Motivate Yourself: Treat Bad News As Good News & Good News As Temporary

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It’s lonely at the top, and this applies to salespeople, especially.

Selling isn’t a team sport. It is a task that resists collaboration, like writing.

And those of us who sell for a major part of our livings know that our greatest challenge is getting up for the game, making sure we’re motivated, excited about the challenges before us.

If we don’t make ourselves sell, nobody else will pick up the slack, or hand us their “extra” orders, unless we’re still so fresh at it that the manager is nursing us along by feeding us “house” accounts.

But even that doesn’t last forever, and you have to question the wisdom in it.

So, how can you stay up, emotionally, and psyched, especially if you’re hitting a tough patch and the sales are few and far between? Here are some tips that have worked for me:

(1) Treat each setback as good news, as an opportunity. Henry Ford said failure is an opportunity to try again, more intelligently. There is a silver lining, if only the fact that your will is being forged in the molten furnace of disappointment, and you’ll emerge tougher and stronger than before.

(2) When sales are rolling in for you on a schedule celebrate, briefly, and then forget about them, quickly. They’re temporary, so see them as such. Don’t con yourself into thinking that you’re getting so good at selling that you can cut back your commitment to working hard.

(3) When you start seeing some customers as more valuable than others, based on order size, or profit margins, you’re getting too analytical. Leave the numbers crunching to management, or forget about it, altogether. Inevitably, in my experience, when I start thinking that some of my clients aren’t as cool as others, suddenly I have to work especially hard to get any new ones aboard.

(4) Build into your schedule relaxation breaks, but make them short, yet thorough. If you can afford it, get away for the weekend. Look into one of the cheap internet travel packages and fly somewhere, or just pack a bag and take the car somewhere without any idea of where you’re heading. I assure you that you’ll feel you got away, and you’ll be refreshed.

(5) Realize that we’re creatures of habit. We shape habits, and then they shape us. What kinds of habits are you forming right now? When you feel stuck in any rut, that’s the time to change your routine. Eat in new places, drive a different route to work, go to bed or get up two hours earlier. All of these things will help you to see that your behavior patterns are your choice, and you can change them at any time.

These are some things that work for me. They help me to maintain the “ecology” of motivation, so I don’t get too high or too low for my own good!

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of, is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. He is a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A Ph. D. from USC's Annenberg School, Gary offers programs through UCLA Extension and numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. He is headquartered in Glendale, California, and he can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at:


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