This Is How To Motivate Yourself In Sales (It’s Easier Than You Think)

I am not Tony Robbins. I am a motivator of people, but I am not here to motivate you. What I am here to do is discuss the power of self-motivation, and share a framework for how to apply it to your everyday hustle.

This is for the sales reps who slam the phone in anger at a prospect giving them a “no,” and sulk for half an hour.

This is for the reps who are one Performance Improvement Plan away from being out the door.

This is for the reps who are good, but want to become better. And, most importantly, this is for the managers whose jobs it is to ensure that all reps are achieving their potential and contributing to the top line.

Unfortunately, very few people put the necessary work in in order to be self-motivated day in and day out. Everyone wants it, but only a handful realize that being self-motivated is hard work that takes focused effort, patience and a hell of a lot of discipline.

What is Self-Motivation in Sales?

I’ll tell you right now, self-motivation, like meditation, isn’t any “hippy shit,” as some people will lead you to believe. says that it’s the “Initiative to undertake or continue a task or activity without another’s prodding or supervision.” Sure. But, let’s take it a step further. Self-motivation is the thing that makes you get out of bed in the morning. It’s the thing that pushes you to make another call after the office closes down or not cut corners when responding to that RFP. It’s the voice that, when it hears other people complaining about losing, says, “I’ll castrate you if you utter a word of complaining instead of focusing on winning.” That was graphic, but you get the point.

Why Self-Motivation? Because You Will Fail!

Very few salespeople are immediate successes. In fact, most salespeople are pretty lousy when they first start. I know that I was particularly horrible.

Remember the scene from Wolf of Wall Street when Jordan first walks into the penny-stock firm on Long Island, picks up the phone, and closes a prospect for 40,000 shares on his first call? If you don’t, you can watch it below. 

The point is that that’s a movie and you live in real life. Real life where it’s rare for someone to just start out in sales and sell anything on their first call, which means that you will lose. You as a salesperson will lose horribly. It’s inevitable. And because of its inevitability you need to be able to push yourself through the sea of “nos” you’ll receive in order to be able to reach the “yeses” as soon as possible.

Step 1 – Become The Master Of Your Own Destiny

Depending on anyone for anything in life breeds opportunities for others to let you down. Now, that may sound a bit pessimistic, but it’s not. It’s a reality that if you put the responsibility of your own success, happiness, financial well-being or anything else in the hands of someone else, you no longer control your destiny.

What happens when Sally the Sales Manager, who typically hypes you up, goes on vacation for a week? What would happen to your numbers if your own sense of motivation went on vacation for a week, as well? We need to cultivate a strong sense of self-motivation so that we can be in control of whether we fail or succeed. No one else. Not a prospect, not your manager, not your significant other or anyone else. You.

Self-motivation begets success and vice-versa. Picture a circle made out of two arrows. Now, picture the word “Self-motivation,” on the top of one arrow and “Goals.” This is a cyclical relationship. When a rep has goals (not just the numbers a manager sets for them), they’re self-motivated. And, as they work and eventually achieve those goals, they’ll find that self-motivation begets success and success only begets more self-motivation. It sounds a bit obvious, right? It is, which is why no one pays attention to it.

Step 2 – Have a Pump-Up Song

You ever hear of Pavlov’s Dogs? If not, here’s a quick psychology lesson. Ivan Pavlov was a Russian psychologist in the late 19th-century who accidentally discovered what’s known as, “classical conditioning.” He noticed that his dogs salivated whenever he walked into the room, regardless of if he had food or not. The gist is that the dogs came to associate him entering the room as a sign of food, so they’d salivate whenever he entered.

This was a learned response, not a natural one. Think of a pump-up song as Dr. Pavlov entering the room. Pick a song that helps you clearly envision success, and play that song before every big call or after a horrible one. Condition yourself to associate it with success and never play or listen to it other than when you need it, or else it’ll begin to become associated with a variety of other random things.

Step 3 – List Your Goals

Remember how “self-motivation begets success and success only begets more self-motivation?” Take the time to write down everything you want. It could be a new pair of shoes, car, promotion or just the glory of being the top earner for the month. List out three to four of these goals (too many will be distracting) and read them before and at the end of every day. Picture yourself having these things; wearing your new shoes, driving that new car, having a new title after that promotion or having your name announced to the company as the top earner for the month. But, make sure you actually take the time to picture it. We need to be able to see ourselves getting what we want before we can ever get it.

Step 4 – Eat Healthier

This may be a weird one, but it’s true. There’s no doubt that eating healthily will lead to more energy and you being in a better mood. Eating that greasy hamburger and fries for lunch, or that candy bar, which spikes your sugar levels then crashes you like freight train, only slows you down. It’ll make you more tired. And, if you’re tired, you’re making it harder for yourself to become, and maintain, any significant level of self-motivation.

Step 5 – Do Things That Make You Happy (Especially When In a Slump)

If I ever found myself in a down mood after a bad call, I’d take 5-minute walk around the block, breathe some fresh air and then get back to it. This is because breathing fresh air and getting outside makes me happy, and I knew that taking five minutes to do that would instantly put me back into a happy, and motivated, mood.

Have a list of a handful of things that do the same for you. It could be hitting a few pull ups, reading a page or two of your favorite book, listening to a  few minutes of a podcast, etc. Anything. Just know what makes you happy and find the time to do a little of it (can’t spend the whole work day in the gym) to get yourself back in the mood.

Step 6 – Fake It Til You Make It

When all else fails, fake self-motivation. Tell yourself you’re motivated. Act as if you’re the most motivated person in the world. Force yourself to smile for 30-seconds. The more you tell yourself you’re self-motivated, and the more you act like it, the more likely you’ll become it.

Self-motivation isn’t overrated. Having inspiring your quotes on your computer monitor or in your cubicle isn’t for douchebags.

It’s for people who understand the power of self-motivation and will do absolutely everything in their power to achieve a state of it and stay there for as long as possible.

Try out some of the tips above, and let us know how they work. If you have any others to share, don’t be stingy and leave a comment or two. Happy crushing.

Mateo is the former Director of Sales Development at Grovo, a rapid-growth NYC tech startup named “One of the Best Places to Work in NYC Tech.” He started Grovo’s sales team with CEO Jeff Fernandez in 2013 and has streamlined Grovo’s sales hiring, training and professional development practices to effectively scale the team from 1 to 75+ in 2.5 years. Mateo’s enthusiastic about traveling, writing and increasing productivity. To view more of his writings, subscribe here. You can also find him on Twitter, Instagram or shoot him an email. He’s currently available for consulting.

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