3 Ways to Stay Motivated as a Sales Underdog

At some point in their career, every salesperson has been (or has felt like) an underdog; it might as well be in the job description. While your company doesn't expect you to lose, the truth is that the odds are not in your favor. At times, hitting your quota may feel like a fight you have little chance of winning. Conversion rates for cold calls are typically around 2%, compared to 20% for solid leads and 50% for referrals.

Lack of experience, bad timing, self-sabotage syndrome, and unconscious bias (among other things), have created many underdog stories, my personal story included. Whether you are interviewing to start in an entry-level position, or are attempting to advance to a senior/leadership position, if you "feel" the odds are against you, you are not alone. Here are three thoughts that may help you power through:

1. Endure with Joy

Understand this: if endurance does its job, it will make you sound in many things. Even though I wasn't a fan of my first job, where I cut pennies to sell knives, keeping the larger picture in mind helped me to stay joyful. Knowing that your current situation will get you ready for something better allows for you to endure through the difficult days. Plus, have you ever seen a person endure with sadness? They don't make it.

2. Pursue Qualities, Not Positions

If qualities were tangible, which ones would you need to chase? I have always Googled qualities of a good salesperson and leader. I have found that the more I attempted to pursue qualities like empathy, self-awareness, optimism, etc., the better equipped I was when positions finally came my way.

3. Work Like a CEO

This is a company value of a previous employer of mine, and by far the most impactful piece of advice I’ve gotten in my entire career. Why? In any role, you can figure out ways to think bigger to get the job done, build out a solid strategy, and execute.

Others may not readily recognize your effort to exhibit these qualities. Don't get discouraged; you're the underdog, they aren't supposed to notice. Just remember to prove them wrong when you finally do get an opportunity. In a paradox, I have discovered that I am not a sales leader, I am merely an underdog in a new contest with a different goal. Why? Because "what it takes" to be a sales leader is always changing.

Shelton Banks | CEO, re:work training

Shelton Banks