Motivation is like an old steam powered locomotive. Once it gets going, it’s easy to build upon and continue, but it takes a heck of a lot of effort to restart once it runs out.
In this space, I’d like to go over a few tricks I’ve found to keep my motivation high when the going gets tough – as it does quite often for sales professionals. These small moves can be the difference between crushing your sales quota or wallowing in a quagmire of missed opportunities.
1. Keep your successes close
Success can be measured in two ways: qualitatively and quantitatively. In sales, there’s the obvious quantitative method of tracking your success via quota. This is definitely a very strong motivator, and something every rep should be holding his or herself accountable for. For a great synopsis on how to use quantitative tracking measures effectively, see this post by Geckoboard about tracking success via KPI’s.
While quantitative success metrics are undeniably important, I’ve found an additional qualitative method that can add value as well: keeping a personal “brag book” of recorded calls where I kill it. Aside from the obvious resume-building advantages of such a file, I’ve found that listening to these personal successes when I’m struggling can be an incredibly powerful reminder to myself that I am fully capable of succeeding, even if it doesn’t feel like it in the moment.
In fact, I recently had a mentee of mine who was trying out new messaging. He just got a new inside sales client, and was having a bit of trouble ironing out the best sales approach for their prospects. One day, after our company training, things suddenly clicked for him and he booked two appointments in an afternoon. After hearing about his sudden success, I reviewed the call recordings from these sales wins. One of them was, hands down, one of the best cold prospecting calls I’ve ever heard in my life! After giving him that positive reinforcement, I suggested he save that specific call and replay it for himself routinely. He now uses that call as a “pick me up” when needed, and it’s been paying great dividends in terms of building his confidence – his numbers are better than ever.
Sales Pro Tip #1: Track both quantitative and qualitative measures of sales success, and utilize confidence-building moves like the call recordings “brag book” to keep your mental state positive.
2. Avoid the blame game
“If they don’t buy, they’re a bad prospect. If you make the sale, you’re a great salesman.”
This line is one of my favorite sayings heard around sales offices everywhere. It speaks to a “non-blaming” mentality that prevents you from getting down on yourself.
This personal anecdote helps prove the validity of the phrase, as well:
Within the same 24 hours, I had one stupendously great sales prospecting call, as well as one call that was a complete train wreck. These calls were with two different people, let’s call them Prospect A and Prospect B.
In the first call, Prospect A cut me off and shut me down literally in the first 30 seconds of the call, insulted my strategy, and flat out told me that he would never have interest in what I was calling about. Game over, right?
In the second call, Prospect B (who was a little leery at first) initially said he wasn’t currently interested in my offering (it wasn’t personal, it was more that the timing was off). But he did stay engaged in our conversation, and over the course of the call became more and more excited about what I had to share. We built great rapport and eventually he made it clear he had a desire for a follow-up call regarding my solution. On that subsequent call, the prospect complimented my efforts, and straight up said there was no chance he would have taken the time to learn more about our solution without my cold phone outreach. As it turned out, we were selling something sorely needed by his company.
While these may seem like two very different scenarios on two very different calls, they weren’t. Prospect A and Prospect B had identical titles, at the same company, with the same pain. In fact, Prospect A, who shut me down mid-sentence early in my outreach call, was later looped into additional exploratory calls between our firm and Prospect B.
So, what’s the point here? The point is that bad calls happen, and while they could be due to error on your part, always keep in mind that your failures can often be the fault of a prospect unwilling to listen and not anything remotely related to how you carried yourself as a sales professional. For some additional tips to boost your self-confidence after a bad prospecting call, I highly recommend this video by one my of favorite sales leaders, Art Sobczak.
Sales Pro Tip #2: Bad sales calls will happen, but try to avoid constantly blaming yourself – it can be a downward spiral if you operate that way. Take the good with the bad and keep pressing forward.
3. Anchors aweigh!
Anchoring is a technique I first saw in a sales training video from Jordan Belfort, of “The Wolf of Wall Street” big screen fame, and it interested me enough to give it a shot.
The idea of anchoring ties back to the very famous Pavlov experiments. If you take a trip down memory lane to Psychology 101, you’ll remember that in these experiments, Pavlov would ring a bell when dogs were fed food. He would then take away the food but keep the bell, and the dogs would still salivate as if there were food. Belfort asserts that you can do the same thing as sales pros. But in this case, you replace the “dog” with a salesperson, the “food” with a closed sale/demo/victory of some sort, and the “bell” as some external stimuli of your choosing.
Here’s how it works: Every time you close a sale, or book a tough demo, or achieve some other personal sales success, you use (or consume) something that triggers your senses. The stimuli can be anything of your choosing: gum, your favorite candy, mints, whatever you want. After picking out your stimulus/trigger, you then “set” your anchor by using it ONLY when you’ve just had a sales victory. For me, I chose Listerine pocket mists. Over the course of a month, every time I crushed it, I had a spritz of it.
The point of an anchor is to trick your body into bringing yourself back into a certain state of mind and physical response even when the initial stimuli is no longer there. After setting my anchor, I now use the Listerine when I’m going through a rough patch. After I’ve been shut down ten times in a row, botched the intro on an important call or experienced any other typical, “tough day in sales” issues, I’ll take two squirts of the Listerine. Much to my surprise, it works well. It may sound goofy, but if you are diligent about it you absolutely can “hack” your body to help mitigate sales slumps. And with my chosen anchor, I get the side benefit of fantastic breath!
Here at memoryBlue, our sales team members ring a huge gong when they hit quota or strike a big deal. Why not have your own personal anchor of success?
Sales Pro Tip #3: Trick your nervous system with a psychological anchor of sales success. Then use that anchor to boost confidence and ignite a renewed passion for victory.
Keep moving forward
Sales is a vastly rewarding profession, but it can be extremely tough in stretches. The right motivation and proper mindset can go a long way towards furthering your personal success. If you make use of these three simple tips, you’ll stay motivated or pull yourself quickly out of the low points that inevitably crop up for even the most seasoned sales pro.