|     3 min read

6 Ways Top Reps Stay Positive in the Face of Rejection and Overwhelming Odds

Diego Pineda

Nov 22, 2022

Unopened emails, rejections, recessions, and mercurial customers. It’s no wonder so many people cycle out of sales after just a year or two. The average sales rep has to put up with quite a lot on their path to glory, and oftentimes the mental game is tougher than the actual work — if you don’t believe you’ll succeed, then it’s unlikely you ever will. 

But there are reps who seem to be completely unfazed (at least externally) by the rollercoaster ride, and they’re able to stay focused and positive despite dealing with the very same negativity that every other rep faces. What is it about these top performers that allow them to take the negativity head-on, and is it something that other reps can emulate on their journey to sales success? 

The truth is that anyone can train themselves to stay positive in the face of negativity, it just takes some practice, effort, and a shift in mindset. So if you want to get through uncertainty without letting it get you down, try doing the following six things: 

1. They focus on what they can control

There’s so much going on, both in our workplaces and out in the world. It can be overwhelming to think about the myriad of things that we’re all dealing with and the doom and gloom that can be brought on by things we can’t control.

This is why it’s so important to focus on what you can control: your effort, your activity, your attitude, and to make sure you’re not wasting too much time worrying about things that you can’t change. Turn off the news, limit social media, and focus on your activity. 

2. They have a plan (and follow it) 

Without a plan, you’re basically just hoping for things to work themselves out. And without a plan, you’ll be at the mercy of whatever happens to you daily, ceding your control to greater forces that (often) come with quite a bit of negativity.

Instead, make a plan, and do your best to follow it. Reverse engineer your goals, breaking them down into monthly, weekly, and daily activities. Will things change? Of course. But if you modify your plan and continue working on it, you’ll likely still come ahead. 

3. They consider their successes 

We tend to be extremely hard on ourselves, focusing on things that have gone wrong, and on our failures, rather than the things we’ve done correctly. Positive sales reps, however, keep their wins in mind, especially when things aren’t going according to plan.

Remembering the times we closed a difficult deal, or had some other success that didn’t come easy reminds us that we’re capable of doing difficult things, and we’re capable of winning. And if you believe you’re capable, you won’t let setbacks slow you down. 

4. They take care of their health

While stressful situations tend to push us toward instant gratification, if you want to increase your chances of staying positive day in and day out, you need to take care of your health, both mentally and physically.

This means getting enough rest, eating healthier meals, limiting the consumption of too much negative media, and using your vacation days to recharge your batteries. Yes, it does take effort to keep yourself healthy, but it’s a lot more costly to go in the other direction, no matter what. 

5. They surround themselves with positive people 

If the only people you talk to have a negative outlook, then it’s a lot more likely they’ll drag you down, rather than you lifting them up. This is why it’s so important to stay away from negative people in the workplace, since some people have a problem for every solution.

Instead, make sure you surround yourself with people who believe in, and support, your dreams, since achieving them will take a long time, require a lot of work, and come with some very long, unpleasant days.

This doesn’t mean you can’t expose yourself to all points of view, but when it comes to the people you talk to throughout the day, make sure they’re people who are getting you closer to your goals, not further away from them. 

6. They remind themselves of their “why” 

At the end of the day, there needs to be a reason why you’re willing to put up with the negativity, rejection, and seemingly insurmountable challenges that come with a successful sales career. Everybody’s “why” will be different, whether it’s early retirement, a better life for your family, a chip on your shoulder, or just the thrill of the chase.

But no matter what it is, you not only need a “why,” but you also need to remember it, especially on difficult days. Tying your reasons for doing what you’re doing to your activity can lift you up, keep you motivated, and brighten your mood. And in the challenging world of sales, you need all the positivity you can get, especially if you want to win big. 

Finally, a sales process that gives you the freedom to sell.

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Diego Pineda

Diego Pineda is the author of two novels, 9 non-fiction books, and hundreds of articles and blogs as a science writer, a business writer, and a sales and marketing writer. He's passionate about thought leadership and his latest book is "The Solo Author: How Solopreneurs Earn Money and Authority with a Book Ecosystem."