Don’t Waste Time Feeling Sorry For Yourself

“Pragmatic Sales Psychology” short episode series, writing #13”

Few books of considerable substance, worth investing the time in, have been written in the last two decades but I’ve found one who’s principals are solid and worthy of integrating into this series. The book is named “13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.” It was written by Amy Morin (copy written in 2014), who is the only psychologist I could find specializing in mental strength. I will take one of the thirteen chapters from this book and tie it back, the take-aways from each one, to the sales profession. If mental strength isn’t a prerequisite to being a top producer in the sales field I don’t know what is! Attitude is everything and mental toughness is solid ground for a sales pro to stand on. It is my hope that you will find some helpful applications from her writings; I know I did!  

Let’s tackle this one about not feeling sorry for yourself. At first glance of the title, you may think that you don’t have an issue with this but the reality of our profession is that NO sales professional can escape rejection. After a hard fought opportunity to present or recommend something you feel is perfect for a prospect, after which they decide to go another direction, it is natural to feel disappointment. The trick is to NOT allow it to morph into self-pity. The larger the size of the deal, the larger the potential for a large feeling of disappointment. The first thing you need to remember is that even if you have a 50% closing ratio, at least half of all your opportunities will result in a “no.” Reconcile yourself to the fact that this is an occurrence that just comes with the territory; it is not necessarily that you did anything wrong. Any number of elements may not have lined up at the time of the “ask.” I’m not saying that you shouldn’t revisit your personal activities for the sake of self-examination and improvement, because you should! But sometimes, to coin a newer cliche, “it is what it is.”  

I’m also not saying that you don’t need a coffee break, a walk around the block or an ear to listen to your feelings to do a psychological reset after a setback, BUT becoming too invested in feeling sorry for yourself is counterproductive. Here are some good reasons why:  

If you make a conscious decision to swim around in self-pity it can self perpetuate.

It is a major waste of time. 

It can become all-encompassing and keep you from dealing with other emotions, essentially keeping you off balance and stealing any momentum or traction you might be able to create.

It can interfere with opportunities while your head is in the sand during your extended recovery mode.

It can become a dangerous frame of mind and self-fulfilling prophecy.

Giving into self-pity is a dangerous lake to swim in. It is a characteristic that prospects pick up on and can paralyze your performance and as importantly their confidence in you to be able help them.

Mental strength is a powerful attribute that can save you time and as the old saying goes “time is money!” The mental “roll you need to get on” while prospecting is what in the music industry they call “getting in a groove.” Being mentally tough allows you to roll with the punches and get to the successes faster and more often. It also, just like self pity in a negative way, can be self-perpetuating and as time goes on makes you more efficient. One old school sales training saying is,” it takes so many “nos” to get to a “yes.” So the next time you feel yourself investing too heavily in a rejection remember the Helen Keller quote below, dust yourself off and get back in the game. The sooner you can find a way to do that, the sooner you file the lesson(s) learned and use it as motivational fuel to be the best possible sales version of yourself moving forward.

Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world – Helen Keller      



Jack Klinefelter
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