The Importance of Self-Motivation and How to Get There

Greatness isn’t just born. It doesn’t just jump out of a box at you. It comes from an inner source called self-motivation. In sales, self-motivation is one of the greatest and most important assets for becoming successful. We all know someone brimming with that quality—the self-starter who doesn’t need a motivational pep talk. We’d all like to be that way. Guess what, folks, now you can. Really, you’ve always been able to, you just need to know how to go about getting to “yes I can.”

A Self-What-er?

“What exactly is a self-starter?” you ask from the most comfy chair in the coffee shop where you just “rested your eyes” for a “second” after lunch. Self-starters are people who improve productivity—doing so to their own benefit, the benefit of the broader organization, and the benefit of their customers. Self-starters do a better job because they paint outside the lines of their job description, sales-planning according to their own unique sales methodology. Self-starters are role models for other sales folks, inspiring them to do great work.

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A Fly on the Wall of a Self-Motivated Mind

To be highly self-motivated you must understand the mentality of the self-starter. Self-discipline is their underlying characteristic. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to loaf around and have things just happen for them, but they are realistic and know that to get ahead they need to work hard, be disciplined, think for themselves, and continually hone their professional selling skills.

You too can learn to be more self-motivated. It makes no difference who you are—a seasoned pro with a business degree who’s been selling since the word digitally meant with your fingers, or a youngster who’s green at best. Doesn’t matter who you are: Self-motivation is yours for the taking. It’s in you. Like a muscle to be trained, a healthy habit to be embraced, you just have to work it. The more you practice it, the stronger it becomes; the more second-nature it is to you.

Self-Motivation Starter Kit

Somewhere out there some self-starter created an exhaustive list for how to be self-motivated, but for brevity’s sake we’ll simply list a few easy-to-do tips here. Abide by them and you’ll build your self-motivation muscle and start to make a huge difference.

  • Seek out and keep company with those who are driven and motivated to make a positive difference in their lives and in the lives of others. Their positivity and productivity is infectious.
  • Steer as clear as possible of negative people. Pay attention to and then ignore your own negativity as well—that inner voice that keeps saying, “That figures” and “I knew that wasn’t going to work out.” Negative associates and friends (even family members) and your own inner Negative Ned or Nelly will drain energy, waste your time, and try to take you down into the land of negativity they love to hate. Replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations: “Of course I’ll make this deal.” “I will find a great solution for my customer today.”
  • Engage in consultative selling. Meaning, deemphasize your commission and take pride in being a decision-making guide for your customer. Feel good about the fact that you have the best interest of the client in mind. You helped someone today. That’s its own reward.
  • Don’t wake up thinking you’re going to save the world with your greatness—how’d that work out for you yesterday? Instead, set realistic goals. When you meet them, you can feel proud of your accomplishments—not wallow in failing to get salesperson of the month and complimentary tickets to the Monster Truck Blowout. An example of a goal: “I’m going to connect with X amount of prospects today, and by eod I will have made at least five good connections.”
  • Be OK with setbacks. Everyone, even the most self-starter-y of the self-starters, comes up against obstacles. The difference between the negative “world’s out to get me” person and the positive “I can do it” person is perspective—knowing that there are valuable lessons to be gained when deals don’t materialize.
  • It’s a cliché, but try to learn at least one new thing every day, not by accident, but by design. That is, dig deep and ask your peers in other departments at your company to teach you more about the products you sell. Show a genuine interest in the problems faced by your customers. Understand those problems. To tout a cliché, knowledge is power.

To make up a cliché—because we’re self-starter-y enough to do so—self-motivation will set you free.