What characteristic do you think is most important to succeed in sales? If your boss is like most sales managers, they want you to be confident. Our latest research shows that 58% of sales managers believe sales reps must possess confidence more than any other characteristic. We’ve also found that 59% of sales reps agree. There’s no question that confidence helps you sell, but we think reps with resilience rule, especially when the market works against them.
Reps With Resilience
What is resilience and how can you get more of it? In the past year and a half, most of us have had to learn new ways of getting our work done. You were probably used to selling face-to-face in the pre-COVID-19 world. When those previously opened doors slammed, the most successful reps quickly bounced back and began selling during video calls.
And the most successful leaders, understanding the rules had changed, pivoted. If they couldn’t get clients and prospects interested in the services they’d always sold, they tried something different. They suggested new applications for their products. They offered additional services to encourage prospects to give them a try. The one thing they didn’t do was give up.
Hits to Resilience
It’s no fun to get shot down by a prospect and to then get called out by your manager about what you could have done better. That kind of day is often topped by a coworker making an insensitive remark about your sales skills, and by the time 5:00 rolls around, you’re ready to find a new career. In fact, your coworker’s remark might have been interpreted as a micro aggression, and you’re considering filing an official complaint. Stop already.
Before you lose yourself in a cycle of despair, step back and think about your situation objectively. Yes, if your coworker has said something more than once that definitely qualifies as a micro aggression, speak up. But then it’s time to look at the bigger picture, keeping LaRue Quy’s advice in mind: “There will always be someone who criticizes you, but when you grow a thicker skin, you decide how to respond to these situations.”
Why do so many people, not just sales reps, fall into the trap of feeling sorry for themselves when things don’t go well? The experts say it’s easier to believe someone else is at fault for our problems. With that mindset, you don’t have to think about what you could do differently. But the only way to change the outcome is to be one of the reps with resilience.
In her CNN article, Sandee LaMotte relays the story of psychiatrist and dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, Dr. Dennis Charney. Charney found himself in the line of gunfire when an ex-employee shot up a bagel shop one morning several years ago. Following this incident, he faced a difficult recovery. Having long studied the topic of resiliency, he knew some people naturally possess more resiliency than others. But, Charney says, “Genes are not destiny.” He emphasizes the importance of having role models who thrive despite extreme challenges.
The next time you’re looking for someone to blame for your current problem, shut down that line of thinking. Ask yourself what your role model would do in this situation. Charney encourages us to think about other ways to react to what has happened. The most empowering advice on this topic centers on the actions you take next. Will you continue to blame someone else or try to shift the responsibility you don’t want to another person? Or will you find a new way to react – one that requires you to promise to try your hardest. Even if the outcome isn’t 100% successful, remind yourself of what went well and promise to do better next time, because reps with resilience rule.
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