Vacation (va-ca-shun). Noun. To not work for a while. To shut down and reintroduce yourself to family members known as “children” in places like DisneyWorld (see also “Moneysuck”).
20 years ago, if you had told me I’d be doing a sales tip called, “How to go on vacation” I’d laugh in your face. But sooner or later, all of us need to take a break and unless you’re going to the Congo, technology and therefore access to email will follow you. So, here are a few thoughts to help you get the most of your downtime:
- Prepare the outside— Make certain that your customers are aware that you are leaving and give them specific instructions on what to do in your absence. Spend some time and care on this step as it will give you peace of mind and allow you to shut down.
- Prepare the inside— Sit with your replacement(s) and make certain to communicate information on orders and people. Do everything you can, even going so far as to write things down, so that you are not sitting on some beach worrying about a client.
- Prepare the prospects— With the accounts you are pursuing, this is a chance to differentiate yourself and show the human side of prospecting. Leave a message akin to, “I’ll be on vacation until the 15th, so my voice will be absent when you play back your messages. You will be okay. Just breathe into a bag or something until I return.”
- Give yourself two days to calm down— Locomotives don’t stop on a dime. Neither do cruise ships. Neither do you. Go on vacation with the understanding that it will take you a little time to become human again. This is also good information to share with your significant other.
- Don’t make the mistake that I made in Aruba by reading business books. I got so motivated, I couldn’t wait to get home!
- If you must, check voicemail once a day at 3:00 PM. You might also leave an outgoing voicemail message, “While I am away, I’ll be checking voicemail once a day at 3:00 PM. If you leave a message prior to that, I will return it same day. If your message comes after that time, you’ll hear from me the next day.”
- Rest! You’ve earned it.
- Upon return, you will probably find that everything went smoothly. This should tell you that any worrying you did while you are away was wasted energy. Don’t make the same mistake next time.
It’s unfortunate, but Americans (myself included) suck at vacation. A good chunk of Europe shut down for the month of August. Australians think we are nuts for working as hard as we do. More is not always better, gang. Sometimes more is just more. Work hard, play hard, rest well. Learn to go on vacation and shut down. Perhaps you will learn a valuable life lesson (although it’s truth might sting a bit):
You are not nearly as important as you think you are.