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  • Brett Zalaski

When Your Sales Team is Dragging You Down...


Last week I did a survey of over 100 sales reps. I asked them what their #1 biggest struggle was every day when they walked into the office. I gave them an other category, too. I thought my four were pretty good...but the 'Other' got 10% of the vote, still. And it turns out 8 of those 10 people had the very same challenge...here's an example of what it was:


'Pulling people up who pull me down.'

'Getting other reps as motivated as you are.'

'Dealing with interruptions around me.'


There were 5 more like this...and 3 of them used offensive language.


So what do you do when people around you are dragging you down? Or interrupting you? Or not making phone calls? Or complaining all the time?


The answer is easy. But it's also f**king complicated. The obvious answer is, 'Rise above it.' Or something like that. The tougher part is that climates and cultures like that weigh you down over time. It can be like trying to walk through deep snow into a hurricane wind. You might make it a few steps, but at some point it just gets exhausting. So outside of some sports movie pump-up montage (here's some if you want them),

what are ACTUAL things you can do to move past these very real, very important cultural challenges that challenge reps every single day:

  1. Compartmentalize: Your first job is to have an incredible career you can be proud of. That comes with selling tickets. It does not come with making friends with the people in your office. Being awesome at your job will get you the best friends...the ones who care about doing great work. If people are getting in your way, you have to believe shutting them out is in your best interest. If everyone in the office is like you? You guys will do just fine.

  2. Find Your Outlets: Who in your friend group is as motivated about success as you are? What senior leaders in your organization have fashioned the kind of career you dream about? Spend time with them. Ask them questions. Make their infectiousness a part of your daily routine. It becomes far easier to bring energy to your work if you surround yourself with that energy and can model that energy.

  3. Activity Breeds Energy: Action creates motion. Motion creates emotion. That emotion from motion and action is generally positive. Positive emotion is the opposite of what is described by the reps above. And sometimes when you put yourself in motion, others follow. I always try to get reps to visualize an office where everyone is in action...isn't it awesome? It can be hard to constantly have to be that catalyst, but if you can once or twice a week? You'll find yourself doing it more...and your peers will start doing it, too.

  4. Quit: This one's not sexy...but sometimes situations and cultures are past anything you can truly control. Stop having your enthusiasm crushed because your peers and your superiors won't do anything about it. I've been in empowering cultures and I've been in exhausting cultures. In the empowering ones it's exhilarating to walk into the office...it's life-giving to make moves in that environment. In the exhausting ones it can suck to just wake up in the morning...and you feel like you're losing a small piece of your soul every time you walk into that office. Or was that just me? In those instances, you should make every effort to find your next opportunity. It's just not worth it.

I've known this is real in my career...and I saw it as a real problem in the survey that I sent out. This happens everywhere...even the best of cultures and environments have negative pockets and people. It's so easy to say, 'Rise above it,' but that's really hard to have to be that standard bearer every day. No matter what, if you want greatness, put yourself in position to go get it...regardless of what is happening around you.