Sales Mental Toughness

A company with a game-changing product is in a highly competitive marketplace teeming with large and established incumbents and upstart ankle-biters. Part of the sales team is robust and upbeat; another part are hanging their heads in discouragement and frustration.

What’s happening here?

In my discussion with the CEO, he hit it right on the head: some of his reps were allowing the tough competitive landscape to drive them to distraction and discouragement. Certainly it’s a difficult space, but someone is going to win – it may as well be them. They’ve got the goods; get out there and tell the world. But with skill and wisdom. We’re helping them do that.

I reminded him of my experience years ago when selling in the IBM enterprise world and partnering with EMC salespeople. These young and aggressive EMC reps would amaze me with their resilience. I told the CEO that I would often watch them “get their head handed to them by a customer” but then they would simply pick it up and go on to the next customer. They kept going until they got the deal. They eventually dominated in a marketplace stacked against them.

Sales mental toughness can be developed but really is forged and arises out of challenging experiences. All salespeople go through tough times and discouragement. Great salespeople weather these storms and come out mentally tougher. Weak salespeople crumble and succumb to losses.

How’s your sales mental toughness?