How to Stay Motivated Day in and Day Out

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By Kerry L. Johnson, Ph.D. It's 8am on Monday morning. You had a great weekend and wish it didn't have to end. Last week was finished with a bang but today you just don't feel the same motivation to win. As a result you walk in the office and immediately read your mail. Then you talk to another salesperson for an hour while sipping coffee. It's almost time for lunch. You avoid propsecting for customers due to the lack of time available before you eat. You're back at 1:30pm and realize you have a couple of letters to write. It's time to go home. You just wasted a day. At $150 an hour worth of lost sales production, your lack of motivation cost you $1200. What happened? You can't afford any more days like this one. But how do you stay motivated all the time. Is it possible?

Motivation is functionally defined as possessing the self-discipline to do what you need to do when you need to do it. Of course everyone is motivated. A golfer is motivated to practice his golf swing. A mother is motivated to care for her children. A child is motivated to eat candy anytime it's available. The trick is to motivate yourself to do the things you know you should be doing even when you don't feel like doing it. But you'd work 20 hrs. a day if you were starving. Right now you just aren't hungry enough. Experiencing a lack of motivation frustrates us all. But here are a couple of tips that will help you stay motivated to do the things you need to do. Successful people do the things less successful people refuse to do.


  1. Make time psychology work for you. If you have ever taken a time management course before, you have learned how to pack more into less. But have you ever noticed how difficult it is to leave a project or job incomplete? You can play on this psychology of completion by writing out a things to do list before you go home at the end of the work day. Chances are if you don't know exactly where to pick up where you left off, you'll have to start over. Tonight, before you leave the office lay out 5 calls you need to make tommorrow morning. Or go home right in the middle of filling out a prospect contact sheet.
  2. Give yourself daily and hourly goals. Very few of us have the ability to stay disciplined all the time. Yet studies have shown that a big difference between those who succeed and those who fail is constant and concentrated activity. Big hitters report such behaviors as not taking lunch until they make a pre-set number of phone calls. They don't allow themselves to play golf until they sell a certain number of units. Sure they make sacrifices. But in the meantime they also make sales. Most who practise this method of self denial say that when they do earn a lunch or a golf game, the taste is very sweet when linked to successfully accomplished activity.
  3. Make selling a game. When you take your sales career too seriously, it becomes drudgery instead of enjoyment. Most top producers mention that their income takes a back seat to how much fun they have on the job. Interestingly, many poor producers look at their paycheck as being the biggest motivator. The problem is that your sales producion will fluctuate. You may go from who's who to who's he in the space of a year. For example, play golf more often with your best customers. Send out birthday cards to prospects or customers you care about. See how many phone calls you can make in hour or a day without caring particularly about the result.
  4. Burn out is a key factor in maintaining motivation. A great way to avoid the symptoms of burnout is to link rewards to activity instead of success. One way to kill motivation is to increase your frustration and isolation. You have probably at one time already done this by withdrawing from the people in your life you love. But a great way to create motivation is to give yourself a reinforcement gift that comes as a result of superior effort. Effort always results in success if it is maintained.

A manager once asked me to speak at his conference after dinner on the last night. As the president was speaking, the manager told me that he was cutting the salespersons' commissions, increasing their quotas, taking out all perks and financial overides. He then looked at me and said",We'd like you to go out there now and give them a big motivational send-off." Motivation doesn't come from a rousing speech or a drug that works for an 8 hour period. It is a by product of your desire to be successful.

DR. KERRY L. JOHNSON is a Tustin, CA-based professional speaker and author of Mastering The Game: The Human Edge in Sales and Marketing. You can order it by calling 800/883-8787.

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