Selling is the best profession in the world – it’s why we do it. But even for the most seasoned sales pro there are times when things get stressful, dispiriting, even overwhelming. These are the times when we need to dig deepest, mine our inner strength and motivate ourselves to get 'back in the zone'.
Of course, this is easier said than done.
There are a million motivational quotations out there and you’ve probably read them all twice over – especially if you use social media. But what do they amount to? On the surface they make sense but on further inspection they’re nothing more than hollow sentiments. They’re not going to turn a bad day into a great week so what will?
I could make a list of self-motivational hints and tips but I won’t because the kind of self-motivation I’m talking about – the winning formula – doesn’t come in list form. It’s a story borne out of experience.
Being a sales commando
I didn’t start out selling. What I wanted to be as a late teen was a Royal Commando. I enrolled and failed, twice through injury. But on the third time I passed and there was no better feeling in the world than putting on my green beret. The mental and physical pain I had endured to reach that achievement faded into the background.
Yes, I was vaguely aware I was on the brink of exhaustion after 33 weeks of the most grueling endurance tests and virtually no sleep but that didn’t matter. I had achieved my dream.
Here’s the thing. As a commando you do what you do because you want to do it, not because you’re made to. The reason I pushed myself way beyond the stage where most people give up was down to sheer passion, ambition and depth of emotion.
I’ve applied those principles to my selling and sales training careers and they work. It’s a way of thinking that embodies self-motivation and it’s a way of thinking you can adopt too.
Find your lost love
When we’re at our lowest ebb, when we’re tired and exhausted, when we feel that the world is against us we need to remind ourselves of why we do what we do. We need to remind ourselves that we love selling and that we entered a sales career for all of the opposite reasons that have made us feel temporarily negative.
So, rather than stressful, dispirited and overwhelming, think of the elation of making a successful sale, the rewards and the results. Love is passion and if you’ve lost the passion don’t worry, it’s still there…you’ve just got to find it again.
How do you do that? Don’t make silly lists or outrageous promises and don’t tie yourself down to impossible deadlines. The passion you lost is there. Find it again – take a break, do something completely different. Think about why you love what you do. Break large projects into manageable chunks.
Do whatever it takes to rediscover your love for what you do and never be afraid of doing something that’s “outside of the box” to get back on track.
Being at the top of your selling game demands 100% commitment and that’s what you’ve always given. The problem is that you feel you’re not giving it right now. There’s a block somewhere that is stopping you, a block that is compromising your ability to be a sales tour-de-force.
When this happens (not if) I’m reminded of the rigours of Royal Commando training where there is a known tendency for a percentage of the recruits to give up. This may seem a little extreme but it applies to us in sales.
The fact is, every day is a new day. For the recruits who wanted to stop maybe some of them dwelt too long on the current day and didn’t see hope in the next. I always felt 100% positive about the next day and that, as self-motivated sales pros, is how we should think.
It’s an uncompromising approach to life, yes, but in terms of self-motivation the ability to write one day off and bounce back stronger the next is an ability we all have within us. It’s a mind over matter thing and we can all do it!
There is no real single conclusion for us all. Our downtimes may be family related, tiredness, pressure, an incalcitrant client – a million things and more. But I believe, as a sales commando who’s having a down time, you have it in you to muster the courage to analyse, re-group and step above your current situation.
It’s a battle field out there. May victory be yours!
By Doug Tucker, Managing Director of Sales Commando, an international sales training organisation. His motto is 'Have fun. Make money' and you can too! More sales techniques, advice and tips can be found in Doug Tucker’s book ‘Sales Commando, Unleash Your Potential’. The book gets straight to the heart of issues, complexities and opportunities and encourages and accelerates personal growth and sales success.