Guest post by Jamie Shanks, managing partner, Sales for Life.

I’m writing this blog from the Azul Sensatori resort in Cancun, Mexico. I’m having cognitive relaxation to the point that I woke myself up from a nap as I was dreaming about not thinking about anything. That’s when you know your brain has shut down.

It took my brain about 48 hours before I cracked open the laptop and started checking emails and writing blogs during “siesta time”.

This blog is for the workaholic sales “quota crusher”, the sales professional that lives to sell.  If you’re reading this as a sales rep, sales leader or business owner, take my advice. Follow the Bill Gates method and shut your brain down at the end of a quarter or year.  Bill Gates has been known to take a “Think Week” off each year to reflect on his business.  No distractions.  The result was the amazing gifts that Microsoft gave us for 25 years.

Why should you do this?

Ten years ago, a late friend of mine, Jeff Wylie, was writing his PH.D thesis on Blackberry, and the cognitive destruction it was having on innovation.  At the time, we all rolled our eyes and thought he was silly (as we were only 25 years old, and just wanted another beer).

Well, ten years later, with the integration of mobile and social into our world, his thesis couldn’t be more accurate!  As a business owner, I can tell you that when I’m working Monday to Friday, I’m so enthralled with my day-to-day, that I can’t think any further than my next task.  It’s not until Saturday afternoon at the cottage that my brain has sub-consciously shut down and presents brilliant ideas.

As I mentioned about Mexico, the first 48 hours I was brain dead, but afterwards, the ideas started flowing in! I’ve been a business owner for so long, that I know the flow of ideas will always follow after the first 48 hours.  I’m now better prepared for it.  I have a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 with pen, and I can take notes instantly when I have a thought.  I record these thoughts into Evernote.

How does this apply to sales?

Over the last 5 years, these subconscious ideas have:

  1. Helped tackle stuck accounts
  2. Generated new prospecting methods
  3. Created innovative ways to bring together all the decision-makers on a deal
  4. Fought through competitor objections

Heck, many parts of our social selling curriculum came from these moments.  These are some of the most important parts to my business!

Here’s what I’ve learned.  The answers are always there.  They are just buried behind 1,000 emails, phone calls, social posts and meetings.  Escape this (yes, even social selling) for a brief period, and let your mind go.  You’ll be in the shower, or swimming, or eating a great meal, and then pow!  The eureka moment will come!