boxers2Sales psychology often refers to how buyers behave. But if you’re leading an inside sales team, you also should pay attention to the psychology of your reps. Dr. James Siebach, senior research fellow at, has discovered that the best salespeople demonstrate high levels of resilience, empathy, openness and ambition. In this post, we’ll focus on resilience.

Resilience is the ability to adapt your mental and emotional state to challenges, obstacles, failures and adversities in order to minimize anxiety and optimize performance.

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” — Mike Tyson

Taking a few shots to the chin is a natural consequence of stepping into the ring, just as facing rejection comes with the job if you’re selling stuff. You can’t avoid struggles, but you can control how you react to them.The best salespeople focus, rather than fold, when adversity strikes. It’s an essential skill for anybody who’s plowing through a list of prospects in a dialer all day, every day.

How Resilient Salespeople Think

What enables some sales reps to succeed when others fail?

Resilient people think differently. They control their thoughts and beliefs.

“What really frightens us and dismays us is not external events themselves but the way in which we think about external events. It is not things that disturb us but our interpretation of their significance.” — Epictetus, philosopher

Your interpretation of external events is within your control. You can reduce or eliminate fear and anxiety by altering your thoughts and by changing your perspective. You can temper despair and other destructive thoughts and emotions.

Human beings erode resilience by assuming they are fated to failure or helpless to overcome obstacles.They often blame circumstances such as genetics, an unfavorable upbringing, lack of opportunity or injustice for their current condition. They mistakenly believe that they lack control.

Human beings naturally tend to exaggerate difficulties. They enhance failures and intensify fears while underestimating their own abilities.

On the other hand, resilient salespeople deflate negative facts and inflate their own abilities, which allows them to remain hopeful in spite of difficulties and obstacles.

Top-performing salespeople are not pros at losing. They are pros at denying there is a loss.

More Habits of Highly Resilient Reps

Resilient people remain determined to succeed. They are willing to suffer anxiety in pursuit of success.

We often think that in order to be healthy, we must avoid anxieties. But that’s not true. Successful sales reps suffer anxiety. They simply resolve not to quit or be defeated. They don’t evade difficulties or obstacles. They work their way through them.

Resilient salespeople are forward looking. They anticipate positive outcomes. They envision themselves succeeding with as much specificity and detail as possible. They believe they can change the outcome in their favor through thoughtful improvisation.

Changing your thought patterns to optimize your performance and well-being is not easy. Resilient people exercise self-control.

Resilience requires work, but it’s one of the biggest keys to success as an inside sales rep. 

Today's guest post comes from Leo Dirr. Leo is a corporate journalist and content marketer at He creates content that educates and inspires sales leaders. He believes storytelling is the key to engaging busy buyers.