10 Tips for Staying Positive in Sales

Published on November 2, 2021

No matter what kind of business you run (whether it's an online business directory or a local coffee shop), sales are an essential part of your day-to-day operations. In fact, running an online business directory is 90% sales. While marketing your site and generating traffic are also important, your primary goal is to sell as many listings to local businesses as possible.

Whether you are selling listings yourself or employing a team of sales reps, you are bound to hit some bumps in the road sooner or later. Hangups, rejection and cancellations are all normal occurrences that even the most seasoned salespeople face.

The key to long-term success in sales is staying positive. Maintaining a positive outlook can help you press forward during slow or challenging times. It’s all about perspective and mindset. So how do you stay positive in the midst of a sales slump?

If you ever feel discouraged in your ongoing selling efforts, remember these 10 tips to help you stay positive:

1. Set Realistic Goals and Write Them Down

It’s hard to achieve your goals if you don’t acknowledge what they are. How many listings do you aim to sell in your first year? Take your annual goals and break them down into monthly and weekly numbers so they are less intimidating and achievable. Write them down somewhere – you're more likely to do something if you write it down. In fact, Chicken Soup for the Soul co-author Mark Victor Hansen once said “by recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands – your own.”

Make sure you also set goals that are challenging yet realistic. Consider these words from Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps: “I think goals should never be easy, they should force you to work, even if they are uncomfortable at the time.” Shoot too high and you might get discouraged but too low and you could be selling yourself short. Knowing you’re on track to hit your numbers will help you stay positive.

2. Create a Personal “Wish List” of Things You Want

Think about all the things you want and desire in your work and personal life and pin pictures of them - physically or digitally on your personal wish list. This could be a new car, your dream house, travel plans, paying for a child's tuition, saving for retirement, business achievements, etc. For example, if you’ve always wanted to visit Disneyland, then you might look for images of the park itself, the characters, an example park admission ticket, an example round trip flight itinerary, and anything else to pin to your wish list.

This is a fun way to stay motivated and remind yourself of the reasons “why” you’ve started your own business in the first place. It will help keep your eye on the prize even when things get tough.

3. Make Your Personal Health a Priority

Good health is a crucial component of staying positive. Nobody is in a good mood when they’re tired, feeling burnout, or under the weather. Sleep deprivation can especially hinder your focus and productivity.

It’s important to eat right, get enough sleep, and exercise daily. This will help you feel good about yourself and improve your mental focus. As life and business strategist Tony Robbins once said, “the higher your energy level, the more efficient your body. The more efficient your body, the better you feel and the more you will use your talent to produce outstanding results.”

4. Lighten Up and Laugh Often

Running a business and dealing with sales can be…well.. serious business. It also can become stressful. Inject a little fun and humor in your life to help lighten the load. Make time to enjoy your favorite hobby, find a good joke, or watch a funny movie. Laughing is healthy and will keep your spirits positive even after a long day.

You might even try incorporating a joke into your next sales pitch to help break the ice. In many cases, laughing with your prospective clients can help build rapport in addition to contributing to your well being.

5. Prioritize Your Hot Leads

Rather than calling, visiting, and following up with every business on your list, focus on the prospects who showed the most interest or the industries that you’ve had the most success with. If you’ve been successful selling directory listings to restaurants, spend more time calling on restaurants. These are the leads that deserve the most attention. After all, the more deals you close, the more positive you will be.

6. Get Comfortable With Hearing “No”

It’s unavoidable in sales. Nobody has a 100% closing rate. In fact, even the most successful sales people hear “no” much more than “yes”. It’s simply part of the process and something everyone deals with. You can’t get discouraged. The more comfortable you get hearing “no” the faster you’ll learn that every no puts you one step closer to a “yes”. As speaker and Chicken Soup for the Soul founder Jack Canfield once said, “Some will. Some won’t. So what. Someone’s waiting.”

7. Try Something New

If you find yourself stuck in a rut whether it’s not getting call backs, unable to speak to the decision maker, or simply getting a lot more “no’s” lately, that doesn’t mean you're doomed. Maybe it’s time to try something new. Reevaluate your sales pitch, try calling or visiting at a different time, say something different or spice up your marketing. You may also want to have a friend or family member evaluate your pitch and suggest improvements. Sometimes an outside perspective can help point out any blind spots you’ve been missing.

It’s good to do this every 3 - 6 months regardless so you can see what works best. Sometimes small changes can make a big positive impact on your sales efforts.

8. Surround Yourself With Positive People

Being an entrepreneur is tough, especially at the startup stage. It’s important to surround yourself with people who support you and will help you stay positive. Whether it’s friends, family, or mentors, find a handful of people you trust and can call on when you’ve had a bad day. We all need that sincere pep talk every now and then from someone who believes in you and wants to see you succeed.

If you need help finding more positive and supportive people, there are plenty of entrepreneurial Facebook groups you can join. This can be an excellent opportunity to meet other goal-oriented entrepreneurs around the world who understand the kind of struggles you deal with. As a bonus, you might even meet new prospects interested in advertising on your directory.

9. Remind Yourself That You’re Providing a Valuable Service

Sales reps have a bad rap. Some people think of salespeople as slimy, dishonest, or looking to force an unnecessary or subpar product or service down the consumers throat. While for some products that may be the case, it’s certainly not true for running a local business directory and coupon website. There’s no need to feel guilty or uncomfortable selling listings to local businesses when you remember that you’re selling a service that they desperately need.

As a directory owner, you’re providing a valuable service to both your community and advertisers by providing a local and affordable advertising solution. After all, the local businesses could be getting a much better return on investment from you compared to more traditional forms of advertising such as newspapers or direct mail.

10. Stay Committed

It’s easy to get frustrated and throw in the towel when times get tough. But you need to believe in yourself and stay committed. Think long term and keep your eye on the prize. If sales and business were easy, everyone would do it. Successful entrepreneurs take the word “quit” out of their vocabulary. No matter how hard things might be, find a way to carry on and see it though.

Oftentimes, the point when you feel like quitting, you’re the closest to succeeding. Whenever you do feel like quitting, remember why you started. There’s a good chance success is right around the corner.

Without a doubt, there will be times when you might experience a “drought” in sales and second guess your sales efforts. While this can be discouraging, you can use these 10 tips to help you stay positive and motivated. Just like with anything else in life, success is a marathon rather than a 100 yard dash.

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