Freddie Marryat, Marketing Manager, EngageIQ

It doesn’t matter how good of an SDR you are. If you aren’t in the right mindset, you’re going to struggle to succeed.

Negative thoughts and a lack of belief are common among new SDRs. But even high-flying reps who regularly crush their quotas can suffer a dip in form when they aren’t in the right frame of mind.

Unfortunately, this will often start a vicious circle where poor performance leads to a negative mindset, which leads to even worse performance and an even worse attitude. 

If you’re questioning your ability to sell or find yourself not wanting to pick up the phone, this article is for you. We’ll show you how to keep that all-important positive mindset, even if you’re in the middle of a terrible sales streaks.

Start By Creating an Anchor

There’s a famous saying about not being able to see the forest for the trees. It means it’s all too easy to get caught up in what’s happening right in front of you that you fail to see the bigger picture. 

We see this happening all the time in a sales environment. Reps get so caught up in the last five rejections that they can’t appreciate how well they’re really doing or the fact that success is probably right around the corner. 

Rejection is a fact of life in sales. You’re going to get rejected way more than you succeed. Realising that fact is fundamental to creating and maintaining a positive mindset. You can do it by creating an anchor that stops you getting carried away with negativity. 

Think of it this way: if you are successful 3% of the time from your outreach efforts you’re going to absolutely kill it. If you are successful just 1% of the time you are still doing well. At 100 calls a day, a 1% success rate would see you book five meetings by the end of the week. If I offered that to most of the reps at EngageIQ right now, they’d bite my hand off at the chance to have five meetings in the bag.  

Do you think you can be successful 1% of the time? I bet you can. You don’t even need to book a meeting for the first few days of the week to still hit 1% target. Heck, you don’t even need to have any meetings booked by Thursday lunchtime to hit your target. I’ve seen plenty of reps get five meetings booked in a day and a half. 

Set yourself an achievable target and then work hard to make it happen. If 10 calls don’t go your way, remind yourself that you only have to have one good call in the next 90 to be successful.

Identify and Focus on Positives

You’ve created an anchor to stop yourself getting carried away with negative thoughts. Now it’s time to create a routine that allows you to focus on the positives. 

Positive reinforcement is incredibly powerful. When you can train your mind to focus on your wins, you’ll be much more likely to stay in a positive frame of mind, and you’ll be more successful as a result. This is exactly the opposite of the vicious circle I explained above. 

One trick I’ve seen work well is a success journal. Every time a you close a particularly big sale or book an important meeting, make a note of it in a journal. You don’t have to limit it to sales goals, either. Did you overcome a massive objection from a prospect? Make a note of it. Did you finally get through to the decision-maker you’ve been trying to chat to for a month? Write it down.

This is why gratitude journals are all the rage in self-improvement at the moment. The more time you spend thinking about the good things in your life, the more likely you are to recognise and appreciate positive things as they happen and the happier you will be.

Of course, you have to remind yourself of your wins for this hack to be effective. It’s no good writing things down in a journal and never rereading it. You’re going to need to train yourself to pick up your journal every time you start to feel down or get rejected. As soon as this becomes second nature, you’ll begin to think more positive going forward. Who knows, reminding yourself of a previous win could even help you overcome a current problem you’re struggling with.

“Set yourself an achievable target and then work hard to make it happen. ”

Learn From Every Call

You’re not going to be perfect every time you pick up the phone, but you can work towards perfection by learning from your mistakes. This is called having a growth mindset, and it will help you become a better salesperson while also keeping negative thoughts at bay.

When you adopt a growth mindset, you stop seeing failures solely as negatives. Believe it or not, failure can actually be positive. It’s a chance to learn what went wrong and identify what you can do in the future to stop it from happening again. 

Did you call a prospect too early in the morning? Were you too forceful or impatient? Seeing each call — whether it ends in success or failure — as a chance to learn something that can improve your career means you’ll stop hating rejections. You may even look forward to them as a chance to learn. Of course, the more positive you are about failure, and the more you strive to learn from it, the happier and more successful you’ll become as a result. It’s all about reframing your experience. So, what can you learn from your next call?

Avoid Negativity

Misery loves company as they say, and negative people will do everything they can to drag others down to their level. Don’t let them drag you down. 

If you have negative people in your life, whether that’s a boss, a team member or a friend, do everything you can to avoid their negative attitude. If that means asking to move teams or even move company, then so be it. Chances are you’ll be in a better state of mind and a more successful rep because of it. 

At the same time, try to create a positive attitude in your own team. Celebrate hard with your colleagues when they score a win. High-five, shout, scream, ring the sales bell. However you celebrate in your organisation, make sure that it becomes a habit. The more you celebrate the success of others, the more you’ll feel good about yourself and hit your own goals. It will make your colleagues more likely to keep you positive, too. 

Win the Morning

How does it feel when you book a meeting within the first ten calls you make that day? Pretty incredible, right? I bet you almost always go on to book at least one more meeting. 

That’s because winning the morning is so, so powerful. What you do in the first few hours sets the course for the rest of the day. 

You don’t have to make a sale straight away to have an awesome, positive day, however. Working out, having a good breakfast and smashing your to-do list before 10 am can help you feel motivated, ready to tackle the day ahead. 

We think that winning the morning is so important at EngageTech and EngageIQ that we encourage all our reps to start the night before by writing out exactly who they are going to call first thing. When you plan your morning the night before, you don’t waste time sitting at your desk thinking about what you’re going to do the next day. You start working straight away.

That goes for Monday, too. Plan your week Sunday evening and you’ll be in a much better headspace come Monday morning.

Understand What You Are in Control Of

There are some things you can’t control in sales. You can’t make prospects book a meeting or sign on the dotted line. You can’t help it if a prospect goes AWOL. 

But there are plenty of things you can control. Like how hard you work, what you focus on, what you do in your spare time and how you handle failure. 

People who have a negative mindset often feel like they lack control. Everything happens to them and nothing is their fault. No wonder. I’d feel depressed if I thought I had no control in my life.

But that’s not the case. Positive salespeople understand there’s a huge amount they control. If they aren’t booking meetings they know they can work harder or switch up their outreach tactics or speak to a manager or simply know that it could all change in a few dozen more calls. They also know they can use some of the tactics in this article to keep them focused on the positives. 

So, what will you do next time you have a streak of bad calls? Are you going to wallow in self pity or are you going to remain focused on your goal, read your success journal and remind yourself of what you can control? 

Images by: kylie De Guia, David Travis, Viktor Forgacs, Danielle MacInnes