One of the most important keys for me in sales has been my strong motivational behaviour. I have spent some time thinking about what creates motivation inside each of us and how we can unlock it. Is there a secret to tapping into unlimited motivation? What fuels the desire to excel? What fuels us to produce top results? What pushes us to live extraordinary lives?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines motivation as, “the act or process of giving someone a reason for doing something; the act or process of motivating someone; the condition of being eager to act or work; the condition of being motivated; a force or influence that causes someone to do something.”
I have always been eager to learn and better myself, but why? In school, I struggled for years. My perfectionism would take over and I would fear failure and disappointing my peers. What I learned was to never back away and always use my fears to propel myself forward instead of backward. I would push the boundaries and challenge myself to overcome whatever obstacles stood in my way.
I have a distinct memory of developing my own sense of personal motivation. I was about 6 and I was sent home with two boxes of chocolate bars to sell for a school fundraiser. This was a pretty big challenge considering I lived on a farm with only one neighbour. How was I going to sell 48 chocolate bars? My mom picked me up from the bus stop and asked what I was going to do with 48 bars of chocolate. Now, my dad and I loved chocolate, so we would have been happy to eat all of them, but my mom wanted nothing to do with that idea. Instead, she drove me to a neighboring community and dropped me off. She told me she was going for coffee at a friend’s place and I should meet her back there after all the chocolate bars had been sold. I remember feeling overwhelmed and intensely afraid of rejection. In that moment, I knew I could not let this fear take over; I wouldn’t. Even at 6 years old I knew I was stronger than that.
So, I put one foot in front of the other, walked up to a house, and knocked on the door. I put on a big smile, introduced myself, and explained that I was selling chocolates for school and that I needed to sell them all. I could feel my heart pumping. The lady who opened the door just looked at me, expressionless. I thought rejection was coming. However, she quickly offered to buy a chocolate bar. I did it. I sold my first chocolate bar.
I told myself that wasn’t too bad. Just knock on the next door and do it again. So, one by one, house by house, I sold all 48 chocolate bars. I could feel a light inside me ignite. I had overcome the fear of rejection and the few people who did reject me were quickly forgotten. Best of all, I went on to win the entire fundraising contest.
The key to unlocking this motivation was not that I was gifted with magical sales glitter dust, but that I put fear in its place. I tuned out the negative voices and put one foot in front of the other. I had awakened the force inside myself. Was it easy? No. In fact, it was terrifying. But I pushed beyond my comfort zone. It was my first real sales lesson and I had many more to come.
Thankfully, my mom believed in me, even when I didn’t. She taught me a valuable lesson in just getting out there and making it happen. Now, I’m not advocating dropping off children in a random neighbourhood to fend for themselves, but I am all for helping our children succeed and teaching them to take the very first step out of the nest to test their wings.
As much as I wish I could have had found magic sales dust to reach my goal, that, would not have helped me learn the value of determination and perseverance.
Are there areas of your life that are limiting you? I think if we sit back and just wait for the perfect opportunity, it will never come. Just jump out of the nest and learn to fly. If you wipe out, get up and do it again, but don’t let negativity or fear stand in your way.
To truly be successful in sales, the first step is learning to step out and move past your fears. Jump out of your comfort zone and start spreading your wings. If you keep at it, soon you will be flying until suddenly, it’s not so scary anymore.
Sharon-Rose McNeil Honor Sales Coach