You invest countless hours and other resources to win the business. For a while, it looks promising. You build a trusting relationship with the primary decision maker and have demonstrated how your offering perfectly fits their need. The prospect starts using phrases like “When we work together…” and “You will be responsible for…” and “We really need you…” You now consider the decision maker to be a friend.
Then suddenly your main contact starts being vague and evasive and is slow in returning calls. Two weeks later, the decision maker, your new “buddy,” sheepishly tells you they chose a different provider. It makes no sense to you that the other company was chosen, because they don’t provide the things that the prospective client originally told you were the biggest priorities. You feel frustrated and misled. Worse yet, you were counting on that business and it vanished.
You’re incredulous and wonder, “Why did they lie to me?”
If this hasn’t happened to you, consider yourself lucky and know that it will probably happen in the future. Working in sales can be very frustrating. One of the most important skills a sales practitioner can possess is the ability to bounce back when life punches you in the gut.
Given all the pressure in this business, here are a few ideas to help you handle stress, avoid burnout and stay motivated:
- To cope with the inevitable rejection in a sales career, concentrate on your victories. Celebrate each one of them in your own way. Some people will tell you that if you simply expect success, you don’t need to celebrate victories. I disagree. Appreciate everything.
- Keep in mind that selling is a noble profession. Without sales activity, the wheels of commerce grind to a halt. Your work creates jobs and feeds families. Sales is the lifeblood of your company. Without you and your colleagues, there would be no company.
- Remember that character is king. Focus on people – the hopes and dreams of the clients you serve. Draw inspiration and motivation from the people who surround you. When you remember that the things you sell have real impacts on real people, it helps you ride through the rough patches.
- Embrace the competitive side of sales. Sales is game. Try to accumulate little (and sometimes big) victories each day. Playing to win removes the drudgery of day-to-day work.
- Take pride in your resilience. It feels good once you have successfully persevered through difficult times. Remember that feeling anytime you feel hopelessness and then do what it takes to feel that way again.
- Make it fun. Those who don’t ﬁnd ways to enjoy their work typically don’t survive long in a brutally competitive industry. Find the joyful and positive aspects of your work and focus on them.
- Tell the truth even when it hurts. Integrity leads to success. You will be rewarded with high levels of client retention.
- And finally, as you sell today, imagine what your legacy will be years down the road. Your work in sales literally shapes the future. I’d say that’s rather significant.