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August 21, 2015 // 7:00 AM

Terrible Day? A Simple 2-Minute Drill to Stay Motivated in Sales

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A life in sales includes rejection. No matter how good you are, you will lose more than you win.

Surviving in sales requires normalizing that rejection, expecting it, and making it a part of your day. Sales has often been compared with baseball, in which a 33% batting average (a .333) is considered phenomenal.

I’ve gotten pretty good at moving past rejection. However, there are certain incidents I find difficult to shrug off -- ones that seem completely unfair and still get my blood boiling when I think about them. The time I lost a deal because a competitor swooped in at the last minute with a quiver full of lies comes to mind.

Getting an honest "no" from a prospect I can handle, but getting a raw deal can send me into a downward spiral.

I've also noticed that each new negative incident reminds me of all the previous ones, compounding my frustration. I tell myself to "just focus on the future," but I've found that such platitudes aren't enough to help me move on in certain circumstances. I needed something more concrete.

So I started keeping a "record of rights" to offset my internal "record of wrongs." I started recording every "blessing" I received -- every job-related gift that I could translate into a dollar amount. For example:

  • A big account that I was sure I had lost ... but somehow won!
  • An old acquaintance I hadn't seen in years who sent me an awesome referral.
  • A team member who took time during a vacation to help me win an end-of-year deal.
  • The amazing business development rep who sets me up with perfect-fit leads.

I recorded all these moments in an Evernote list with their dollar value, sorted by date.

I also, with some trepidation, wrote down my "record of wrongs" along with their dollar values. I was worried that doing so would make me relive the bitterness I initially felt each time I looked at my list, but in fact, the opposite happened.

Keeping a record of where I've been "wronged" actually helps me mentally release the negativity. And more importantly, when I tally up the dollar amounts for both columns, I find that my "rights" far outweigh the "wrongs."

With every new difficult incident, I return to my list to review exactly how much more I've been "blessed" than "cursed," and I my spirits are uplifted once more.

Feeling frustrated at work? Here's the two-minute drill:

  1. Choose a place for your list that's easily accessible (a electronic sticky note on your desktop, an Evernote, etc.).
  2. In one column, write down whatever's bothering you and consider putting a score next to it. I use a dollar amount, but you could write down a number for the emotional weight or importance you place on the "wrong."
  3. In another column, write down all the "rights" you can think of. One memory should lead to another, and you may be surprised by the length of your list. Again, considering putting a score next to each one.
  4. Keep your list handy and add to it as new good and bad incidents come your way. You'll be surprised by how quickly the "rights" outpace the "wrongs," and you now have a great tool to lean on during tough times.

How do you stay motivated? Let us know in the comments below.

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