.” He goes, “No, you don’t. We’ll take care of it. Give me your phone.” And so I gave him my phone. It was one of the best vacations I’ve ever had in my life. Lauren and I had a blast, and work was the furthest thing on my mind.
You need this. You need to unplug. You have earned the right to do it. So, enjoy that vacation. Truly enjoy it. Unplug—leave it at home, leave it with a colleague, whatever you need to do. Take these tips to help you make it the best vacation yet.
Make it a big day.