In this article, I’ll break down how to stay motivated in sales as an AE, especially if you’re in it for the long haul.
Sales Is a Grind
To say that sales is a grind, would be an unfair understatement. I have been in sales for almost 5 years now, and there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t realize it.
In this role as an Account Executive, you could either choose to be “A Yes Man (Appointment Setter)” or someone that can handle objections (A Professional).
After my first 2 years of being an AE, I burnt out and wanted a change. I decided to go into recruiting to hire salespeople for that same firm. But when I purchased my first home in 2015, things changed financially, and I had to get back into a more lucrative role.
Since then, I have transitioned into selling software. Here are some of the key takeaways I have learned throughout my journey as a salesperson.
How to Stay Motivated in Sales [9 Tips for AEs]
- Figure out what motivates you
- Write down your daily, monthly, and yearly goals
- Follow a process that works for you
- Share your battle wounds with friends
- Be optimistic
- Make a plan but, only stick to it if it works
- Have a life outside of sales
- Be a coach
- Don’t be afraid to be GREAT!
1) Figure out What Motivates You
Some people are motivated by money and some by winning. But me?
I’m motivated by NOT losing.
It’s a different type of mindset that most people don’t follow. Winning is great and making money is a result of how well you perform. But I absolutely hate losing more than I like winning.
I surround myself with friends, colleagues, and family that can challenge me every single day. Not only challenging me on how I am doing certain things but why I choose to do it a certain way. When you have people around you that have a similar mindset constantly challenging you, it forces you to be better than you were yesterday.
Recommended read: Why Patience Will Drastically Improve Your Decision Making in Sales
2) Write down Your Daily, Monthly, Yearly Goals
I always wrote down my sales goals for the month. In sales, you are usually on a monthly or quarterly quota.
So you need to know if you are on track to hit your number. This is what burnt me out back in finance. I wasn’t thinking of the bigger picture, instead, I was sprinting to hit my monthly numbers.
Today, I’ve learned to write down 3 goals I am looking to achieve that day. Also, I jot down what my goals are for that month, and what I’m looking to achieve personally that year.
3) Use a Process That Works Well for You
Of course, there isn’t one way of selling. Typically there is the more consultative sale or the bulldog sale. Usually, you are trying to see which method works best for you, and you go with that.
The problem with that is, you will fail a lot more than you will win in the beginning. If you are new to a company and the top reps’ process is a certain way, why not try to replicate it.
Use their method as a blueprint to make it your own style? I recently joined a new company, and have always been set in my own ways. But I have found that if you really want to be successful, you always have to get creative with your sales prospecting strategy.
These are just 3 major takeaways I have learned in my short 5-year career in sales as an Account Executive.
I know that if I keep at it and stay consistent with these methods, I will stay successful as an individual contributor. Hopefully one day I will be given an opportunity to manage my own sales team.
4) Share Your Battle Wounds with People
You will always have a group of friends or family that have no idea what you sell, how you do it, and why you do it. But, there are some people in your life that will understand, because they themselves are in sales.
I like to collaborate with my fellow salespeople and learn from them. But I learn the most when I actually repeat situations that I have been through personally within an actual real-life sales cycle.
Getting these positive or negative stories off your chest, not only eases your mind, but it also helps you learn from your sales mistakes. You’re forced to listen to how your friend would’ve done it differently, but also you’ll realize what you could have done differently on your own.
This exercise will keep you on your toes and fresh at all times.
5) Be Optimistic
Sales is a roller coaster, and you will experience ups and downs. There are going to be way more bad days than good days, but the good days are GREAT!
It’s easy to get discouraged because of all the ups and downs. You need to be strong and patient because your good day will eventually come. It will even out all the other bad days.
Psychologically, we are wired in a way where we remember our losses more than our wins. You need to force yourself to think differently and positively. So, whenever you enter a meeting with a prospective client, you have already sold yourself on closing them.
Recommended read: Stress Reduction for Salespeople: Dominate the Sale Like Never Before
6) Make a Plan but Only Stick to It If It Works
Sales is all about rolling with the punches.
For example, you can go into a “closing” call with a prospect with a certain plan on how to guide the conversation to get a verbal commitment.
In my experience, you need to hope for the best a prepare for the worst. Bouncing off ideas with your sales leader or peers about how a scenario could change is super helpful.
At this point, you are utilizing internal resources to prepare you for any type of objection that may or may not come up during that “closing” call.
7) Have a Life Outside of Sales
Mental and physical health when working in a fast paced environment like sales is very important. It’s okay to turn off the sales cap once in a while to reflect on your wins and losses. More so, doing something that makes you happy.
Me, I like to disconnect with the world by working out or playing my guitar. I have been doing it for over 10 years now. Not only am I happier in life, but I rarely ever get stressed out when it comes to work.
8) Be a Coach
When coaching someone in life, sports, or work, the person that is coaching tends to relearn a lot of things about that subject themselves.
Everyone is taught differently. And when you expose yourself to sales coaching, it’s like a refresher. Sometimes, you also learn new methods and strategies that you’ve probably never tried.
9) Don’t be Afraid to be GREAT
This quote is near and dear to me as I began my sales journey.
My sales manager back at Fisher Investments sat me down, and before I even started to make my first call, he said, “Don’t be afraid to be great”.
Now, at the age of 23, I didn’t really know what that meant. Over the years, I’d find myself repeating this quote before all of my wins, but more importantly after all of my losses.
I’ve read that top salespeople don’t rely on their colleagues or sales managers to stay motivated.
At the end of the day, when you are apart of a sales organization, you are apart of a team. You win together, and you will lose together. I’m not saying you should rely on anyone, but you should never be afraid to ask for help or guidance if you’ve hit a wall.
Also published on Medium.