14.2 Motivation, Learning, Enjoyment, Success

Learning Objectives

  1. Learn how to stay motivated and expand your knowledge every day.
  2. Discuss how to stay positive with a healthy mind and body.

Never Give Up

It was Super Bowl Sunday in 2005, and the New England Patriots were playing the Philadelphia Eagles. Everything was perfect for New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi as he waited with excited anticipation before the game, visualizing its outcome. Talk about pressure—the Patriots had a chance to win their third Super Bowl. He played with his young sons, both under the age of five at the time, on the field hours before game time; it was great that his wife Heidi came to the Alltel Stadium with the boys early so that he had some time with them before the game. He was motivated by more than simply winning this historic game; he wanted to show his sons that you can do anything you set out to do.

The game, like the day, could not have been more perfect for Bruschi. He had a sack, seven tackles, and an interception. He was only one story in a team filled with winners. The final score was 24–21, Patriots. They had done it!

It was almost impossible to go to sleep that night. In fact, Bruschi didn’t get to bed until 4:00 a.m. and then was up at the crack of dawn (literally) to appear on Good Morning America. The next few days were nonstop celebrations, interviews, and photographs. Life was indescribably good.

On February 16, 2005, just ten days later, Bruschi awoke at 4:00 a.m. with a headache and numbness in his body that was so severe that he had to crawl to the bathroom. Seven hours later things went from bad to worse when his vision blurred and he could no longer move his arm or leg. At the hospital he learned that he had had a stroke.Tedy Bruschi with Michael Holley, Never Give Up: My Stroke, My Recovery & My Return to the NFL (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007).

After an agonizing recovery, eight months later Bruschi returned to the game he loved. He battled back to the field and played for four more seasons before retiring in August 2009. His teammate Larry Izzo said of Bruschi, “To come back from his stroke in ’05 and play four more seasons at such a high level, was nothing less than amazing. When I think of Tedy Bruschi, I think of his toughness, his courage, the passion and desire he played with, and his production. He made plays. He was a true warrior. The heart and soul of our team.”Karen Guregian, “Tedy Bruschi a Role Model to Pats, Fans,” Boston Herald, September 1, 2009, http://www.bostonherald.com/sports/football/patriots/view/20090901tedy_bruschi_a_role_model_to_pats_fans (accessed September 7, 2009).

What motivated Bruschi? It would have been enough just to survive a stroke, but to come back and play football at a professional level is almost unthinkable. Most players don’t ever make the cut to play in the NFL, but Bruschi survived a life-threatening stroke and came back to play at the top of his game. His passion, drive, and will to survive and win outpaced even his physical challenges.

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Be a Rock Star

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Are you a rock star…or a top-performer wannabe? Listen to what it takes to be a rock star in this video featuring sales guru and best-selling author, Jeffrey Gitomer.

You Can Do It!

“Don’t Stop Believin’,” the number one hit from the rock band Journey in 1981, became the anthem for the Chicago White Sox throughout the 2005 season in which the team won the their first World Series championship after eighty-eight years.Mark Newman, “Soxabration: Reliving 2005,” White Sox, March 27, 2006, http://chicago.whitesox.mlb.com/cws/history/championship05.jsp (accessed January 3, 2010). The song was more than background music for the team; it became the promise to their fans…and themselves throughout the season.

Is being successful in sales as easy as having a great song or a catchy slogan? Not really. In fact, the White Sox were far from being the favorites at the beginning of the season. After all, eighty-eight years is a long time to go without a championship. No one really believed they could do it. But even when others might not see your vision, you have to believe in yourself even when things don’t go your way. Successful sales professionals will tell you that’s what it takes to make it in sales: an unwavering belief in yourself that you can achieve the goals you set. Hard work? Absolutely. Setbacks? Just about every day. Believing in yourself? As they say, priceless.Priceless.com, http://www.priceless.com/us/personal/en/index.html (accessed September 7, 2009).

Motivation is especially important in sales because you will hear no more than you will hear yes. Your motivation, goals, and drive to succeed will make you successful.

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Believe and Achieve

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Listen to Lisa Peskin, sales trainer at Business Development University, talk about the need to believe in yourself, stay focused, and stay motivated in sales.

You can do it, but only if you believe you can. What is the difference between the salesperson who makes $1 million a year and one that makes $50,000? It is the belief in himself that he can achieve her goals. It starts with a positive mental attitude every day. That means making the most of every day and taking control of your plan to accomplish your goals. “Motivation is an inside job. It’s up to you,” according to sales expert and author Jim Meisenheimer.Jim Meisenheimer, “25 Ways to Get Motivated to Start Selling More,” EvanCarmichael.com, http://www.evancarmichael.com/Sales/407/25-Ways-To-Get-Motivated-To-Start-Selling-More.html (accessed August 19, 2009). Here are a few of his tips from his article “25 Ways to Get Motivated to Start Selling More”:

  • Take pictures of your top ten customers and top ten prospects. Put the pictures in clear view (your computer wallpaper, on your cell phone, on your refrigerator) along with your SMART goal for each one. This visual reminder will help you stay focused.
  • Tell your family how you are going to celebrate together when you become the number one salesperson at your company. You will make your goal real by telling someone close to you, and you will have their support to get through the challenging days.
  • Invest fifteen minutes every day to read articles, books, blogs, listen to podcasts, or view videos about your industry or the selling profession. Sellingpower.com, Salesandmarketing.com, bnet.com, SalesHQ.com, and SalesVantage.com are all excellent sources of information about selling.
  • Before the year ends, write yourself a check for December 31 of the next year for the amount you want to earn. Make three copies and have each laminated. Put one in your brief case, one on your car console, and one in your office. When you look at it every day, ask yourself, “What can I do today to get closer to this goal?”Jim Meisenheimer, “25 Ways to Get Motivated to Start Selling More,” EvanCarmichael.com, http://www.evancarmichael.com/Sales/407/25-Ways-To-Get-Motivated-To-Start-Selling-More.html (accessed August 19, 2009).


Twenty-Five Ways to Get Motivated to Start Selling More

You can read the entire article by clicking on the following link:


Act Like You Run the Place

David C. Novak, chairman, CEO, and president of Yum Brands, whose chains include KFC, Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, and Long John Silver’s shares his advice for young people: “I tell people that once you get a job you should act like you run the place. Not in terms of ego, but in how you think about the business.”Adam Bryant, “You Win a Floppy Chicken,” New York Times, July 12, 2009, business, 2. In other words, if you think about your sales territory or product line as if it is your own business, you’ll make decisions that will be in the best interest of growth.

Fail...to Succeed

It may seem counterintuitive, but the best way to succeed is to fail. The fact is, failures can be a positive experience because they can help you avoid repeating mistakes.Stacy Blackman, “Want to Succeed? Learn How to Fail,” BNET, July 21, 2009, http://blogs.bnet.com/mba/?p=962 (accessed September 7, 2009). Since failures are much more painful than the sweet taste of success, we tend to remember our failures more vividly.Dave Kahle, “Learning from Failure,” American Salesman, February 2009, http://www.davekahle.com/article/learningfromfailure.html (accessed May 16, 2010). But as important as the actual failure is what you do as a result of the experience. “You don’t have control over what happens to you in life,” says Lisa Peskin, sales trainer at Business Development University, “but you absolutely have control over how you choose to handle it.”Lisa Peskin, “Top 10 Secrets of Selling in a Recession” Philadelphia Business Journal Workshop, Philadelphia, PA, July 29, 2009. Peskin has over twenty years of experience in business-to-business (B2B) selling. To overcome the feeling of failure especially on daily sales calls, she suggests the “rocking chair test”: will you remember that someone said no to you today when you are sitting in a rocking chair fifty years from now? “Don’t get upset over the small stuff” is her advice to salespeople. “If you want something you never had, you must do something you’ve never done, and that may result in some failures, but a lot of successes.”Lisa Peskin, “Top 10 Secrets of Selling in a Recession,” Philadelphia Business Journal Workshop, Philadelphia, PA, July 29, 2009.

It might be hard to imagine that successful people ever had failures. But Shantanu Narayen, CEO of software maker Adobe Systems, says, “You know, there is no such thing as failure. You’re always learning.” He goes on to share his personal experiences: “I have looked back at aspects of my career where somebody might look at it and say, you know, that start-up was not successful, and I look at it and I say, ‘I learned how to build a team, how to raise money, how to sell a vision, how to create a product.’ It was a great steppingstone for me.”Adam Bryant, “Connecting the Dots Isn’t Enough,” New York Times, July 19, 2009, business, 2.

Failure is a fact of life. Although the White Sox were eventually named World Champions again in 2005, each member of the team missed more balls than they hit. In baseball, a 0.333 batting average is considered outstanding (Ty Cobb’s average, the highest in baseball is 0.366), which means that the batter misses almost seven times out of every ten at bats. Similarly, an average of 70 percent of people who walk into a retail store don’t buy anything, and 99 percent of people who visit a company’s Web site don’t make a purchase.Baseball Almanac, “Career Leaders for Batting Average,” http://www.baseball-almanac.com/hitting/hibavg1.shtml (accessed September 7, 2009).,Amanda Ferrante, “Retailers Counting on Conversion to Drive Store Metrics,” Retail Store Ops Blog, March 17, 2008, http://retailstoreops.blogspot.com/2008/03/retailers-counting-on-conversion.html (accessed September 7, 2009).,The Conversion Chronicles, http://www.conversionchronicles.com/, September 7, 2009 (accessed May 16, 2010). So, it is inevitable that you will have to fail in order to succeed. But that doesn’t mean that failure should become a way of life. With failure comes personal responsibilityAcknowledging and accepting that you are accountable for your choices., acknowledging and accepting that you are accountable for the choices you make with your prospects and customers, in your career, and in life. Someone who is personally responsible doesn’t rationalize why a failure occurs, doesn’t blame others, and doesn’t feel sorry for himself. Here are four simple steps that can help you turn failure into growth:

  1. Objectively analyze your role in the failure. What did you do that may have caused an outcome other than the one your preferred?
  2. Imagine if you had done something different. What impact would it have had on the outcome?
  3. Determine what prompted you to take the actions you took.
  4. Decide that when the situation occurs again, you will do something differently.Dave Kahle, “Learning from Failure,” American Salesman, February 2009, http://www.davekahle.com/article/learningfromfailure.html (accessed May 16, 2010).

Failure is about learning and taking personal responsibility, which can be the key to your personal success. “The price of greatness is responsibility,” said Winston Churchill.Wayne Mansfield, “Seven Tips for Handling Stress in Challenging Times,” Article Dashboard, http://www.articledashboard.com/Article/7-Tips-for-Handling-Stress-in-Challenging-Times/612133 (accessed September 8, 2009).


Rate Your Personal Responsibility

You can rate yourself on a personal responsibility scale to identify if you have areas in which you need to develop personal responsibility.James Messina, “Accepting Personal Responsibility,” LIVESTRONG.COM, November 18, 2009, http://www.livestrong.com/article/14698-accepting-personal-responsibility (accessed September 9, 2009).


Unfortunately, you are going to hear no more often in sales than you hear yes. In fact, no is part of the game of sales. But don’t take it personally. “Don’t get dejected when you’ve been rejected—just get your skills perfected,” is advice from selling expert and author Harvey Mackay.Harvey Mackay, “8 Tips for Handling Rejection,” WMAR-ABC2, July 5, 2009, http://www.abc2news.com/content/financialsurvival/yourjob/story/8-tips-for-handling-rejection/dM-Sg9DHiEaJcmqMgDp44w.cspx (accessed September 9, 2009). No is what helps you hear yes. Of course, you wouldn’t expect every prospect you contact to buy your product or service. Think about it: do you buy everything that is pitched to you? So it is hearing no that helps you fine-tune your sales presentation to ultimately hear yes.Hal Becker, “Become a Pro at Dealing with Rejection, and You’ll Win More often at the Sales Game,” Kansas City Business Journal, March 4, 2005, http://kansascity.bizjournals.com/kansascity/stories/2005/03/07/smallb6.html (accessed May 16, 2010). There should be no fear in no.

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Positive Reinforcement

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Want to stay motivated to keep going even when you hear no? Watch this video about being positive and being creative featuring sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer:

Power Player: Lessons in Selling from Successful Salespeople

The Eyes Have It

“Sell with your eyes” is the advice that Jessica Sciarabba, AT&T retail sales consultant, gives to all sales reps. “The best piece of advice about how to have a successful career in sales came from my first boss. He taught me how to make a personal connection with customers by looking at them and showing my interest in them with my eyes. It makes a difference and it really works.”Conversation with Jessica Sciarabba at AT&T store in King of Prussia, PA, August 26, 2009.

Positive Energy from a Healthy Mind and Body

It’s virtually impossible to be successful in sales and in life if you don’t take care of yourself. Conflicting priorities; lack of time; demands of work, family, and friends; the negativity of some people; and even the state of the economy can take a toll on you. Stress is a real part of everyday life; unfortunately there is no magic formula to avoid it. But you can learn to balance work and your personal life for a better balance and potentially less stress.

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Make Time for Yourself

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Listen to how Rachel Gordon, account manager at WMGK, balances work and her personal life to be a better salesperson.

Take Good Care of Yourself

Have you ever been on an airplane and listened to the directions from the flight attendant about safety? She says that in case of an emergency, put on your oxygen mask first and then help those around you to put theirs on. The theory is that you can’t really help anyone else until you are taken care of. That same theory applies to mental, emotional, and physical health. You won’t be able to provide support and ideas to your customers unless you are healthy in mind and body. To start off every day with the energy and enthusiasm to conquer the world, take the time to take care of yourself with the following tips:

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon and evening, and go to sleep early. It’s best not to assume that your current sleep time is enough; experiment with what is your optimum night’s sleep.Donald Latumahina, “How to Get Your Morning Off to a Great Start,” Life Optimizer Blog, July 28, 2009, http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2009/07/28/how-to-get-your-morning-off-to-a-great-start (accessed August 19, 2009).
  • Eat a healthy breakfast. You might think you don’t have time, but it’s best to make time to eat breakfast. It provides fuel to start your day. A healthy breakfast can be fast and easy, especially if you plan it the night before. Oatmeal with almonds, cold cereal with fruit, a smoothie with fruit, low-fat yogurt and wheat germ, and even cold veggie pizza can be a healthy breakfast. You owe it to yourself to start right. Use some tips from this article from the Mayo Clinic for some healthy options: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/NU00197.Mayo Clinic Staff, “Healthy Breakfast: Quick, Flexible Options to Grab at Home,” MayoClinic.com, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/NU00197 (accessed September 8, 2009).
  • Exercise. It’s a good idea to do some kind of regular physical exercise such as working out or walking. This helps reduce stress and helps you manage weight.
  • Don’t procrastinate; get right into your day. Jump in with both feet and start your day off right. If you stop to watch television, text your friends, or do other activities, your morning will be half over before you know it with nothing to show for it.Donald Latumahina, “How to Get Your Morning Off to a Great Start,” Life Optimizer Blog, July 28, 2009, http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2009/07/28/how-to-get-your-morning-off-to-a-great-start (accessed August 19, 2009).
  • Start your day with the most important task. Use your prioritized to-do list and conquer the most important item first; leave everything else for later. You might be tempted to do the small things first so you can scratch them off you list. But when you take on the more important and biggest challenge first, you have the most amount of energy and drive. And you will have a huge sense of accomplishment with time to spare for your smaller to-dos.Jonathan Figaro, “A Simple Tip to Be More Productive,” Life Optimizer Blog, July 25, 2009, http://www.lifeoptimizer.org/2009/07/18/be-more-productive (accessed August 19, 2009).
  • Smile and enjoy your day. Your attitude sets the tone for your customers. Always wear a warm, genuine smile; people like to do business with people who enjoy what they do. A smile can break tension in a meeting and put everyone at ease.Diane Gray, “Some Sales Tips from the Best Salespersons,” Associated Content, March 14, 2007, http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/166636/some_sales_tips_from_the_best_salespersons.html?cat=35 (accessed August 19, 2009).
  • Don’t worry about what you can’t control. Worry causes stress, and stress breeds doubt. It’s a good idea to make a list of all the things that are causing stress in your life. Review them and identify which ones you have control over and develop an action plan to take control over that element. For those over which you don’t have control, don’t stress. It’s simply a waste of time to worry about things you can’t control.Tim W. Knox, “Can You Handle the Stress of Running a Business?” Entrepreneur, October 6, 2003, http://www.entrepreneur.com/startingabusiness/startupbasics/askourideasandinspirationexpert/article64824.html (accessed September 8, 2009).
  • Take time for yourself. Chances are you have multiple responsibilities and demands including work, family, school, community, and others. Even though you want to do it all, it’s a good idea to schedule some time for yourself regularly. Do something that you enjoy whether it is reading a book, going to the mall, or taking a bike ride. This “me time” can go a long way to rejuvenate yourself and refresh you to take on the next big challenge.

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Be Inspired

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The bottom line is you can be successful in your career. It’s up to you. This video will inspire you.

Key Takeaways

  • You have to believe in yourself so that others will believe in you.
  • Expand your knowledge every day by reading an article, part of a book, or blog about selling or the industry you are selling in.
  • Failure can be one of the best ways to succeed; it teaches you how to avoid the same mistakes twice.
  • Personal responsibility is a key element in success.
  • You can create positive energy by taking care of yourself in mind and body.


  1. Think about a situation in your life that seemed almost impossible. What did you do to overcome it? How did you determine your course of action? How long did it take? How did you stay motivated?
  2. Identify at least one goal that you would like to accomplish in your life. How will you achieve it? What are the steps you plan to take?
  3. Assume you are a designer and you want to sell your new designs for home furnishings called “The Ultimate Dorm Room” to Target. You met with the buyer once, and she made some suggestions and said she would consider it again in six months. What would you do to continue to stay motivated until you meet with her again?
  4. Identify at least three resources for information about the selling profession (hint: several are mentioned in the chapter). Read, watch, or participate in them at least once a week for the next three weeks. What did you learn? Will you continue to use these as resources? Why or why not?
  5. Contact a B2B salesperson and ask him what he does to stay motivated. Which pointers might you find helpful? Why? Which pointers don’t you find helpful? Why not?
  6. Discuss a group situation in which you were involved and someone did not take personal responsibility. What impact did the lack of personal responsibility have on the team in achieving its goal? What might the outcome had been if the person had taken personal responsibility?
  7. Watch this video and discuss three things that can make a failure into a learning experience: http://www.sellingpower.com/content/video/index.php?mid=309.