Have you ever lost a big order? Been fired? Had a bad day or week? It’s all part of life as a great salesperson. And they are great because they are mentally tough. Great salespeople go out each day to succeed sometimes to fail but whatever happens, they pick themselves up and do it all over again.
Remember The One That Got Away?
I remember one sale I had worked really hard on back in my early days as a professional salesperson. The order was for five supplied air carts for a safety department at a paper mill. I had convinced the safety manager I had the best product and the best price. He had put the requisition through to the buyer with my company as the vendor of choice. But the buyer had a buddy at the competing company and gave them a chance to meet my offer. I lost the business.
I was angry. First with the buyer who, in my opinion, had no integrity. Then with myself for not building a better relationship with the buyer.
What Is Mentally Tough?
Great salespeople recover quickly from defeat. They have developed a mentally tough attitude. That attribute comes from separating “who I am” from “what I do”. My job is professional salesperson, writer, blogger, coach and mentor. When I can help a client succeed, it feels great! But when I pitch business and lose, I still get bummed out after all these years in business. But I know the difference between what I do and who I am. I am a husband, father, grandfather, friend, and all round happy guy. In metrics, I’m a 10! I know it when I wake up and I know it at the end of the day, whatever happens. Who I am is different from what I do. That makes me mentally tough enough to overcome adversity and charge on to the next opportunity.
Mentally Tough Salespeople Have Three Key Personality Traits
Many sales managers agree that empathy, ego strength and ego need are the three most important personality traits of great salespeople. These are the traits making salespeople mentally tough. My mentor Jim Wilson puts it this way:
- Empathy is the quality of really putting yourself in the prospect’s shoes and making your own agenda secondary. The empathetic person is not only an excellent listener, but he also understands what the other person is feeling.
- Ego strength relates directly to one’s self image. The better the salesperson feels about herself, the easier it is to deal with the constant rejection that is part of sales. People with a weak ego (self concept) tend to avoid hearing a “No” and resist asking for the order.
- Ego need is exemplified by an urgent desire to win. Salespeople with a healthy amount of ego need often enjoy hearing the prospect say “Yes” more than they enjoy the resulting financial rewards.
Great salespeople recognize these traits in themselves making them mentally tough.
Great Salespeople Use Positive Self-Talk
For me every sales meeting is an event. It is theater in the real world and I act the part of the great salesperson. Before the event I chant positive motivators like: “I am the very best salesperson here to help my best client!” As I exit my car and walk to the meeting to reinforce the idea of theater I quietly whisper: “Show time!” And at the end of the meeting walking back to the car no matter how well or poorly the meeting went I acknowledge I’m still a 10.
To learn more sales secrets see Chapter Six, Characteristics of Successful Salespeople, in Secrets of the Softer Side of Selling. For even more sales help, join our FREE Sales Club! “See” you next week.
Don Crawford & Lois Carter Crawford