2020 Is The Year Of The Mentally Tough Sales Rep

 In Athlete Culture

“We’re heading into the worst recession in 300 years!” “Unemployment is rapidly rising!” “People are losing their jobs everywhere!” “No one is buying sh*t!” “Companies are cutting back their spend.” “I’d hate to be a sales rep or business development manager in this climate!”

That’s news headlines and general conversation everywhere around the global, and rightfully so. It’s a tough market out there! It’s scary!

Enter Mike – Mike is a Business Development Manager for a boutique media agency in Sydney. Due to the global pandemic the agency has lost revenue and has had to cut Mike’s base salary by 30%. His Mum was made redundant from her job and his dad has also lost his job and forced to apply for welfare payments whilst he searches for another job which doesn’t exist right now. Mike and his fiance (who is pregnant) have been saving up for a house. He’s also still paying off that engagement ring, but she doesn’t need to know that.

To add to the stress, 4 of Mike’s colleagues who are also BDMs have recently been let go. Mike knows he’s gotta be on the blocks as he had a poor month recently being 30% shy off budget.

To make matters worse, most of Mike’s clients are cutting back on their marketing and advertising spend so this month ain’t looking much better.

Times are fuc*ed! Mike has 2 options from here:

  1. Relax, there’s no point of selling anymore as no one is buying. Start looking for another job just in case I get fired.
  2. Go HAM (Hard as a Motherfu*ker) on finding businesses who are looking to grow during this period, who need our marketing services and who I can help survive! Make more sales, more commission, build new relationships so when the market turns around I’ll have all these new leads!

Mike was also a collegiate Football player (wide receiver) and helped his team to a championship back in 2012. Mike decided to tap into that “athlete mindset” and go HAM on option 2!

He devised a new sales pitch (one that doesn’t sound desperate and is consultative), started prospecting for clients at night and called them during the day. He started being more active on social media outlining his marketing expertise and offering free advice to businesses. Instead of making 50 calls p/week he started making 100! Instead of having 8 F2F meetings p/week he started having 20 zoom meetings p/week. He started reading books and listening to podcasts on sales and negotiation.

He was rejected a lot. He wanted to give up on numerous occasions. But he didn’t! He just kept sticking to his process and going HAM!

Fast forward 4 months and Mike has increased his salary by 40% from his original salary (prior to the pandemic), smashed his last monthly budget and has developed a pipeline that is forecasting to grow the overall business by 15%.

Mike is resilient! Mentally tough! He had this innate mental toughness about him, built from his elite Football days. He was able to apply that mindset during this massive setback and come out a high achiever!


There’s no questions about it. The sales teams that will survive 2020 will have to have reps with the mindset of Mike. The resilient and mentally tough rep will not only survive, but flourish!

Good luck everyone, happy selling!


Alex Opacic is the founder of athlete2business – a recruitment agency specializing in placing former athletes into b2b sales roles.

If your business wants to meet one of our highly resilient athlete-candidates for a sales position, get in touch with Alex now – info@athlete2business.com.au


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