Sales is a game played in the mind. The key to being a successful salesperson is winning the war with yourself. Every day, and every deal, the game starts in your head and plays out in person. If you’re consistently mentally prepared and motivated, it’s almost certain you’ll be successful in the long term, regardless of the ebbs and flows.
The mental side of sales is showcased in a two distinct ways.
- Game Theory and Process. You are prepared for the meeting and all of the possible objections, negotiation asks, or rebuttals the other side could possibly provide. This part is much more about going through your process than it is about mental motivation. This part should be taught to you as you work your way up into a seasoned Account Executive role. The bigger the deal, the tighter the process.
- Mental Motivation. You lose a deal at the last minute, spend a day getting told ‘no’ over 100 times, miss your goal, or even just had a tough time in your personal life and don’t want to let it spill into your work life. How do you overcome these things and most importantly, how do you stay motivated through it? This is when it’s really important to be strong willed, and able overcome anything mentally. That’s what we’ll dive into here.
This is the side of sales that is often not taught. It’s typically only learned through situations. I’m excited about Outreach’s new Beyond the Number series that is focused on helping salespeople cultivate a winning mindset. Here are my top five tips for staying motivated in sales, so that you can succeed like never before.
Create a Winning Morning Ritual. Everyday I wake up naturally at about 6:50 a.m. Since becoming more spiritual, I’ve gotten really good at waking up naturally at exactly the same time as the sunrise. I sleep with a white noise machine and turn it off as soon as I wake up. I use the Marpac Dohm or the Calm app if I’m on the road.
As soon as I wake up, I stretch on my yoga mat at the foot of my bed. I do some down dog, up dog, and plank, and a some back stretches. If I’m on the road, I make do with the space I’m given.
Then I make my bed, even if I’m at a hotel. It starts the day with a visible good habit and easy win. I also like to have 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up for dietary purposes through a protein shake. If I’m on the road, it can be scrambled eggs. I also make sure to have a cup of SUTRA, which is a healthy coffee alternative that I can drink anywhere as long as I have hot water (Gold is my favorite). This has replaced caffeine for me and is full of superfoods to give me a natural boost.
If I do these things, I started my day with a few easy wins. But most importantly, I’m building momentum! Make it easy for you to wire your brain to start your day off winning.
Engage in a Weekly Gratitude, Growth and Stress Self-Reflection Exercise. The first thing I do every week on Monday morning is write a gratitude list. This list helps remind me what’s important, how good I have it, and to keeps me grounded. If you’re reading this, life is probably pretty good. You have access to the internet, a fully functioning brain, clean water, food, and shelter. That’s incredible. You won the lottery in life to have those things. Start your week realizing that and you’re well on your way to a good week.
I started doing this exercise the first week of last year and have done it every week since. It’s pretty incredible how it transforms your mentality when you start your week with an understanding that life is pretty good.
Most people stop at Gratitude, but I’ve taken my approach a little further. My list has evolved to include things I’m stressed out about, and how I grew the week before. I added the other two categories because it was interesting to see how stupid many of the things I was stressed about were. Writing them down took the emotion out of it and made me realize how short term that stress would be. The situation would be resolved soon one way or another and life would go on.
The growth list was cool too. I didn’t realize how much I accomplished week after week until I started tracking these smaller wins. Things like deals we closed, or connections I made, or small goals I hit, or things I learned. Self reflection is really essential to learning, growing, and eventually reaching a place where you can sit and satisfyingly say. “I’ve had a successful career/life.”
Get in Power Pose mode. I’ve been doing this one since I started at Udemy. I’m not sure where I got the idea for the Victory Pose, but a friend of mine, Farlan Dowell, previously VP Sales at RainforestQA, told me about the Superman Pose.
A smile paired with a Victory or Superman pose can go a long way in changing your mentality before a set of calls, or after a ‘no’ from a promising prospect. When you need it, stand up and put your hands on your hips like Superman, smile, and stick out your chest. Google Superman’s pose if you need to see it. Another good pose is the Victory pose, with your arms up in the air, smiling and looking up at the sky/ceiling.
These have a natural way of stimulating your mind to think like you won something. It has the power to put you back on top, ready for the next challenge staying motivated in sales. It’s also funny to watch your team do it in the office or call rooms.
Keep a Carrot On a Stick. I like to always have something I’m looking forward to. Maybe it’s a big trip I have planned with my family or traveling to a remote destination. Recently, it was to make enough to go to the Maldives, so I kept a picture of the reefs up on my home screen. Other times it will be something big that I’m saving for, like a house.
In any tough times, it’s great to remember what you’re pushing for. I don’t have kids right now, so my carrots are usually about affording a lifestyle with freedom and nice trips and dinners (I like travel and food). If I had a wife and kids, I’m sure it would have a lot to do with them. Many might have goals of taking nice trips, sending your kids to good schools, pay all bills without stressing, etc.
Having a carrot on a stick is another way to keep you grounded in your reason to keep going. Keep these visible, whether it be a screensaver, post-it note, picture on your desk, or something else altogether.
Find Your Release. Everyone absolutely needs a release. A release is anything that allows you to get out of your head and blow off steam. The stronger the release, the better you’ll be when you come back out of it and into your sales mind. There needs to be a work life balance or you will be over leveraged in every way.
For me, it varies greatly. My release can be anything from reading a good book or going to the movies, to going to the gym or going to a party. It’s completely necessary to unplug and reset. Make sure you’re taking the down time needed to stay on top without burning out.
My exercise of choice recently has been either a lift at the gym or a spin class. I like Flywheel because I’m competitive and it keeps score. I mainly compete with my own personal best, since I’m not a pro cyclist.
I like reading business books, but to unplug and still learn I enjoy a wide type of literature. People probably assume I read non-stop sales books, but the truth is, I’ve only read one sales book in my whole career: The Greatest Salesman in the World, by Og Mandino. Instead, I draw inspiration from other genres. I enjoy biographies and autobiographies or non-fiction books written about real-life situations. They’re entertaining and educational. A recent favorite was American Kingpin by Nick Bilton, the story behind the online drug marketplace Silk Road. I have also enjoyed the autobiographies and biographies Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs, and Phil Knight.
I’m not a huge fan of Harry Potter type books, but my favorite stories are based on a true story, such as Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts and Marching Powder by Adrian Mulraney and Rusty Young.
There you have it; my five tips for staying motivated in sales. Sales is a tough job, but when done right, it can shape you like no other role. Getting the most out of yourself without burning out is the key. These are the things I’ve learned not only from a career in sales, but also a career as an entrepreneur.
I spent years learning these things the hard way, so that I can help people learn it the easy way, and each one is something you can start doing today. So don’t make excuses, and don’t risk burning out. Find your ways to stay motivated is sales, and become unstoppable.
What is your morning ritual? How do you stay motivated? Let me know in the comments.
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