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What Marketing and Sales Can Teach Us About Self-Care

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The golden rule says to treat others as you would treat yourself. However, when we can often be so unbelievably cruel to ourselves, this can set an unsettling precedent. Instead, perhaps we should treat ourselves as we would treat others and look at ourselves with kindness and compassion. The same kindness and compassion that sales and marketing professionals are masters of executing. We can use this knowledge to improve our self-care.

Self-care like a salesperson

A zealous commitment to serving the customer

An often tired cliché of salespeople is that they will try to close the deal at any cost. That may have been true for 80s and 90s salesmen. These days, masterful salespeople care much less about making the sale and much more about serving their future clients. This is because this unwavering commitment to service will lead to increased trust. That trust can lead to sales down the road or to referrals from the person they lost the deal with. In today’s social media economy, reputation is everything, and they will do anything to make themselves look good.

When approaching self-care, we can learn from this by having an unwavering commitment to serving our aspirations and goals. We need to stop thinking about how much of a failure we are, how we didn’t do this or that. What we should instead think about how we can do and say the things that will motivate and inspire us. Toward thinking about how we can serve ourselves rather than what we think other people assume we should be.

Sell based on customer need and budget, not your income goal

As a salesman selling websites for Objektiv Digital, I try to sell my customers on a comprehensive website support package. However, some just want a landing page that will never need to be updated for two years or more. I’m not going to try to sell them on the support package. I am instead going to serve their needs right now. This is because I know that when their business starts to grow, they will want and need more. I know that inevitably, they will eventually need that comprehensive maintenance and support package.

Likewise, if you need to lose 40 pounds in order to be below the “obese” threshold – yet struggle to lose even five pounds, a bit of pragmatism is needed. As a salesperson, you’re trying to sell yourself on the 40-pound package. However, all you can realistically afford to effectively execute is the 10-pound package. Sell yourself on what is realistic to where you’re at in your weight-loss business. Start with 10 pounds, and expand your goal from there. Otherwise, you may lose out on the business entirely, aka not lose any weight at all.

The presumptive close

One of the best mental tricks a salesperson can play on their own brains is assuming that the deal is already sealed. If you assume your customer has already decided that they are going to buy with you, helping your customer becomes a lot easier. Instead of approaching the deal like you have to convince them to choose you, you are instead focused on helping them get a package or solution that best fits their needs.

We can apply the presumptive close to ourselves and our self-care by presuming that we are already going to do the thing we’re trying to do. For example, going to the gym. If we tell ourselves, our brain, that the decision has already been made that we are going to the gym at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, we remove any other options for ourselves for that time of that day in the week. Sure, life happens and maybe you need to pick up your kid from detention instead.

All the salesperson would do in that situation is simply say, “No worries, now wasn’t a good time. I’ll follow up next week.” This leads us to our next sales tactic.

Follow up is key

Any half-competent salesperson will tell you that the majority of their sales came from an unceasing commitment to follow-up. In stock market investing, they say time in the market always beats timing in the market. The opposite is true for sales. Timing is everything. That is why follow-up is so critical. Landing the sale can often be as simple as being the last person the buyer heard from. It sounds messed up, but amazingly, it’s true.

You can apply this to your self-care by teaming up with an accountability buddy that will follow up with you to ensure you are taking the actions you need to meet your self-care goals. Whether it be a daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or some other kind of interval. Follow-up is everything when it comes to sales, and for many, it can be everything when it comes to self-care.

Mindset is everything

As much as I cringe at the thought of all the mindless cheerleading of Tony Robbins seminars, there is an inalienable truth to the message: mindset is everything. If you start acting like a winner, your brain will start forming connections in your brain to perform actions that winners take.

Likewise, if you start saying that you are an athletic, diet-conscious, happy and healthy self-care expert, your brain will start finding ways to manifest yourself as that person. You can get as much or as little as you want with metaphysical stuff. The reality is, “fake it ’til you make it” isn’t just a saying, it’s an objective truth that cannot be denied.

Self-care like a marketer

Removing as many steps as possible

As a digital marketer specializing in web design, it is my job to reduce as much friction as possible. Make things extremely clear and simple to understand and navigate. To remove as many steps as possible in order to get a customer from clicking an ad to clicking that “BUY” button.

You can do this in your own life by figuring out how to remove as many steps as possible from your own self-care routine. For me, I have a big gaping space in my office. One day, I decided to fill that space with a yoga mat. Now, instead of sitting at my desk thinking about how I should be doing exercise, all I have to do is stand up, take of my shoes and pants, and start my yoga routine.

By doing this, I removed the following steps:

  1. Thinking about what I should do to exercise — with the yoga mat laid out, the answer is easy: do yoga
  2. Finding a yoga studio: my studio is right here, right now
  3. Finding and unrolling a yoga mat: it’s already laid out, all I have to do is take off my shoes and pants

In my blog post about lack of motivation, I also talk about reducing the steps needed to get your body moving for weightlifting.

Reward good behavior with something “free” – using pragmatism in self-care

Whenever you visit an eCommerce website, you’ll most often see something like, “Sign up to our newsletter and get 10% off your next order!” They do this so that even if you’re not ready to buy now, they can send you promotional emails to catch you at that fleeting moment when you are ready to buy. You signing up for that newsletter is the “good behavior.” Getting a 10% discount is your reward.

Personally, I am good at managing my weight. However, in order to reduce my schizophrenia symptoms, I need elevated testosterone levels. I can accomplish this by lifting weights. At the same time, wheat is not good for me, but I love to eat it. So, when after lift weights (good behavior), I decided to have a cheeseburger with a tasty brioche bun, or maybe some waffles with whip cream and maple syrup — a reward for my good behavior.

A version of this story originally appeared on

Photo credit: Chinnapong/Getty Images

Originally published: May 11, 2021
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