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How to get in the right mindset to sell during difficult times

20 August 2020

In this blog I will share with you the shocking impact that difficult times have on our mental health, how this impacts salespeople’s effectiveness and will reveal some solutions to getting back into a can-do and resilient mindset.

Firstly, let us look at the facts on how difficult times like COVID-19 impact the mental state of people:

  • Higher proportions of young people age 18-24 (47%) compared to the adult population overall (26%)
  • The proportion of people reporting financial concerns was young people age 25-34 (41%) than for the overall adult population (29%) (stats from
  • 75% of Generation Z left a job partly because of mental health issues compared to 20% of the general population (Harvard Business Review)

In summary we can see that young people have experienced the most  blows to their mental health and have experienced increased anxiety during these difficult times. They have seen their parents get through or struggle through the prolonged recession which started in 2008 that was shortly followed by the fear of Brexit and COVID-19. Everything really does come in threes! In total over twelve years of challenges, it is understandable that is harder than ever to have a positive mindset after such a long period of uncertainty and unstable world.

How does the current situation specifically impact the mindset of salespeople?

Most salespeople (especially the younger age group) embrace the team environment, work hard, and play hard ethos, they thrive off small doses of office banter with a ‘get our heads down and compete with each other’ focus. When you surround yourself with like-minded people or people in similar roles you feel you have a support network around you, you can bounce ideas off each other, you can pick each other up when you are feeling low, you receive an injection of positivity when someone gets an order or has a new idea that works well and causes the progression of a relationship or sale with a customer. When this is face to face it is easy, it’s not quite so easy when you are working remotely. Covid-19 has forced many businesses to deploy people remotely, so they are working from home. They can feel lonely, isolated, and easily distracted by negative thoughts or disruptions.

How can salespeople stay positive and develop a can-do attitude during difficult times?

1.   Focus on what you can control and not what you cannot control

If you cannot control it then assess how you can manage it or overcome that challenge. Why waste mental energy going into a spiral of doom when you do not need to? When was the last time you watched the news and there was anything positive? The media thrive on whatever gets the most views or readership, inevitably most news is bad news in the current climate. They tell you how bad it is but not how to fix it. This instils a negative mindset.

2.   Remind yourself of the positives of the current marketplace and the new way of working.

‘Fear and depression can make you feel powerless. Additionally, your anxious brain and depression can conspire against you to highlight how your life is worse and limited’ (Kevin Foss MFT, Psychology Today).

There are a lot of negatives admittedly however, there has been many positives. If you are still working and your company is surviving, or even better thriving during these difficult times, then that is the first tick in the box.

I have listed some positives here:

  • No travel time so you get an extra lie in bed or can get some exercise, walk the dog or whatever you want. Assess how this has positively impacted your personal life.
  • You are treated with respect and trust; this gives you more empowerment than you had in the office
  • Less stress – no need to commute each day so you can be productive with more energy and positivity without travelling to and from work
  • Potentially there is less competition, some businesses unfortunately will not survive these difficult times or they may not be able to supply goods or services to customers when they need them, which means they are more open to new suppliers or you can gain more business from existing suppliers that use multiple suppliers

3.   Keep connected and inspired by other people

Do not disconnect from people just because you are not face to face. Create some regular or scheduled calls or meet ups on Zoom or lives with like-minded people, these can be work colleagues and community groups of people with similar aspirations or roles. Take time to get a daily dose of inspiration or learn something new. When you learn something new it is exhilarating and makes you more employable due to your enhanced skills. Employers love people who invest in their own learning and development who are always looking to improve. You can never stop learning if you want to always take yourself out of your comfort zone, be the top on the sales league table and maximise your bonuses. Ensure you invest time in gaining sales training as well as training on how to improve your communication and influencing skills.

This article has been written by Debbie Sweeney, Lead Sales trainer and Founder of Solutions2Success.

Helping salespeople and  businesses transform customer experiences and optimise sales results during difficult times. Free resources and top tips section for salespeople and managers.

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Other resources to help you, click on the title to go to their website:

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