The key to building mental toughness in sales is talent

The Key To Building A Mentally Tough Sales Team

by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

Mental Toughness requires...The key to Mental Toughness in sales is talent.jpg

The best sales talent coupled with solid Mindset habits.

We call the best salespeople, "Sales Wolves".

"Sales Wolves" have the Talent AND Mindset habits to consistently sell in the top 20th percentile.

Reduced or complete lack of a baseline level of sales talent translates into little or no Mental Toughness in the long-run.



What Mental Toughness is.

Mental Toughness is a pattern of habitual thought that enables one to be more emotionally resilient despite the challenges faced.

Those who are mentally tough have the "grit" to learn from rather than be devastated by mistakes.

  • What are your sales team members' thought habits?
  • Are your salespeople mentally tough?
  • What do your salespeople do when they lose?
  • Do your salespeople have the talent necessary to be mentally tough at the highest level possible?


Why Mental Toughness matters in sales.

Sales is an emotionally-draining vocation. Repeat rejection is particularly difficult to overcome for many.

Salespeople who have the requisite talent to sell and are mentally tough are better able to overcome rejection and loss.

Salespeople who take rejection in stride, recover quickly and immediately focus on the next opportunity win more - a LOT more.

True Sales Wolves - salespeople who consistently perform in the top 20th percentile of a sales team are Sales Wolves because they are mentally tough.


Mental Toughness Research

Whether you are CEO, VP of Sales, in sales management or a salesperson, if you seek to gain a sustainable competitive in sales performance, you must become an expert in maximizing Mental Toughness.

The concept of Mental Toughness and associated field of research is relatively young. Fortunately there is a great deal of interest in this field.

The primary research completed thus far has rightfully-focused on the field of sports.

A key piece of sports psychology research worth reviewing is by Graham Jones, Sheldon Hanton, and Declan Connaughton (USA). Long-term sales performance requires mental toughness.jpg

They describe Mental Toughness as:

"Having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to: generally, cope better than your opponents with the many demands of that sport places on a performer; specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confidence, and in control under pressure." (Jones, Hanton, & Connaughton, 2002, p. 209).

It isn't an accident that much of the initial research in Mental Toughness is focused on sport athletics.

The standard of winning performance is clear in sports. In sports, there is one winner and many losers; the standards are clear and agreed upon. The more an athlete wins, the more elite they become. Therefore elite athletes are relatively easy to study to identify how they win and what their "edge" is.


Kevin Durant's famous statement offers false hope.

Kevin Durant famously said, "Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard."

My son plays high school basketball. When he plays at a tournament, we can count on seeing at least a handful of t-shirts emblazoned with this quote offering hope.

Unfortunately, it is false hope.

What Durant should have said is, "There's a baseline level of talent essential to play in the NBA. If your talent level is only at this baseline and you work your tail off while real talent does not, you may beat them from time-to-time but in the long-run the winning combination is real talent and hard work."

Anyone can work hard and win occasionally against talent not working hard, but in the long-run hard work and talent is what it takes to consistently win.


Mental Toughness in sales without quality talent is temporary.

I have seen countless bright-eyed eager beavers enter the sales career field with blind optimism seemingly unaware of coming searing emotional pain of continuous rejection.

For many, the pain of rejection is very real and debilitating. Sooner-than-later most who enter the sales profession lose their passion.

No talent = No lasting passion = No lasting Mental Toughness.

There is no long-term Mental Toughness without Passion and no Passion without real talent.

Those who lack Mental Toughness will not do the work required to succeed in sales.


There is good news.

Sales talent and Mental Toughness may be measured objectively through the Trimetrix® HD sales personality & aptitude test.

Better yet, assess all sales candidates to see if they have what it takes to be a true Sales Wolf then help them develop their Mindset habits that create Mental Toughness.

Sales Personality Aptitude Test Sample Assessment