It’s not difficult to stay motivated when things are going well. If you’re closing deals left and right, and expecting a healthy commission check, it doesn’t take much effort to pick up the phone and start dialing, and it doesn’t sting as much if you happen to lose a deal in a sea of others — in sales, success usually leads to more success.
On the flip side, if you’ve had a difficult month or quarter, having failed to hit quota or having a bunch of seemingly promising deals fall apart, it can be difficult to psych yourself up, especially if you worked hard only to come up short. When things aren’t going well, the idea of starting from scratch can feel daunting, and leave even the most competent salespeople feeling full of doubts, no matter their true potential.
But a bad performance need not mean a complete lack of motivation. Given the right approach, anyone with the will to try again can make another go of it, and once you get rolling, you won’t even think twice.
Here are nine realistic ways to get yourself motivated even if you’ve had a dispiriting month or quarter:
- 1. Leave the past behind
- 2. Understand that you’re in control
- 3. Take stock of your true goals
- 4. Figure out what gets you excited, then do it!
- 5. Eat, sleep, and get moving for more energy
- 6. Remember your successes
- 7. Reward yourself (when you accomplish something)
- 8. Switch things up
- 9. Think about the story you tell yourself
1. Leave the past behind
Socrates once said that “the secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” This is true for salespeople as well, and any rep who spends time dwelling on their past mistakes, rather than on focusing on what’s ahead, is not only doing themselves a disservice, they’re also wasting their time.
2. Understand that you’re in control
While there are some things that you can’t change, ultimately, whether or not you put in effort is up to you. Every day, you have to make a choice about whether or not you’ll try your best, and that choice is entirely in your hands. You could try your best and fail, but without trying your best, the chances of succeeding are almost zero.
3. Take stock of your true goals
We don’t usually work in sales because we have to, we work in sales because it’s one of the best ways to change our lives for the better. Remember this if you’re looking for motivation, and outline what the ideal outcome for you would be, whether it’s financial freedom, early retirement, or that dream home you’ve been thinking about for years. No matter your goal, try to keep it in mind whenever you’re short on motivation.
4. Figure out what gets you excited, then do it!
Different people have different techniques for raising their energy levels, so it’s important to understand what works for you, and then to do it before heading into work each day. Whether it’s listening to your favorite band, hitting the gym before work, or visualizing yourself hitting your goals, don’t ignore this part of the process — it’s important, and it works.
5. Eat, sleep, and get moving for more energy
While there are certainly people who can succeed without taking care of their physical and mental health, it’s a lot easier to get there when you prioritize a healthy lifestyle. Getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and daily exercise (even if it’s just a twenty minute walk on your lunch break) can all help boost your mood and energy levels, which can come in handy when faced with the stressful demands of a typical sales job.
6. Remember your successes
After a bad run, our minds tend to focus on our failures, reliving the sting of defeat rather than wiping the slate clean. This is why recalling past successes can be so helpful. At a minimum, it reminds us that we have the capability to succeed, and puts a damper on the negative thought spiral that can bog so many of us down. When you’re looking for motivation, remember your successes — you’ve had them before, and you’ll have them again.
7. Reward yourself (when you accomplish something)
While your reward for closing deals will be a (hopefully) large commission check, it can help to reward yourself for small successes along the way, especially if you’re demoralized and need a bit of a pick-me-up. You can do this by letting yourself order lunch from your favorite restaurant after you’ve booked a client, or by buying something you’ve been thinking about. Whatever you decide to do, don’t be afraid to reward yourself for a job well done.
8. Switch things up
Sometimes, changing things up a bit can be helpful, even if it’s something that can seem insignificant, like your drive to work. Interrupting our regular patterns can help us see things in a different way, and when what you’re doing hasn’t been working, a small tweak here or there might just be enough to “reboot” your brain and give you a fresh start. While changing up your sales process can be extremely helpful, you need not reinvent the wheel to get the benefits of novelty — sometimes, just a minor tweak will do.
9. Think about the story you tell yourself
We all have stories we tell ourselves, for better or worse, and when you’ve had a bad month, the story you’re telling yourself probably isn’t very good. This is the time to take a step back and take a look at your career with a 10,000 foot view. Careers are long, and one bad month or quarter need not define your potential. Ask yourself whether this is just a bad stretch, or whether you think a bad few months represents the totality of your sales career. It’s very unlikely that your answer will be the latter, so be mindful of how you think about your present situation. Our thoughts become actions, so make sure your thoughts are productive ones.
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