Handling sales for quite a while now, it continues to be a challenge for me in winning clients. Not only are there countless disappointments (e.g. no one responding to calls, frank rejections) included in this line of work, but for most salespeople, it takes a long time to earn a sale. The founder of Leadfunnel.ph, a good friend of mine, even told me about one salesperson who was able to win a client only after 3 years. Clearly, this is not for the impatient ones.
But even if the financial incentives in winning clients are good, the inevitable question does come out: how do you keep yourself motivated? I ask myself that question a lot of times. Besides the exceptional few, the rest of us struggle in our daily lives doing our job. And admittedly, I have been discouraged a couple of times, half-heartedly taking calls, knowing that no prospective client in their right mind would say yes right away.
I have been reading a number of motivational approaches, trying as hard as I can to keep myself on track. But the thing is, burnout does happen. And being there is dangerous, because seeking for motivation becomes an excuse, a crutch. I’m not motivated in the morning after a bad call, I lose interest in finishing the rest. I discovered that one of the clients was unqualified, I stereotyped all leads I’m about to interact being unqualified.
But then, I discovered a different way of approaching this problem: instead of utilizing motivation, I used discipline. It’s a harder pill to swallow, but easier to maintain once taken. Almost everyone knows that habit formation takes 21 days before it implants itself to ones’ brain, but in order to do that, one has to struggle for the first 21 days. And this is where discipline is instilled.
Naval Adm. William H. McRaven in his commencement speech said that during his boot camp, the first task they all had to do was keeping their bunk beds clean. It needs discipline to do that everyday at 4am, but it gives a sense of satisfaction doing so, and a reward to see once returning from a long day’s work.
Burnie Burns, co-founder of Rooster Teeth, through a scriptwriting app forced himself to write a script every day, even if it was bad. He discovered that it makes no sense as a creative to simply rely on motivation, as it dulled his senses and his ability. After the 100th consecutive script, he couldn’t bring himself to even skip, his thirst for looking for an idea now becoming second-nature to him.
Similarly, Carlo Villarica of Zerothreetwo, in the 3rd World Startup podcast also mentioned writing a 250-word essay every day as well, as it became a sort of training for him, trying to look for words that were apt in his articles.
In some way, discipline is crucial for sales. Keeping scheduled tasks regardless how one feels about it is crucial. Matter of fact, emotions should be the last thing in a salesperson’s mind. For the salesperson, it keeps him on track. The idea of completion does carry cognitive satisfaction, to be able to do it again the next day. For the client, it lets them know that you are consistent. Makes them understand that you are in it for the long run, even if they might not.
Then again, everything boils down to who you are. For me, instilling discipline first grounds myself, forcing me to a delayed gratification. But it pays off in the end. Being able to accomplish the small things. And one day, the big things as well.
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