The most common thing you hear in sales is “no.” Sure, it can be sugar-coated and turned into a more palatable, more polite message. However, at the end of the day, it’s all the same thing: rejection. Salespeople, whatever field they’re active in, must all be equipped to handle rejection regularly and in all its forms. The greatest lack in sales training is often the avoidance of any discussion of this (beyond simple questions during the interview), as well as the absence of any kind of tools to deal with it. While I’m no expert, I have been on the receiving end of this for some time, and thus I’d like to provide my humble two cents on how to avoid taking rejection personally.
I discovered stoicism some five years ago now in the form of the Meditations by Marcus Aurelius. Admittedly, our life situations aren’t that similar: he was an emperor, I’m a salesman. He ruled over the vast dominions of the Roman empire, I rule over my small patch; he waged massive military campaigns and won wars, I wage marketing campaigns and win deals. Yet it was through his journal that I was first introduced to the philosophy of Stoicism, and to their universal applicability. I’ve read others since, most interestingly Epictetus, who was a slave who freed himself. He turned to teaching Stoic thought, and wrote his Handbook, which is a very useful, short work I always carry with me. The reason I’m telling you this is because Stoicism is immediately applicable to a sales career, and can mean the difference between happiness and despair during that time.
Sales is an exciting and intense job, but it can also be draining and challenging. It’s very easy to lose your motivation when your pipe looks empty and the economy is stagnating, and it’s not that easy to get it back again. Even when things are going well, motivation can be hard to come by.
Salespeople are often expected to be constantly excited and positive, and this can wear you down with time. Add to this the pressures you’re constantly under, and you have a potent motivational crisis waiting to happen. Since there is only so much your manager can do, it’s important to become familiar with self-motivational tactics. Here I’ll show you a few ways you can stay motivated in sales and avoid that crisis.
Sales can be a stressful profession. As a salesperson, you constantly have to be aware of a multitude of things, and you have to be on top of them. You are constantly beholden to others, whether it’s your manager, the management chain, marketing, support, or your prospects. And you’re dependent on them to do your own work. In my opinion, the stress comes from precisely this dependence. This can lead to a drastic loss of motivation, since you don’t feel like the master of your own destiny. The key to liberating yourself is to focus on what’s in your power. Let me show you what I mean.
It’s not always easy to stay motivated and positive. Things will go wrong, and life will sometimes take strange turns. But it goes on, and we sometimes have trouble bearing the burden. This is doubly true in sales: plans don’t pan out, prospects disappear, and sales you’ve been pouring your heart and soul into evaporate into the vacuum. So what do you do in that kind of situation? Seek a little motivation of course! Here are my best ways to improve sales motivation with some advice thrown in. I hope they help you over the hump and get you where you want to go.