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Sales Performance and Motivation: How to Get Your Edge Back

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Performance and motivation are like chocolate & peanut butter; the combination is better than either one alone. Motivation feeds successful sales performance, which in turn generates increased motivation, which encourages performance, and so goes the synergism of our days. Until one day...

... you don't feel as enthusiastic as you used to, or you find yourself missing opportunities during your sales presentations. You start to cut corners and begin to care a little less. After a while you can no longer ignore the thought that tugs at you..."I've lost my edge" .

We've all experienced the dreaded slump. As someone who has survived to sell another day, here is a time tested plan of action to jumpstart your sales motivation and performance.

STEP 1 - Acknowledge
The first step toward overcoming any challenge is acknowledging it. Recognize it as a real, but temporary obstacle to your ambition, and you've already begun to remove it.

STEP 2 - Take responsibility
Personal responsibility is a hallmark of success. We each decide every minute of every day how to spend our time, and those decisions shape our thinking and our selling behaviors. Accepting responsibility encourages us to be proactive in creating solutions rather than cultivating excuses.

STEP 3 - Refocus
Refocusing on your goals is a great way to spark something innovative in your attitude and your sales presentations. Remind yourself that your daily activities are parts of a larger whole. You're not just selling to move market share. You're selling to accomplish personal and professional goals. If your sales presentations aren't as strong as they used to be, refocus on basic selling skills for an immediate impact:
? Begin each call with a clear statement of purpose
? Probe to uncover customer objections and needs
? Close for some type of commitment on every call
? Follow through with an action plan

STEP 4 - Self-assessment
Sharpen your self-awareness to get your motivation and performance back on track. This step challenges you to go beyond a basic inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Carefully consider: What steps of the selling process do you try to rush or avoid altogether? Compare the selling situations you find most challenging with those that are easier for you. Examine how you respond to different personality types. Your goal is to identify any impediments to your success, so be as specific as you can.

STEP 5 - Seek feedback
Conventional wisdom is that we never see ourselves as others see us; therefore, feedback is an essential complement to your self-assessment. Your direct supervisor, sales trainer or territory partners should be able to provide an objective assessment of your current competencies as well as pertinent impressions of how your performance has changed over time. Since your selling habits directly impact their success they have likely formed definite impressions of your skills.

Keep in mind that direct questions will garner the most useful feedback:

What do you think is the most significant contribution I make to the sales team? What do you think are my strongest selling/territory management skills? What would you suggest to make my sales presentations stronger?

Your customers are another vital source of professional feedback. By skillfully asking questions you can increase your self-awareness while improving your customer service: What is the best way for me to present information to you? How has my product enhanced your business? What is the most important thing I can do when I call on you?

STEP 6 - Are you having fun yet?
This step truly is as straightforward as it seems. It's a reminder that if you don't enjoy what you're doing, maybe you should change what you're doing!

STEP 7 - Respond
Sales professionals know that no one stays the same. As you continue to grow and evolve in your career you may want to revisit this exercise from time to time. A fundamental change in your motivation or performance may indicate your desire for increased responsibility or a different focus in your career. The insight you have gained here can be the cornerstone for your next professional adventure!

STEP 8 - Keep moving
Still stuck? Sometimes the key to moving forward is simply to keep moving.

Copyright ?2005 by Sally Bacchetta. All rights reserved.

Sally Bacchetta - Freelance Writer/Sales Trainer

Sally Bacchetta is an award-winning sales trainer and freelance writer. She has published articles on a variety of topics, including selling skills, motivation, and pharmaceutical sales.

You can contact her at and read her latest sales articles on her website.

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