The Connection Between Substance Abuse and Salesmen
For years, decades, in fact, I have noticed that substance abuse seems to be more prevalent in the sales niche then it is in other departments or other lines of work. I have thought this to be very interesting. And I used to wonder why this was the case. Though I am always learning, for now, I think I have it more or less figured out.
So why do substance abuse and sales so often go hand in hand? I think I’ve narrowed it down to a few, key reasons:
- The job of sales is an incredibly stressful one. Even for the good salesmen and women, you can’t deny the fact that this is a stressful space to be involved in. A lot of responsibility rests on the shoulders of salespeople, and coincidentally it is stress that is often the biggest incentive to abuse drugs and alcohol.
- Salespeople deal with more ridicule and harassment than even telemarketers. Rejection is the name of the game in sales. Hearing this all day long can push a salesperson to abuse drugs and alcohol to sort of dull the knife edge of rejection.
- Sales people’s day to day lives are sort of a rush in itself, as being in sales can be very exciting, to say the least. Often times, salespeople will party a little too much to celebrate a good sale, and this can put them on the path to drug and alcohol abuse.
- A sales job is a constant up and down job, and salespeople are just as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol when they are up as when they are down. They might have a really bad day, and abuse substances to cope with it. They might have a really good day and then abuse substances to celebrate it. It is hard to keep this lifestyle under control and to also make sure one is being healthy about it at the same time.
How to Become a Better Salesman
In one sentence, a great first tool for how to become a better salesman is to completely stay away from drugs and alcohol. In fact, I have a strict policy in all my businesses’ sales departments because becoming a great salesperson depends so much on staying away from substances. Here is how I run my sales guys:
- If you are yourself in recovery, you are required to adhere to complete abstinence from alcohol and all potentially addictive drugs.
- If you have never struggled with addiction before, you must adhere to complete abstinence from all potentially addictive drugs and I strongly encourage you to refrain from drinking.
- How to become good at sales starts with total sobriety and abstinence, and no salesman will last for long if they partake in any degree of drug or alcohol abuse, even if it is just casual drinking on the weekends. My no-tolerance policy also involves very regular drug and alcohol testing too, on site.
Learning how to become a better salesman is a commitment to an actual lifestyle change. The best salesman I have ever had the pleasure to do business with also happened to lead very healthy lives too. They had a real commitment to self-improvement and to maintaining self-worth, and while all of their buddies were out drinking and partying on the weekends, they were at home with their families, at the gym, working overtime, studying sales techniques, reading books, working on hobbies, etc. If you want to make a commitment to how to become a better salesman then this is the route that I suggest you take.