Are You Helping Your Sales Reps Develop Mental Toughness?

BY Kathy Crosett

Not everyone is suited for a career in sales. As a manager, you’ve probably noticed that some new reps excel at following up on leads and closing deals. Other reps look like they’re busy, but they aren’t actually generating any business. The lower performance of these reps is tied to a lack of mental toughness, in Gregg Swanson’s opinion.

You can detect a lack of mental toughness in several ways. Is your new sales rep spending large chunks of time on social media or on developing complicated proposals? In short, she’s avoiding the activities that bring in sales. Another sales rep may also fail to get at the specific budget limits a potential client is working with. Swanson links this problem to a rep who isn't tough enough to ask key questions during face-​to-​face meetings.

Swanson contends that traditional sales training programs often teach reps the basic mechanics of the sales process. In these sessions, your reps might learn about how to reach out to prospects, nurture leads, and deliver customer care services. The missing component from many of these training programs is mental toughness. Reps needs to learn what to do after they’ve lost a big prospect. They need to be trained to compete and excel in the most difficult sales environments. You may need to reach outside of your organization to find the right programs to develop the toughness quotient of  your reps.

If your business environment routinely requires your sales reps to call on their mental toughness, you may want to look into the process you use for screening new candidates. Asking the right questions will help you identify candidates with specific characteristics early in your hiring process. Following that, developing mental toughness for the reps who possess the right aptitude can bring your sales machine to the next level.