6 Habits of Highly Motivated (Sales) People

As we navigate the seasonal shift from summer to fall, it’s becoming evident to many of us that this virtual way of conducting business will accompany us into the winter months ahead. Still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and all it entails, in both our personal and professional lives, may be leading some of us to lose our drive or motivation to keep striving. 

Not only has our way of selling shifted (on the phone or via virtual meetings), but the morale and overall mental state of sales organizations has been greatly affected by the colossal changes of the last 6  months.  Sales people have had to adapt tactical selling skills, but also deal with the loss of in-person, face-to-face interaction – something that drives and motivates most sales people. 

In an effort to help combat this as individuals and on an industry level, we’ve distilled down 6 distinct ways to help you stay motivated in your daily life and your sales career.

If you’d rather listen to this topic in podcast form, please check out sALES with ASLAN episode 71:


Habits of a Successful Sales Person

In order to come up with these six ideals, I sat down with ASLAN’s CEO Tom Stanfill to discuss the topic of personal motivation within the framework of diet and lifestyle, and how our health was the motivating factor that sparked a life-changing habit for both of us. With desire (self-motivation), a plan, and a support system, we both found success that can be applied to selling and/or leading a sales organization through the current business clime. 


The 6 Ingredients for Motivation & Change

To set the stage for change (or more specifically the motivation to change), we have to have some sort of catalyst – what is the thing that’s going to spark our desire and also our willingness to advance?


1. Have a Reason

Within the context of health, Tom had been struggling with extremely low energy levels; wanting to fall asleep during the day and unable to maintain any regular level of energy. An unhealthy eater for most of his life, Tom had never altered his diet much at all. In light of his new struggle, two of his sons introduced him to the Whole 30 diet, a lifestyle shift geared towards increasing energy and clarity of thinking. The important thing to note here is the goal of the diet was clear: to increase energy and mental clarity. The diet wasn’t about drinking water and eating vegetables “because it’s good for you” – there was a very specific goal behind it. 

During our conversation in this sALES with ASLAN podcast episode, Tom said it best himself:

“No one is motivated by your goals; people are only motivated by their own goals.”

The word motivated comes from motive, which means reason. That pretty much sums up this idea. People need a reason to be motivated. They don’t care about your reason, they care about their reason. For Tom, the reasons to change his diet (until this point) were never good enough. Why? Because they didn’t matter to him, he didn’t care about the reasons presented to him by friends, family, or doctors. Until he felt his energy levels fall, he didn’t have a reason to motivate personal change. 

Change and motivation have to be connected – and they have to be supported, not just by logic, but also by emotion. It’s both the head and the heart. For Tom, his lack of energy was affecting his ability to spend and enjoy time with his grandkids finally became a problem, and gave him his reason. This effect on his personal life with his family was the emotional (heart) connection.

This can obviously be applied to your professional life as well. What you want, your specific goal (whether personal or career-related), has to be crystal clear and tied to emotion in order for it to be the reason that you finally make a change. 

In their book Switch, Chip and Dan Heath talk about a “destination postcard,” having a real clear idea and vision of what you actually want. This then becomes the reason (motive) behind your ability to self-motivate towards that goal.  

More than 6 months into this pandemic is probably the perfect, and necessary, moment for all of us to take a step back and self-evaluate. As sales reps and/or sales organizations, the first step is to ask ourselves, “What do I really care about?” and get emotionally connected to it. 


2. Have a Plan

The next “step” towards motivation is having a plan to execute. You need to have a clear and detailed plan. The rules, plan, timeline, etc. all need to be crystal clear, and beyond that, they need to be your own. This ties back to the whole idea of people being motivated by their own goals – they need to be following their own plan or rules. 


If you are a sales leader, it’s your job to help the rep come up with their own plan and guide them along that path. We all know it doesn’t work when corporate says, “Do this.” Figure out what you want and make a plan to get there. If it’s not clear, it’s not going to be effective. 

Think about someone saying, “I’m going to eat healthy for the next two weeks” vs someone saying, “I’m going to not eat meat for the next two weeks.” One is a lot more clear and easy to follow than the other. 

This leads us directly to our next step.


3. Make it Easy

The point here is to make the plan very easy to follow. With the Whole 30 diet, you don’t have to eat healthy forever, you just have to commit to 30 days. 

Take your goal, take your plan, and break it down. 

During our conversation on motivation and change, Tom said to me:

“For change to happen and people to be motivated, we need to lower the bar, not raise the bar. We need to make it easy for them to get momentum. The key is momentum.”

For example, within your sales organization, this could look like a rep making their own plan to place 20 cold calls or send cold emails per day, asking 3 set questions. With this clear and executable plan, the rep will have no trouble following through. 

We want to make it easy for people to start and then continue to move, keeping that forward momentum.


4. Believe That it Will Work

For Tom, his sons used “Word Pictures” and success stories (their own) to describe the tangible results and benefits of the Whole 30 diet that Tom would soon begin to experience. 

You (or anyone looking for motivation) has to believe the plan will work or you won’t be successful in executing it. 

When working to motivate yourself, or your team, find those success stories – find the people that are making it work, executing their plan, and striving for self-motivation. 

In a sales organization, this could mean breaking down how many calls/emails a rep needs to make or send in order to get their target number of meetings.  This is where the sales leader can have influence by citing examples of previous success.  Give reps an example of previous reps that started out slow and built up.  The key, once again is momentum, and believing that it will work.  Success stories can have a major influence on all of us.


5. Build in Room for Failure 

Set expectations. It’s natural to face setbacks – and that’s okay! The important thing is not to become demotivated by these minor backslides (or big ones). 

Failure is part of the process. Don’t judge yourself. 

Especially if you’re a sales leader, keep your reps focused on the activity itself. Make sure they keep doing the work – in the beginning it should be more about the behavior, not about measuring the result. 


6. Don’t Try it Alone 

This is the accountability piece. Partner up. Connect with your peers, colleagues, reps, managers. Find people who are striving for the same things, have the same goals, and are working on personal motivation. 

Everything is easier with a support system. When you have people in your corner rooting for you, you’re more likely to accomplish your desired result. 


What Next?

If your team is struggling to make the transition to virtual selling, click here for our new program

We would be happy to understand your challenges and see if we can help.  We started as an inside sales training company in 1996, working to help sales teams overcome the very same challenges we are all facing today.


As VP of Marketing at ASLAN Training & Development, Scott’s passion is to share our solution with those in need and those who seek sales transformation. Find him on: Facebook | LinkedIn | Instagram

1 Comment

  1. Chris White on October 16, 2020 at 2:00 pm

    Might be my favorite of all the ASLAN blog posts – and there are a LOT of blog posts that I love! Great content Scott!

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