(reading time: 3 minutes)

At any sales job, you usually work with at least a few highly successful salespeople. You know the type: always exceeding their quota, making a killing, and very consistent in his or her results. These people are the favorites of management and the envy of their coworkers, who might assume that, because they’re so successful, all of the challenges of working in sales don’t apply to them.

(P.S., you could be one of these successful salespeople with a great sales automation CRM!)

However, nothing could be further from the truth. Like champion athletes, highly successful salespeople still face the same problems that everybody else in sales has to face. The difference is that they’ve not only learned how to deal with them, but to thrive despite them. Here are seven challenges that even successful salespeople face:

1. Stress

It’s very well-known that sales is a stressful profession, and the top producers are in no way immune from the stress. The difference, however, is that successful salespeople know how to manage sales stress, and how to keep it from affecting their performance. They do this by competently managing their attention and focusing on things that solve problems and move the needle instead of getting spun up on things they can’t control. They also don’t let stress stop them in their tracks, and keep pushing forward despite what proverbial fires are burning around them.

2. Losing deals

Yes, high-achieving salespeople do still lose deals, like everybody else. The difference, however, is that they usually do three things differently. One: they always have enough other deals in the pipeline so that if they lose one, it won’t destroy them. Two: they do all of the right up-front work to understand what could go wrong with the deal, so that they can anticipate challenges and reduce the chances of the deal going south. Three: they don’t sit around and dwell on a lost deal for more than a minute or two, since they’re too busy moving onto the next opportunity.

3. Difficult prospects

When you’re dealing with a challenging prospect or customer, it can feel like they’re sucking up all of your time and energy. Successful salespeople are in no way immune from this problem, they just address it differently. They are usually incredibly patient and levelheaded when dealing with difficult customers, and don’t rush to get them off the phone. They also build excellent rapport and are able to control the conversation and sales process as best as possible. Basically, they face the problem head-on instead of avoiding it or letting it burn them out.

4. Pressure from management

“To whom much is given, from him much is expected.” Highly successful salespeople get privileges that other salespeople might not get, not the least of which are giant paychecks. But management also counts on (and expects) top producers to keep delivering, month after month, year after year, so the pressure is still there. This is how top salespeople deal with it: they work hard and produce. You’ll be hard pressed to find a top performer sitting around and complaining about management, they’re either focusing on closing as many deals as possible, or they’re moving onto another company that values their time.

5. Becoming demoralized

This might be the hardest one to believe, but successful salespeople do become demoralized. The difference is that it doesn’t happen to them as often as it might to other salespeople, and they don’t let it derail them for very long. They overcome demoralization in two ways. First, they see it in the context of the bigger picture and know that they won’t always feel that way. Second, and more importantly, they believe that they are in control of their own destiny and results, instead of feeling like everything around them is in control. They get back up and push even harder than before.

6. Market changes

No matter how successful one might be in their industry, sometimes larger market or economic conditions can affect their performance. Unfortunately, no one individual can change fixed external factors. But highly successful salespeople will usually succeed despite external challenges through sheer willpower. They are also usually self-aware and intelligent enough to know when it’s time to make a change to a better opportunity. They don’t stay static or keep trying to push a round peg in a small circle, especially when they know their skills and time are valuable.

7. Self-doubt

It’s a myth that very successful salespeople don’t experience self-doubt. Only psychopaths don’t ever question themselves. Everyone experiences setbacks, but it’s the choices you make after you fail or you feel down on yourself that make the difference. Highly successful salespeople don’t dwell on their self-doubt, if only because they understand that it truly serves no purpose. You can sit around doubting yourself for weeks or years, but what will you really get out of it? Absolutely nothing. Instead of doubting yourself, do something about it. You’ll be glad you did.

Share this post:

About the Author Ken Kupchik

Ken Kupchik is the creator of Sales Humor and the author of the funniest sales book ever written, The Sales Survival Handbook, which you can order on Amazon.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

5 Comments

  • Michael Juergens says:

    I would add two thoughts: 1. Complacency. Once you have established yourself and built your book of business it is easy for salespeople to become lazy and comfortable. Top sales people are always looking to get better and grow. 2. Thinking you’re an expert: Some salespeople get to a point where they would call themselves an “expert” the problem that becomes when you say this is your willingness to learn gets shut down. Top salespeople realize learning never stops and to keep an open mind.
    These are 7 really good points and thank you for sharing.

  • Jeremiah says:

    I must say am very glad to have seen this.

    I have been struggling with some of the issues listed above and i must say this is an eye-opener for me.

    Thanks a lot for sharing this

  • Gerrard Manuel says:

    Likewise, couldn’t agree with you more Michael!!!

Leave a Reply