Everyone wants to know the secret to success. The truth is, success depends a lot on boring things like hard work, persistence, and drive. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give yourself a competitive edge above and beyond the basics.

Here are 6 techniques great B2B salespeople use to supercharge their chances of success.

1. Great B2B salespeople are their own biggest cheerleader.

cheerleadersSales can be a tough grind. The best salespeople know how to psych themselves up through inspiring videos and motivational self-talk. Research by social scientists reveals the best way to motivate yourself through self-talk.

In a clever experiment, people who were instructed to talk to themselves using “you” or their name were judged to be more confident, less nervous, and more persuasive than people who talked to themselves using “I.”

Why it works


The researchers explain that thinking of yourself as another person allows you to give yourself objective, helpful feedback. It also helps you perceive potential future obstacles as challenges rather than stressors.

2. Great B2B salespeople are also their own biggest critic.


In a recent interview with sales legend Jill Konrath, best-selling author Daniel Pink shares another self-talk secret: the power of interrogative self-talk. Rather than telling yourself, “You can do this!” you ask yourself, “Can you do this? If so, how?

Why it works

Daniel Pink explains when you ask yourself, “Can you do this?”, it makes you rehearse your sales process: what you already know about the prospect and how you can add value, what potential objections you may face and how to overcome them, and what your mistakes were in past sales conversations and how to avoid them.

3. Great B2B salespeople visualize their future success.


Science has found that one of the best strategies to overcome procrastination is to “time travel”: Imagining the positive feelings that will result from finishing an activity and achieving a goal.

Why it works

The fear of failure can paralyze even the best salespeople sometimes. Visualizing your future success and how good it’ll feel to achieve it – for example, closing a deal – prevents you from getting overwhelmed by your present anxiety. It also makes you think about the worse feelings that will result if you don’t cold call that prospect or send that email.

4. Great B2B salespeople understand the power of a small win.eatthatfrog

Sales experts like Brian Tracy recommend doing to your hardest or most dreaded task first – “eat the frog.” But if you’re feeling stuck or overwhelmed, it can be better to start with an activity that you feel like doing the most and use that momentum to do the hardest task later.

Why it works

Great salespeople understand the value of the “just get started” principle. They know how motivating a small win can be and how these small wins can snowball into a major one. It’s like using the “foot in the door” concept on yourself.

5. Great B2B salespeople don’t beat themselves up for their mistakes.

Successful salespeople understand that wallowing in their past mistakes isn’t productive. Instead, the best salespeople forgive themselves and try to learn from their failures.

sad dunce boy

Why it works

Forgiving yourself for a past mistake frees you from any lingering guilt or shame. Salespeople who view their failures as learning opportunities regain a sense of control and strategize what they can do better in the future. This is similar to Jill Konrath’s advice to reframe failures.

6. Great B2B salespeople experiment to figure out what works best for them.

data-backed-job-hunt-tipsIn sales, you test which email subject line, call times, and telephone pitch works the best. Great salespeople understand they also need to test what work style and habits work best for them. For some salespeople, multi-tasking leads to worse performance. For other salespeople, multi-tasking leads to better performance and less work-related stress. Some salespeople are more motivated by money and others are more motivated by a passion for the job.

Why it works

When it comes to what motivates salespeople and helps them succeed, it’s all about finding a job and company that’s the right fit for your selling personality and work style.

The takeaway

The best salespeople are always going to be hardworking, focused, and ambitious. But learning the science of how to be successful and productive can give you that competitive edge.

Looking for a job in sales? Sign up for Ideal Candidate and let the employers come to you. Get matched with a top employer and make more money!

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Ji-A Min

Ji-A Min

Head Data Scientist at Ideal
Ji-A Min is the Head Data Scientist at Ideal. With a Master’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Ji-A promotes best practices and data-based HR. She writes about trends and research in talent acquisition, people analytics, and workplace diversity.
Ji-A Min