A toddler is the only other person who hears the word “NO” more often than a salesperson; that is just the nature of sales.  

Everyone does not need your product or service and the process of finding those who do, suggests you will find many who aren’t.  When all is said and done, selling is a numbers game. The more people you contact, the more people you will find who are interested in your offering.  Conversely, the more people you will find who are not interested.  Through applying superior selling skills, you can increase the number of people who will purchase from you, but the majority of all people contacted will tell you “no”.

When someone tells you “no”, don’t take it personally.  They are not being personal in their declaration.  They don’t hate you or wish you any harm; they just don’t perceive a need for your product or service at that moment.  Remember, the “no” response is not necessarily a forever “no”, it is just a “no” for now.  You should approach selling with the attitude that ninety percent of all people will tell you “no”.  A study was conducted among buyers that indicated the majority of all people who purchased a product or service said “no” before they eventually said yes.  With this bit of background, I’m going to discuss how to overcome the discouragement experienced by all salespeople at different times during their sales career.

For a salesperson, discouragement is a disease, a type of psychological cancer, eating away at all the positive feelings from prior success.  It can be cured, but requires a very specific and consistent treatment.  The very nature of sales, with all the influences of the world having a potential impact on another person’s decision to make a purchase, contribute to the cyclical nature of the occupation.  Knowing a salesperson can have the best sales month of their career, followed by their worst month, can be a valid reason for discouragement.  Successive poor sales months can create an emotional downward spiral that can be difficult to turn around.  Working hard with little to show for it is a breeding ground for discouragement.  

Here are ten proven methods to overcome discouragement and get back on top of your sales game.

  1. Find perspective in your life.  There are so many things far worse in life than having a bad sales month.  In the long-term, bad months are averaged out with great sales months.  Remember, life has a way of balancing out and your sales will also.  

  2. Focus on your previous successes.  If you have been successful in the past, you can be successful in the future.  Identify those things you were doing when you found success and focus on doing those things again.  If you can do something once, you can do it again.  I’ve never seen a salesperson who was unable to achieve previous records and even surpass them.

  3. Visualize your future success.  You can achieve those things you can perceive.  Picture your success in your mind and then follow a path that will lead you to it.  Post pictures which represent your success.  Look at them often and feel the good feelings achieving your success will bring.

  4. Believe in yourself.  If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either.  You can do it!  You’ve triumphed before and you can do it again.  Look inwardly and know you have the inner strength to accomplish more than you have ever achieved previously.  Discover the power within; then take action.

  5. Focus on helping your prospects and customers solve their problems.  Sometimes you become so absorbed in your sales activities that you become lost in yourself.  You will find clarity of purpose in your own life as you reach out and help others.  When you solve a customer's or prospect's problems, you are on the road to solving your own.

  6. Give yourself a reward for success.  Sales success can be a long-term proposition.  The road can be bumpy and discouraging.  On a long journey you stop and rest along the way and each time you begin again, you feel rejuvenated.  Give yourself small rewards along the path to achieving your sales success and you will stave off discouragement.  It will become a constant reminder you are making steady progress.

  7. Change your attitude.  There are many things that happen in life where you have absolutely no control; however, you have total control over your attitude.  Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into that devilish caldron of discouragement.  Before you let it paralyze your performance, change your attitude and move forward, always focusing on your goals.

  8. Focus intently on your performance goals.  Nothing gives more direction in life than personal goals.  If you don’t know where you are going, you will never get there.  Lack of definitive written goals with an associated picture, is one of the major causes of discouragement.  You do a lot of work, but discover you are going in circles because you are not moving towards a goal.

  9. Find balance in your life.  Enjoy your life by doing many things that are not work related.  Find your passions and spoil yourself in their pursuit.  A balanced life is a happy life, making it much more difficult to become discouraged.  A change of pace is often as satisfying as a rest.  You will discover greater happiness and success in sales when your life is in balance.

  10. Focus on the significant purposes in your life.  Remember, selling is a vehicle to get you to where you really want to be.  Success is inspired and driven by those compelling purposes you have established in your life.  Never lose sight of your purpose.  Even in the darkest moments of discouragement and despair, you will find strength and light by focusing on your purpose.  It might be your spouse, your children, a parent, or dreams; whatever your purpose might be, it will lead you out of discouragement.

Never forget your passion for selling.  Sure, there will be challenging days along with the great ones, but focus on the great, and the challenging times will fade away.  Every occupation has its challenges and discouragement; selling is no different.  However, no other occupation will ever be as satisfying and rewarding as sales.