How Resilient Is Your Sales Team?

Denver-Based Sales Leadership Development Available Nationwide

Posted: January 29, 2016

I love this quote from Nick Saban: “One thing about championship teams is that they're resilient. No matter what is thrown at them, no matter how deep the hole, they find a way to bounce back and overcome adversity.”

Super Bowl 50 is Feb. 7.The top two teams make it to the Super Bowl because of such factors as top athletic talent, great playbooks and, yes, resiliency. Just look at Broncos quarterback, Peyton Manning. Critics said he was done because of age, surgeries and injuries. Is he playing in Super Bowl 50 because of his incredible talent or his equally incredible resilience? Probably both. 

Championship sales teams are no different. I have seen really talented salespeople fail because they can’t bounce back from failure and setbacks. It wasn’t the sales playbook holding them back; it was their inability to execute the plays during tough times. 

Salespeople that score low in resiliency score high in stress. They get fatigued and don’t have the energy or creativity needed to pursue and close business. Stress also results in salespeople getting frustrated, giving up on their goals or worse, turning into victims. Instead of taking responsibility for their success, they turn to blame and excuses.

So what can sales managers do to build the resiliency muscle? Here’s my number one tip: 

Teach your salespeople to separate their “DO” from their “WHO.”

Sales is what you do for a living. However, it doesn’t define your character or self-worth. Without this separation of the DO and WHO, salespeople take failure personally. Self-doubt and negative self-talk set in. “I’ve lost my touch. I’m not cut out for this profession. I never was good at asking the tough question.” 

Resilient salespeople take failure on their “DO” side. They don’t let failure define how they feel about themselves. That enables them to get fierce about learning the lessons from failure. “OK, what can I learn from losing this piece of business? What part should I own? What part is simply attributed to learning?” 

I remember my first year in this business, when I was floundering and failing. One of my early mentors helped build my resiliency muscle by changing my perspective. He told me that instead of trying to close business, I should go out and get 100 no’s. His explanation was simple: After you fail 100 times, you learn 100 great lessons and are on your way to success. Now, that was one goal I could achieve! 

I earned those 100 lessons and now I help others learn. Sales managers, keep teaching the hard skills required for sales success. But also teach about resiliency. It will get your team across the finish line.

Go Broncos!