Motivation in sales

Let’s talk about a topic that doesn’t get talked about much in detail: Motivation in sales. 

If you google the word “motivation” along with “sales”, you get hundreds of articles and videos designed to fire you up. Hustle, grind, relentless mindset are some of the words that come up with repetition. I used to consume content like this only a daily basis, watch videos like the one below while doing outbound sales on repeat.

Instantly you feel pumped after watching motivational videos. The issue with these videos and content just like this is that it gives you an adrenaline rush. But the “high” does not last very long. 

It took me quite some time to figure out that watching videos or listening to Gary Vee and getting motivated was not sustainable. Something needed to be changed.

The more you consume this type of content, the more reliant you are on it to get motivated, to keep going. Feeling down or lacking motivation? If a video or an article helps you get your mojo back, that’s great. 

It’s when it becomes a habit, your “daily fix” to get motivation is when it starts to metastasize into a problem. No offense, there isn’t anything inherently wrong with these type of videos or articles. It’s just they aren’t an actual solution to solving any motivation slumps you might be going through. 

Almost always, lacking motivation means there are underlining problems that need to be dealt with. Pushing them under the rug and putting the Gary Vee video band-aid on it is probably not the right way to go.

Sales is all about consistency and repetitiveness. 

Back to back qualification calls, demos, same email follow-ups, day in day out. Targets that need to be hit come end of the month or quarter. Day one of the new month, rinse and repeat. 

It can get exhausting. Hell, it can get aggravating at times, anxiety creeps in if you’re not hitting your targets if the prospect goes MIA, a deal goes silent. It takes a very particular mindset to succeed in sales. But even the best can fall victim to just not having the motivation or drive to continue. 

The thing is, motivation comes from within. Everybody goes through dry patches from athletes to filmstars to CEOs of billion-dollar companies to salespeople. You start to question every action you take, every email you write to every slack message you receive. 

Critique becomes your enemy and you become pessimistic. Result? Your productivity drops. And the more it drops, the crappier you feel, the crappier you feel, the less motivated you are. The vicious cycle continues without an end in sight. 

Bottomline is that you, yourself have to find your WHY. What was the reason you started, where do you want to get to? And this holds true not only for sales but for any other profession. In order to get to your why, well, you have to be brutally honest with yourself. 

Finding motivation in sales can be elusive. I will share some of the things that helped me over the course of my career and kept me motivated when times were tough.

Finding out your “why”

Sounds cliche, I know. However, it’s very true. You need to find out why is it that you’re in sales. Or any other profession for that matter. Only you can answer the question about your motivations. 

If you don’t believe in or love the product that you sell, you will never be an effective salesperson since your heart will just not be in it. Trust me, it will show and the prospects will feel it. Also, why put yourself through that misery? 

The most common reason why salespeople lose motivation in sales is that they don’t know why they are doing what they are doing. Are you after money? Great, focus on how you can earn more money while selling or doing what you love. 

Is it recognition you’re after? try to figure out a way in which you’re the top-performing sales rep at your company. You will get recognized. Mimic or shadow the folks who perform better than you and try to copy what is it that they do.

But, most importantly figure out what drives you. What makes you want to get out of the bed in the morning. You don’t need to travel to Thailand and sip a mojito on the beach to figure that out. You just need to sit, dig deep down and find out what motivates you.

Once you have that figured out, then draft a plan so you can do more of those actions that keep you happy and motivated. 

Not all answers will come your way instantly, it’s difficult finding out how you’re going to get from point A to point B. But at least you’ll have your “why” which will make the journey that much better.

Appreciate what you have and accomplished

It’s very valuable to reflect. Made a sale? Take a moment, high five everyone around you. Be proud. Be happy. Let this feeling sink in before you move on to the next deal and the one after that.

It’s the little things in life that keep us going. When I started out in sales, I was hooked to the feeling of closing a new deal. As soon as that stripe notification would appear, boom! Best feeling ever. I’m sure most of you sales folks can relate to this. 

What I didn’t realize or didn’t think about was the fact, that as soon as I would make that sale, I would instantly want to close another deal. And the one after that. I never stopped to appreciate the fact that I closed a deal. And like a greedy salesperson that I was, I wanted more. 

The issue with having a mindset like that is that there is never enough. Constantly wanting more and not appreciating is the ultimate cause of unhappiness. That does not mean that closing more deals is bad, it’s not appreciating what you’re along the way that causes disappointment. 

Something I learned quite late in my career was the fact, it’s the journey that matters. The goal post will keep on going further ahead, so you’ve got to love the journey you’re in, as not doing that will make you not enjoy the process and not relish the win!

Unnecessary competitiveness 

I get it. In a salesroom, testosterone is flying left and right. Competitiveness is a good thing, it helps you perform better and keeps you and your team members sharp and on your toes.

I used to be very competitive, I would make sure that I made the most calls every day, replied to emails the fastest, worked till the late evenings, always on slack, always online. End result? I was unhappy and fed up with my work. Why? Because there were no boundaries set out from the beginning and I wanted to be the best.

What I didn’t realize was that that unnecessary competitiveness was leading to my burnout and my performance was actually taking a hit because I just didn’t take any time off.

If you’re always on the stand by waiting to jump on every lead that comes in, not switching your “work mode” off, it’s only a matter of time you will start hating your work. All of us need a break from our work to gather our thoughts, spend time developing our own personal self, rest assured work will be waiting right where you left it for you to pick up.

There is a very fine line between being competitive and having an unhealthy work ethic. It took me over 5 years to realize that it is necessary to take time off work in order to come back stronger than ever. You won’t close a few deals while you’re away, so what? You will come back, refreshed, ready to start closing and won’t feel suffocated by your work. 

Action and Execution

Just go out and do it. Stop masturbating to ideas in your head. Go and EXECUTE that plan. Write that email, follow-up, make those calls. Thinking about them won’t lighten the load, there will never be a perfect moment. So do it NOW.

The first step is usually the hardest. I use to have days where there were so many different things to do that I wouldn’t know where to start. However, the only way to “get shit done” is to put your head and work on those tasks that require your attention. 

Start off with the first follow-up and then go to the next one and the one after that and before you know it you will be completing your tasks. There is only way to get stuff done and that is going through it. 

It all boils down to execution, I like my fair share of self-help, but the time I actually spend on reading a book or an article, I try to spend at least three times more time putting that knowledge to work. Without acting on the things you learned, you will never be able to improve. 

 No matter whether it’s cold calls, emails or sending proposals, the only way you can lower the load is to start doing the work and finish the pending tasks. One trick that works amazingly well for me is that I try to tackle the issues that are the most “difficult” to execute in the early hours of the work day. That way you’re not tempted to postpone them to the next day and the one after that. 

Staying motivated all the time is no easy feat. You just need to be consistent in the way you go about doing your work and create boundaries. Most importantly adhere to those boundaries, because if you bring your work home everyday, you won’t be able to switch off, which is imperative in order to recuperate challenges of the next day.

Until next time!

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